To think we can build a commercial strip mall in the rural tier of Prince George’s County, Maryland close to the Patuxent River in Upper Marlboro and do no harm flies in the face of reason. The point of the rural tier is to protect the ecosystem of the river. Urbanization is not free, and carries a heavy environmental cost that impacts everyone, those who live in the rural tier and those who live in the rest of the county. We all will pay the price down the road.
Urbanization affects the water cycle that every resident of Prince George’s County depend upon. When a parking lot for the strip mall is built, rain water will carry “… nutrients, pesticides, heavy metals, sediment, and other pollutants that it washes from lawns, roads, and other surfaces. In urbanizing areas, the result of the altered hydrology and the greater pollutant loads is physical and biological degradation of the receiving ecosystems, including streams (Paul and Meyer 2001) and wetlands (Ehrenfeld 2000). The degree of degradation is correlated with the amount of impervious cover in the watershed (Schueler 2003). Even cover values of 10 percent or less have been associated with changes in stream fauna in some areas.”
What is the recommendation for land near a major tributary, but to minimize the extent of paved surfaces because impervious cover and altered hydrology are so closely linked? In terstingly enough there is a Patuxent river Policy Plan that states in a report from 1997 that we should “[c]ontinue to restore, improve, and protect the habitat function of aquatic and terrestrial living resources; [c]oncentrate new development in and around existing developed areas and population centers while protecting rural lands and the associated agricultural economy; [e]nhance the environmental quality and community design in new and existing communities; [d]evelop a sense of stewardship for the Patuxent River and its watershed through increased public education and participation programs.”
Where is a strip mall in this plan? Will our deciders follow their own plan or will they look the other way and move to the river’s edge with pavement and concrete and retail stores? Where is the line?
Susan W. Vince and Martha C. Monroe. Forest Management in the Interface: Water Management. This document FOR 181, is one of the Forest Management in the Interface series of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Services, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. This fact sheet was first published in 2006 as part of Changing Roles: Wildland-Urban Interface Professional Development Program. It was reviewed and revised for EDIS in July 2008. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/. < http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/document_fr246#FOOTNOTE_1 >
 Patucent Policy plan < http://www.mdp.state.md.us/info/patuxplan.htm >
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].