The COVID pandemic has limited all the in person activities of the WBFC. We were able to have our spring social event with all the participants being fully vaccinated. The club decided to bring in Italian subs instead of the traditional Shad Bake. We hope to have a regular Oyster roast in the fall.
Plummers Island is located immediately downstream from the ALB. The Island covers 12.2 acres of land, the widest part of of which is adjacent the American Legion Bridge.
The current American Legion Bridge Expansion proposal would cut across the Island, move or destroy the channel that separates the Island from the mainland, clear the trees and level a substantial part of the Island, clear the significant healthy native beech tree forest on the mainland side, destroy the wetlands associated with the island and mainland, and result in major infestations of invasive plants. If implemented this DEIS project would jeopardize future research on trends in biodiversity on the Island.
WBFC considers the DEIS legally faulty and incomplete for many reasons, including:
– Destruction and disturbance of State of Maryland and National parklands with wetlands, including but not limited to several miles of Rock Creek Regional Park (including moving substantial stretches of Rock Creek), and ca. 80 acres of the Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park (CONHP), including ca. 5 acres of the 12 acre Plummers Island and moving “Rock Run”.
– The destruction of “Rock Run Culvert” in building the American Legion Bridge violates the integrity of Plummers Island (CONHP, Montgomery Co., Maryland).
– Lack of understanding or recognition of the value of the extensive historical and ongoing biological research on Plummers Island and the WBFC’s 120 years of contributions and commitments to that. Records of many rare plants, animals and habitats from the Island were not considered.
– Lack of Due Diligence on study of impacts on Plummers Island’s wetlands and rare plant communities, and rare plant and animal species (the evaluation of the organisms on the Island was apparently based on one summertime visit to the head of the Island in 2019).
– Lack of alternatives to condemning part of Plummers Island for the ALB proposed project.
– Lack of consideration of the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on present and future transportation loads and patterns (many folks are teleworking and attending virtual meetings). With peak traffic flows down due to changed behavior patterns resulting from Covid-19, toll lanes will be unlikely to provide revenue streams of sufficient reward to P3 contractors, likely leaving taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars.
– Lack of forward thinking on Climate Change (only more cars powered by petrol).
– Lack of accepted Build options with mass transportation options (trains, light rail, monorail, etc.)
– Because the DEIS’s analysis is incomplete, it is impossible for the concerned Agencies to assess, and the public to comment on, the proposed project’s impacts. The Agencies cannot wait until a final EIS is complete to analyze the project’s full impacts, as it will then be too late for the public to meaningfully comment on them and for the Agencies to consider the public’s comments and choose the alternative that best alleviates the impacts based on this information. We respectfully request that the Agencies conduct a supplemental EIS to provide the public the ability to meaningfully review and comment on the impacts before a final EIS is produced.
President Ralph Eckerlin and House and Grounds Committee Chair Steve Sheffield again thank Club members who came out for the special work day on Saturday. We cleared a good path across the rocks connecting to Plummers Island. Hopefully high water will carry some of the remaining debris downstream. On the other hand, more may accumulate, so, if you missed the work day on Saturday, you may have an opportunity to participate in the future.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Stanwyn G. Shetler on the evening of December 4th at around 9:30 PM, age 84, due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. His daughter, Lara, was at his side. Dad was a man of many accomplishments who achieved a goal so few are able to claim; he left the world better than he found it. Rest peacefully, Dad.
Stan was born on October 11, 1933, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He grew up in rural Hollsopple, PA and attended Johnstown Christian School, where his father was Principal and Stan therefore felt it prudent to graduate Valedictorian of his class. His interest in natural history began with bird watching in the sixth grade and was stimulated by his science teacher and fostered by his mother. Ornithology was a lifelong avocation.
Stanwyn earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 1955 and 1958 from Cornell University after first attending Eastern Mennonite College (now University), Harrisonburg, Virginia. He came to the Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in 1962 directly from graduate studies at the University of Michigan, where he subsequently earned a PhD degree in systematic botany. He spent his whole professional career at the Smithsonian before retiring at the end of 1995. Beginning as an assistant curator, he rose to serve as associate director and then deputy director of the National Museum of Natural History.
Stan’s naturalist interests were wide-ranging, but he was a recognized expert on the bellflowers (genusCampanula) and the flora of the Arctic. His publications number well over 100 scientific, technical, and popular titles, including three books and the Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of the Washington-Baltimore Area (2 volumes, 2002, 2002). The books are on Russian botanical history (1968), a monograph on the evolution of the New World harebells (Campanula rotundifolia complex) (1982), and the popular Portraits of Nature: Paintings by Robert Bateman (1986), which accompanied a Smithsonian exhibition by the same title organized by him in 1987. He also edited the English translations of the last eight volumes of the 30-volume Flora of the USSR plus the general index volume.
Dr. Shetler was program director of the international Flora North America Program, which pioneered in the use of computers for taxonomic information and set the stage for the subsequent effort to prepare a modern treatise of North American plants. The data produced from this project was among the first in the world to document the climatic phenomenon now known as global warming. His research travels took him across North America and to parts of South and Central America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Stan was a frequent lecturer, teacher, and consultant through the years. He served on the board of the Piedmont Environmental Council (1985-88) and several terms (latest, 2006) on the board of directors of the Audubon Naturalist Society, including three years (1974-77) as president. He was a charter member (1982) of the Virginia Native Plant Society and served on the state board of directors as Botany Chair (1996-2003) and director-at-large (2004-2006). He taught plant identification courses for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School off and on since 1963 and in the 1980s and 90s at Northern Virginia Community College.
Honors include election as fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1994) for “contributions to the formation of electronic data banks and the computer registry of botanical specimens,” and fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences (2002). Upon retirement he was appointed botanist emeritus by the National Museum of Natural History.
In 1995, he received the Paul Bartsch Medal, which is the Audubon Naturalist Society’s top award for contributions to natural history and conservation. In 1988, he was invited by the Chautauqua Institution to present the featured lecture at the celebration of the late Roger Tory Peterson’s 80th birthday. He received the Piedmont Environmental Council’s Individual Award for Contributions to Environmental Improvement in 1981 for his role in drafting a Vegetation Preservation Policy for Loudoun County, Virginia.
Stan was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1970 and served as vice president from 1981 to 1984 and as president from 1984 to 1987.
Dr. Shetler is survived by 2 sisters, a brother, a step-mother, his wife of 54 years Elaine, two children, and two grandchildren. His remains will be cremated and a memorial service will be announced at a later date.