Bick, Long receive conservation awards from national organization
Jim Long and Bonnie Bick have been working together for years to make Charles County more en- vironmentally friendly and safe for the wildlife in the area. In late November, both were recognized by the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership for their decades of effort and dedication to their cause.
Long, the president of the Mattawoman Watershed Society, and Bick, a mem- ber of the Smarter Growth Alliance, received the Me- lissa Laser Habitat Conser- vation award. The partner- ship cited their efforts in conserving the Mattawom- an and protecting fish habi- tats as the main reason why they were both recipients.
Melissa Laser was a bi- ologist who worked to preserve fish habitats and restore aquatic habitats off the Atlantic Coast. Bick said “it was an honor” to receive an award in her name.
“Melissa Laser’s family was just beautiful. I found that we had a lot in common,” Bick said. “She loved fish and loved the forest. One of our key points is that fish love forests. She said something similar to that.”
Bick and Long traveled to Maine to receive the honor. Bick has won awards be- fore as a result of her con- servation efforts, she said, but this was the first time she had ever received rec- ognition on a national scale. Long had the same experi- ence.
“We didn’t expect this. We didn’t know we were nomi- nated,” he said. “But it is an honor.”
Long said the award was not a testament to the work both he and Bick have done with the Mattawoman Wa- tershed Society, Smarter Growth Alliance and the Sierra Club, but rather a reflection of the work that the individuals from those groups have put in over the years.
Without them, Long said, he and Bick would not have the support that they do. And it takes more than just two people to create envi- ronmental change, he said. It takes entire communi- ties — and that is the kind of support they have, Long noted.
“It’s an accumulation of successes in us trying to better conserve Mattawom- an Creek,” Long said.
Still, he said, the efforts are not over. Awards do not reduce the Mattawoman’s pollutants and stormwater runoff still has an effect on the stream, he said.
The Charles County comprehensive plan, which makes sweeping changes to conservation and development zoning in the county, has been approved and it should be largely beneficial to the environment, Long said, but the next step is making sure that those rules are enforced and ensuring officials zone the watershed conservation district the right way.
Another thing that needs to be worked on is distributing the proper information to citizens about the watershed conservation district, Long said.
“At the last meeting, there seemed to be a lot of information that was just off getting out,” Long said.
Bick agreed and said there was work to be done with getting the word out about how the watershed conservation district works and ensuring the zoning process goes over smoothly.
And overall, Bick said, just continuing to do the work that got them to where they are in the first place.