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Potomac Conservancy Urges Citizens To Speak Out Against Stream Buffer Changes

Potomac Conservancy Urges  Citizens To Speak Out Against Stream Buffer Changes

A regional organization is urging Frederick County citizens to speak out against proposed changes to stream buffer regulations. In an e-mail sent out last week, the Potomac Conservancy said residents need to tell the Commissioners to vote against changes to the Waterbody Buffer Amendment.

"It's {the current regulations} a proven, cost-effective methodology that will help reduce flooding on rainy days, and also keep pollutants out of much of the drinking water supply," says Hedrick Belin, President of the Potomac River Conservancy.

The revisions would reduce the minimum setbacks for buildings being constructed near bodies of water, cut down the required study area around bodies of water and remove special rules for the Lake Linganore area.

Supporters say these revisions are minor, and will bring the county more in line with state environmental regulations.

Belin disagrees. "These green filter strips and the protections were in place in 2008, and we want to make sure those stay in place and be given a chance to demonstrate how it can help keep pollution out of the drinking water supply," he says.

Stream buffers are trees and other plants which prevent soil from eroding into bodies of water, such as rivers, streams and lakes. Belin says it's a much less expensive way to protect the water supply. "You should be looking for the most cost effective ways to keep pollution out of our drinking water supply rather than having to spend and build expensive water filtration plants once the pollution has gotten into the water supply," he says.

In addition, Belin says there's no evidence that these regulations have stifled growth. "We've heard no examples where a proposed development or building of an individual home has been impacted by these protections," he says.

The Potomac Conservancy urges citizens to show up and testify against these changes at a public hearing before the county commissioners on October 31st. If they can't make it in person, they can write to the commissioners at


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