- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2001

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Whats in a name? A lot, when it comes to Anne Arundel Countys creeks, coves, streams and lakes, says biologist Peter Bergstrom.
Many of those waterways never have had names. Some are misidentified on maps and some are known by two different names. Thats a problem, Mr. Bergstrom says.
"We tend to care more about things that have names," said Mr. Bergstrom, who works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Annapolis.
Mr. Bergstrom and the Severn River Association are seeking a $6,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to give names to those waters.
"You cant teach people about streams if they dont have names," Mr. Bergstromsaid. "Theyre almost invisible."
Naming the waterways will help in efforts to secure and protect them, Mr. Bergstrom said. Mapping them would benefit navigation, especially in a county where many people use the waterways for recreation.
The proposed pilot project would include all county rivers draining directly into the Chesapeake Bay, from the south shore of the Patapsco River to the West River.
The work involves identifying unnamed bodies of water and finding discrepancies and duplications. It would be conducted mainly by studying maps and books and talking to residents.
The grant would pay for a geographical-information systems technician to help with identification, naming and mapmaking.
Mr. Bergstrom says he is not certain how many nameless waterways there are, although he does know of 14 unnamed tributaries on the Magothy and Severn rivers.
Many of the streams have unofficial names, he said. "We want the names to start showing up on maps and give them an official presence," he said.
In some cases, communities have come to know a body of water by one name, although it may be identified by another name on a map or in a database.
For example, people in the Sherwood Forest area have referred to the Idle River for decades. But a federal database lists the Severn River tributary as Brewers Creek.
Local resident William Moulden, 46, says thats been a source of confusion when someone outside the community talks about it.
"Apparently, in the late 1970s, some bureaucrat decided it was Brewers Creek, and the maps and charts started to reflect that," Mr. Moulden said.
Mr. Bergstrom plans to identify the unnamed or twice-named or wrongly named waters and plot them on large maps that will be displayed at public meetings where area residents can have a say in naming them. Then, he hopes to get the bodies of water added to federal databases.


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