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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Friday, September 19, 2008

Endangered Species of the Western Branch of the Patuxent River

Prince George's County has decided that placing a waste transfer station at or near a "stronghold watershed" is a strong statement of county stewardship and a clear signal of the county's long term commitment to the environment. The clear unique properties of the site and the surrounding land and water is ignored as the the one of a kind site is proposed for intensive industrial use. This is the county's idea of protecting the environment. No matter the significant endangered species, Prince George's County has decided that there would be no impact.

"Nearly every person in Maryland lives within one mile of a headwater stream. Successful protection and restoration of Maryland's rivers and the Chesapeake Bay require protection and restoration of the thousands of miles of headwater streams that drain our mountains and upland areas. A "stronghold watershed", the Western Branch, a tributary to the Patuxent River, is one of a few unique watersheds in the State with special ecological landmarks. "Stronghold watersheds" are like no other places in Maryland because of the species that live within the watershed. Three state-endangered fish species, including the stripeback darter (which lives no where else in the State) live in the Western Branch. The Western Branch watershed ranked 8 th out of 84 watersheds in Maryland for its unique contribution to Maryland's biodiversity. With the help of more than 700 stream waders, the Maryland Biological Stream Survey monitors the health of more than 10,000 miles of streams to provide critical information needed to protect and restore our aquatic resources, including the Chesapeake Bay. For more information visit http://%3ca//streams/mbss> "
In addition, the county blithely tells its residents that there is adequate protection for building on or near wetlands and that there is no need to be concerned about polluting the Patuxent river. The facts of the current inappropriate use are quickly swept away as is the current trash and debris.

"First we felt the effect of last summer’s severe drought, followed bybelow-average rainfall throughout the winter and spring. Low groundwater levels affected trees and other plants, as well as the hydrology of ponds, vernal pools, and river flow.Then, in early May, nearly 10 inches of rain fell in five days.The resulting Patuxent River flood was reminiscent of Tropical Storm Isabel: water levels rose eight feet upstream near Bowie, and 16 feet in Western Branch. At the Sanctuary, the Railroad Bed Trail and River Pier were under water. The swiftly moving, sediment-laden water reached a volume of 25,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) in Western Branch, overwhelming the Western Branch wastewater treatment plant. The plant’s 30-million-gallon per day capacity was flooded by 80 million gallons on May 9 when only 20% of the rainfall had occurred. In the end, 16 million gallons of sewage flowed into river—a result of Combined Sewer Overflows. These are common conduits that carry both sewage and stormwater.When heavy storms occur, the pipes containing sewage flood and bypass the wastewater treatment facility.The result: raw sewage in Western Branch and the river. After the storm, we witnessed logs from hundred-year-old trees sailing swiftly down the river, like canoes with no passengers. An entire floating dock with pontoons washed up against the Sanctuary’s small pier by the boardwalk. And a pile of debris a half an acre wide and five feet deep, dotted with plastic bottles and a variety of snakes escaping the rapid waters, was shoved up against the river pier. At last, the vernal pools filled to maximum capacity. (See Spadefoots Toads, p. 5) "

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