- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said four watersheds will be considered for the state’s second coordinated effort to remove a Chesapeake Bay tributary from the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of impaired waters. A pilot project on the Eastern Shore’s Corsica River was called the best watershed-based plan in the nation, the EPA said.

So let’s all hope the next targeted watershed chosen is the Port Tobacco River in Charles County.

That rather short, shallow waterway without doubt has been one of the most abused and maligned bodies of water in the state. Sewage is dumped in it amid much hand-wringing from politicians who act as if nothing can be done about it. Bilges from boats are pumped out and dumped, and no one knows anything. Commercial operators along the Port Tobacco act as if the little river is their own private waterway, to be done with as they please.

As the state looks at the Port Tobacco, the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County, the lower Gunpowder River in Baltimore County and Bynum Run in Harford County to decide which one should be picked for major restoration, I wish all four could be chosen.

As a Charles County resident, it irked me more than a little to read what David Umling, Charles County’s planning director, had to say about the Port Tobacco.

“Charles County is excited to be a finalist for the Governor’s Targeted Watershed Initiative,” he said. “We place a high priority on protecting and restoring surface water quality throughout the county. The selection of our application will provide the higher level of support and prioritization needed to enable us to simultaneously implement many objectives of the Port Tobacco River Watershed Restoration Action Strategy.”

That’s actually a lot of government double-talk that says nothing. Umling and the rest of Charles County’s officials appear to have been doing a lot of that as the Port Tobacco slowly died.

Virginia has new game/fish boss — The Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries recently named J. Carlton Courter III as director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Courter began his assignment last Wednesday. He joined the agency after serving as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture since 1994. Before that, he worked for the Virginia Agribusiness Council for 13 years, steadily rising through the ranks and ultimately serving as its president from 1987 to 1994.

Courter was raised in Amelia County, Va., on a farm that has been in his family since 1737. He and his wife, Scarlett, and their son live in Midlothian.

“I grew up in a rural community and have been a sportsman all my life. Consequently, I have admired the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries my whole life. It is a privilege to work with the game wardens, biologists and other fine professionals in this organization on their mission to conserve Virginia’s natural resources,” Courter said.

Local boys score in casting event — Amid vigorous casting, pitching and flipping hookless lures during the Maryland State Championships of the Bassmasters CastingKids competition in late October, two Crofton lads, Douglas Neary, 10, and his brother, Austin, 13, were named state champions in their age categories at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World near Baltimore.

The brothers, members of the Junior ProFormance Youth Fishing Club, will go on to compete in a semifinal contest to establish winners in each of the six Federation regions, and the winners there will compete at the Bassmaster Classic fishing championship in February in Birmingham, Ala.

Commercial striper season ends — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says 2006 striped bass commercial hook-and-line fishery will have to stop effective 12:01 a.m., Nov. 13, as recommended by the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission. The hook-and-line portion of the combined gill net and hook-and-line quota is expected to be caught by that date.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com

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