The Board of Directors of the newly established Deep Creek Watershed Foundation have just issued the following press release:
DEEP CREEK WATERSHED FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED
The Board of Directors of the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation
, Inc. is pleased to announce the formation of the Foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as a non-profit Maryland corporation. The Foundation is formed to accept tax-deductible donations to foster a private/public partnership that will support, promote and advance scientific study, environmental protection and educational programs relating to the Deep Creek Watershed.
Deep Creek Lake (DCL) is located in the mountains of Garrett County, Maryland, and is the state's largest freshwater lake containing 3,900 acres. The Lake has evolved as a primary recreational destination for the Mid-Atlantic States and is the economic engine for the County. In 2000, the State of Maryland purchased the Lake and its buffer zone under legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is assigned responsibility for managing the Lake and its buffer zone. Likewise, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is responsible for, among other things, sediment and erosion control of DCL, as well as for the issuance of a Water Allocation Permit which provides authorization for various entities to use specified quantities of water from the lake. The 2000 legislation included stewardship requirements and authorizations, but it did not address the potential impacts from the watershed to water quality in the Lake.
Over the past 15 years, the Deep Creek community, the County, DNR and MDE have demonstrated a growing interest in ensuring that the quality and recreational value of the Lake is maintained. Concerns have arisen relating to sediment in coves, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), water quality, lake level fluctuations, and other issues. Many of these concerns extend beyond the authority of the state-owned property in the buffer zone. Consequently, a more extensive assessment of the entire watershed was needed.
Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DNR and the Garrett County Commissioners, the State and the County agreed to work together to develop a Watershed Management Plan. Volunteers representing various interest groups and watershed residents, along with County and State officials, were appointed to a steering committee by DNR and the County and formed subcommittees to address the variety of issues affecting the watershed. Through this effort the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan (Plan) was developed and subsequently approved by the DNR and the Garett County Board of County Commissioners
Additionally, a second MOU has been agreed to and will be signed by the Garrett County Commissioners and the Secretaries of DNR and MDE, creating the Administrative Council which will oversee the implementation of the Plan; establish the staff position of Watershed Coordinator; and address the development of financial strategies. The Foundation will work closely with this Administrative Council to identify projects that will require funding.
The Foundation is formed to support the Plan's goal of "improving the environmental stability and economic viability of the Deep Creek Watershed while retaining its rural landscapes and natural beauty, so that, for generations to come, local citizens and visitors have a special place to live, work, and play." The Foundation will accomplish this goal by engaging in fundraising activities to sponsor educational programs supporting initiatives relating to the watershed, soliciting and providing funding to support scientific, environmental, and educational programs relating to the watershed, and applying for grants relating to activities in furtherance of the protection of the watershed.
For further information regarding the Foundation, its Board of Directors, how to donate, and how to contact Board members, please visit the Foundation's web site at