As someone who drinks public water that comes from the Monocacy River, I care about its cleanliness. Like everyone, I respect personal property rights, but I also respect taxpayer rights.
So when I read about the hoopla at last week’s meeting over a plan to restore the polluted Monocacy River and heard the fear expressed by landowners who live along the Monocacy River over losing land and valuable property, I reread the plan. And here is what I found: The plan is merely suggesting ways to restore the health of the river and bring it back to life, just as if my doctor told me I had diabetes and suggested ways to improve my health and manage the disease. There are no recommendations to seize people’s land, but there are suggestions like plant more trees, use best management practices and protect wetlands.
Adopting the plan doesn’t mean any of these suggestions automatically become county policy; how and whether they are implemented will be up for discussion. Overall, the recommendations are very helpful and constructive. Kudos to the Monocacy River Board, participating farmers and citizens who have doggedly worked to prepare them for Frederick and Carroll counties.
Perhaps a way to move forward would be to look at each contentious situation to see if there really is an issue — or merely a perception of one. If there is an issue, there is most likely a solution that works for all.
I take the health of the Monocacy seriously because the river provides over 25 percent of the city of Frederick’s and surrounding neighborhoods’ drinking water and has unfortunately failed safe public drinking water standards for some very toxic byproducts linked to cancer and liver damage, particularly in pregnant women, young children and older people. This is an unnecessary outcome directly related to eroding stream banks and narrow or nonexistent stream buffers. If my doctor prescribed a health plan for my diabetes, I wouldn’t tell him to buzz off because it cramps my lifestyle. I would listen and work to develop a health plan that addressed the problem and worked for me. As a community we ought to be able to discuss this problem together, look at specific situations and work toward real solutions that work for everyone.