- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

If you are among the many Potomac River fishermen who dream of more boat launching ramps in the tidal parts of the river south of the Mattawoman Creek, tonight is your chance to speak up. The possibility of a new launch ramp and a number of other vitally important subjects will be addressed in Charles County, Md. Be advised that quite a few birdwatchers and NIMBYs (for "Not In My Backyard") oppose launch ramps if it means a motorized craft might use it. If boats are to be launched, they want them to be canoes, nothing else.
Yeah, right. That way there'll be only two or three of the little things seen in any four-month period.
You can help put a stop to such unreasonable, elitist behavior.
People who watched the recent brouhaha centered on the Douglas Point sand and gravel operation that was so vigorously opposed by concerned citizens who live in that area of western Charles County, know that as part of an eventual settlement the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources purchased more than 1,700 acres of land along the Potomac near the town of Nanjemoy.
The way the BLM operates, before it secures acquisition and development funding, it wants to give the public a formal opportunity to speak its mind about any plans for such lands. Hooray for the democratic process. Workshops have been set up to give citizens a chance to discuss issues and concerns about lands that are known to locals as the PEPCO and Wilson properties.
The Wilson property is in Mallows Bay, a place that sorely needs a boat launch for those of us who enjoy fishing the lower ends of the tidal Potomac's portions where bass, stripers, catfish and white perch rule. There's a chance for just such a ramp, but we need to let the people in charge know what we want nice and calm, no shouting.
Let's do it tonight, 7 to 9 , at the new Social Services Building on Kent Avenue in La Plata, the seat of Charles County that can be reached by way of Route 301 south from Prince George's County past way-points such as Brandywine, Waldorf and White Plains.
As one activist so accurately pointed out, "It's extremely important that people who have an interest in a boat launch facility and perhaps some public hunting opportunities to attend this meeting. So far, most of the input has come from Nanjemoy residents and a vocal environmental group."
Charles County, incidentally, fully supports more public access for citizens, including the properties in question. Good for Charles County and good for all of us.
Resident Canada geese a plague Doug Smith of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says there'll be some tough times coming for resident Canada geese that are fouling lawns, beaches, waterways, parks and golf courses with their droppings.
The states Maryland and Virginia among them that are currently plagued by burgeoning resident Canada goose populations will be allowed to more aggressively reduce the number of geese under a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposal. The states would be given broader authority to control the geese by destroying nests and eggs, expanding hunting opportunities and launching trapping and culling programs. Some of these techniques are already used in Minnesota, whose resident goose population has quadrupled in the past 10 years, and this latest USF&WS; proposal would provide more options and make it easier for the states to take action.
The resident geese which can be seen everywhere during a time of year when migratory Canada geese are in the northern tundras of the country they're named after have also been blamed by local farmers for increasing crop damage. Under the liberal hunting policy that's being proposed, the geese could be hunted as early as Aug.1 and shooters might be allowed to use electronic calls, larger numbers of shells in their shotguns (three is the limit now), and expanded shooting hours.
Each state would determine which, if any, measures it would use to reduce goose numbers, but official hunting changes most likely will not take place until 2003. The USF&WS; will accept public comments on its proposal through May30. For more information contact the USF&WS; at 202/208-5634.

Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]washingtontimes.com.



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