State Lakes Preservation & Restoration, and Dredging in DCL
July 15, 2017
Over the last month or so there has been much speculation about two significant events. The first of these was the passage of the State Lakes Preservation and Restoration Fund. The second is the result of a County sponsored study regarding the feasibility of dredging of sediment impacted coves on DCL. In this eBlast I want to clarify these two issues and put them in perspective for POA members.
First, regarding the State Lakes Preservation and Restoration fund (SLPRF). These funds are to be used for problems within the 16 State-owned lakes for which the fund was established. The POA Board supports a legislative solution to obtaining state dollars for the fund. We also realize any monies that are put into this fund through legislative action will be subject to prioritization for use by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR is mandated to create an Annual Work Plan for the SLPRF in coordination with local governments, organizations, and citizens. This Work Plan will address how funds are distributed, and which problems are to be addressed in Maryland's 16 lakes. DNR has advised, for example, the number one priority at Deep Creek Lake (DCL) is Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). We expect more discussions will occur soon on the legislative efforts to acquire funding for the SLPRF and we will report on those discussions once they occur.
Second, with regard to the issue of dredging in DCL, the Maryland Environmental Service (MES) produced a Webinar which was held on June 29th and can now be found on the Garrett County Website here.
As explained in the Webinar, MES has recommended Arrowhead Cove as the cove where a "pilot" dredging project can occur if the funding is procured. MES used an engineering firm, Anchor QEA, to apply a variety of criteria against all 10 sediment impacted coves to select the best candidate for the "pilot". MES will now prepare an application for funding from the Waterway Improvement Fund (WIF), a Maryland State Fund. The application for the DCL project will compete for funding with other projects for the WIF funds in the state. In 2015, the state legislature added language to the WIF which now permits the WIF to be used for projects such as the DCL project. It is expected that the application for funding will be submitted this August with a selection of projects to be funded announced in May of 2018. It should be noted that the Secretary of DNR has stated that funding will be at the Tier 2 level for this project if it is competitively selected. Tier 2 requires a 50%-50% match of state and County funds. DNR has agreed that dredging could be done shore to shore if the project is funded. However, the project does not include any sediment remediation efforts and this is an area that requires attention to prevent the sediment from accumulating too soon.