Fall Social Event – October 30, 2021

Thanks to all the heavy lifters for a wonderful fall island outing. Everything worked out perfectly despite my Chicken Little predictions. While I missed the oysters and associated food and fuss that goes with the typical fall event, the sandwiches were great (and simple) and allowed much more time for hanging out and catching up. I’m looking forward to returning to the real shad bake and real oyster roast next year but I think we should consider adding a summer sandwich event to our yearly club calendar. Maybe we could discuss this at next spring’s annual meeting?

Jill Swearingen

Due to the high water, a boat bridge was used to get to the island.

Plummers Island Threatened by proposed Expansion of American Legion Bridge

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. 

Successful Workday

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.