Event Saturday will highlight Mattawoman’s value

Friday, Sept. 28, 2007

A new report released by the National Sierra Club identifies Mattawoman Creek as one of our nation’s 52 most important public resources. The report, America’s Wild Legacy, was released as part of the club’s observation of National Public Lands Day on Sept. 29.

The Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club will celebrate Mattawoman on Saturday with a press conference at Mattingly Park on the shores of our treasured Mattawoman in Indian Head. The event is one of over 20 being held across the country to publicize the Sierra Club’s new report (www.sierraclub.org⁄52places). The report features Mattawoman because its living resources form an invaluable but vulnerable legacy of Maryland’s natural heritage.

‘‘The heart of America’s wild legacy lies in our public lands,” said Sierra Club lands representative Myke Bybee, who authored the report. ‘‘As Americans, each one of us is part owner in our creeks, forests, mountains and deserts. We have a choice to make, between treating these irreplaceable lands as a giveaway to special interests, or as a gift to our children and grandchildren.”

Mattawoman Creek, named ‘‘Where one goes pleasantly” by the Algonquian American Indian tribe who used to live here, is today characterized by Maryland state fisheries biologists as ‘‘the best, most productive tributary to the Chesapeake Bay.” It serves as a remarkable spawning ground and nursery for migratory fish, with more than 40 times the concentration of other Chesapeake tributaries. And it is a key to the Potomac River’s internationally acclaimed largemouth bass recreational fishery that generates tens of millions of dollars of regional commerce.

Concern for Mattawoman is widespread. The Smart Growth Alliance has distinguished Mattawoman as one of six conservation priorities in the greater Washington region. And the conservation director of the Maryland Bass Federation Nation, Scott Sewell, says that if we want future generations to continue to enjoy Mattawoman Creek we must act now to protect it. The Maryland Bass Federation Nation is working with the Mattawoman Watershed Society and the Sierra Club to bring about a lasting protection of Mattawoman Creek.

You are invited to join members of Sierra Club, Mattawoman Watershed Society and Maryland Bass Federation Nation this Saturday between 9:30 and 10 a.m. at Mattingly Park. Take Indian Head Highway south to its end just before the Naval Surface Warfare Center and turn left onto Mattingly Avenue. The avenue ends at Mattingly Park on the tidal Mattawoman Creek.

Join your friends and neighbors who care very much about Mattawoman Creek, and stand up to be sure we all make decisions that will protect this valuable resource.

Bonnie Bick, Oxon Hill

Jim Long, Accokeek