Supporters, Opponents Testify On Monocacy River Plan

The County Council is expected to discuss it next week.


Frederick, Md (KM) A large crowd turned out Tuesday night at Winchester Hall for a hearing on the 2018 Monocacy Scenic River Management Plan.

While calling for maintaining and protecting the health of the Monocacy River, the document has numerous references to protecting private property rights along the river. The new plan is a revision of one released in 2017. Many landowners felt that plan was a threat to their private property rights.

Maureen Olson of Frederick, who has property along Lily Ponds Road, said she likes the new plan because it mentions the protection of private property rights. “The 2018 plan has been reasonably revised to sufficiently protect property rights. While at the same time, the plans remain  strong for river management plan centered on maintaining and improving the ecological health, the water quality and productivity of the Monocacy River,” she said.

The plan has been approved by the Carroll County Commissioners. Kathy Allison of Edlersburg, whose also a member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee, urged the Frederick County Council to the same. “I think it would be prudent for your Council to consider what would happen  if they changed the plan to a version that would not be approved by Carroll County,” she said. “I can assure that Carroll County will not approve a plan that adversely affects private property rights.”

Last week, the Frederick County Planning Commission recommended the Council turn down  the plan, and urged the  Council to develop a Frederick County plan for the Monocacy River, a position advocated by Gary Magnuson of New Market. . “I support the recommendation of the Frederick County Planning Commission to reject the River Advisory Board’s recommended plan, and return to at least the October, 2017, plan as an attached resolution,” he said. “The Board’s plan is seriously flawed and does present a useful framework to address the River’s major concern, its water quality.”

But supporters of the plan, such as Rebecca Eaves of Rocky Ridge, said the Monocacy River’s water quality has improved over the years. “The state of the Monocacy is not declining. It has improved since older data was published,,” she said. “Overall, the Monocacy has been on a positive upswing because of the many regulations already in place that are working to improve the state of the river.”

Jennifer Kunzie with Clean Water Action took issue with that. “The Maryland Department of the Environment considers the Monocacy impaired by sediment, phosphorus and fecal bacteria. And other surveys have also concluded the Monocacy contains dangerously high concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus,” she said. “This threatens not only rivers and streams where Frederick County residents swim, fish and play, but also the drinking water of many county residents.”

The Council listened to almost two hours of testimony. The panel decided to close the record of testimony on the plan, and is expected to discuss it next week.


By Kevin McManus