DNR seeks in­put on South­ern Mary­land lakes

State agency re­ceives $3 mil­lion for restora­tion, protection

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By PAUL LAGASSE pla­[email protected]­news.com

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources were at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land’s La Plata cam­pus Tues­day evening to hear the pub­lic’s sug­ges­tions for im­prove­ments to two of the agency’s lakes.

St. Mary’s Lake, in St. Mary’s River State Park, and Myr­tle Grove Lake, in the Myr­tle Grove Wildlife Man­age­ment Area west of La Plata, are two of 16 state-owned lakes for which DNR is devel­op­ing a work plan to re­move sed­i­ment, treat con­tam­i­na­tion, cor­ral in­va­sive species and im­prove recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties.

The State Lakes Protection and Restora­tion Fund, which was es­tab­lished ear­lier this year, al­lo­cates $3 mil­lion over three years for DNR to iden­tify pri­or­ity projects and lay out the bud­gets for them.

Ten of the lakes are man­aged by the Mary­land Parks Ser­vice. The Fish­ing and Boat­ing Ser­vice man­ages four of them, and two are man­aged by the state’s Wildlife and Her­itage Ser­vice.

As part of the plan­ning process, the agency is con­ven­ing five pub­lic open houses across the state to ed­u­cate the pub­lic about the plan and seek their sug­ges­tions for ways to im­prove the qual­ity of the lakes; Tues­day evening’s open house was the sec­ond to be held.

Bi­ol­o­gist Mike Nay­lor, DNR’s point per­son for the project, said that he and his col­leagues make them­selves avail­able in per­son as a

way to meet lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal groups and also as a way to touch base with col­leagues work­ing at the var­i­ous state parks and wa­ter­shed man­age­ment

ar­eas.

“We don’t know what we’re go­ing to hear, but the idea is to go out to the pub­lic, tell them what we’ve been di­rected to do, and get their ideas for what needs to be done,” Nay­lor said. “We talk to the lake man­agers to get some

ideas about the kinds of things that are typ­i­cally done and then present that to the pub­lic. We’re try­ing to make it an in­ter­ac­tive process,” he said.

Bruce Michael, di­rec­tor of DNR’s Re­source Assess­ment Ser­vice, said that most of the is­sues fac-

ing the state’s lakes, all of which are ar­ti­fi­cial, are the re­sult of ag­ing.

“They’re slowly fill­ing with sed­i­ment, they’re be­com­ing more … nu­tri­ent en­riched, and that cre­ates a whole se­ries of problems that this money can hope­fully ad­dress,” Michael

said.

Both St. Mary’s Lake and Myr­tle Grove Lake are heav­ily used, but nei­ther have any un­usual or out­stand­ing problems that re­quire im­me­di­ate attention, Michael said. “Ev­ery lake could ben­e­fit from ad­di­tional fund­ing,” he said.

Up­dates can be found on DNR’s web­site at dnr. mary­land.gov. Res­i­dents who were un­able to at­tend Tues­day’s open house but who would like to pro­vide feed­back can reach Nay­lor at mike.nay­[email protected]­land.gov.

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