State, County Sign Agreement to Develop Deep Creek Lake Watershed Management Plan
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Garrett County today signed an agreement outlining the development of a comprehensive watershed management plan for Deep Creek Lake. The partnership announced the proposed plan at last month’s State of the Lake presentation.
The Deep Creek Lake Watershed Management Plan will serve as a best practices guide to ensure the lake and its watershed remain healthy and protected. Developed with input from stakeholders, the plan will identify important actions partners will take to enhance the lake and surrounding area. It will consider the recreational and economic benefits to the community, while describing existing water quality and environmental conditions, assessing future conditions, identifying pollution sources, and determining restoration opportunities.
Members of the Steering Committee, a group of people who will guide the development of the plan, were also announced today. The committee will consist of nine members representing agricultural, forestry, business communities, recreational interests, residents and the power plant. The committee will receive support from staff from Garrett County, DNR and other State agencies. A professional facilitator has also been contracted to keep the process on track.
The newly appointed Steering Committee members are as follows: Bob Browning, representing business interest; John Forman representing forestry interests; Steven Green representing recreation interests; Willie Lanz representing agricultural interests; and Mike Sabad representing the Brookfield Power Company. Also on the committee, representing Deep Creek property owners are Lulu Gonella, Bob Hofman, David Myerberg and Peter Versteegen. Myerberg will chair the Steering Committee.
The group’s first meeting will be in September where they will define the initial goals of the plan and review the scope of the work ahead for the coming year. A public meeting will then be scheduled for later that month to obtain input on the goals, issues and potential recommendations for action from the broader community. All meetings of the Steering Committee will be open to the public and all of the materials and meeting notes will be posted on a webpage to be launched in early September. The public is welcome to attend any of the Steering Committee meetings.
DNR conducts continuous monitoring efforts that provide citizens and resource managers a better understanding of threats to the lake’s health, so that they may take the appropriate actions to lessen these impacts. The most recent data confirms that the lake meets clean water standards, continues to support diverse and healthy fish, plant and wildlife populations, and is experiencing low algal levels due to low phosphorus concentrations. The development of a watershed management plan and implementation of the recommended actions will ensure the continued health of the lake for future generations.
Located in western Maryland, Deep Creek is one of the State’s largest and most popular lakes, providing recreation (including year-round fishing) for hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors annually. The reservoir is owned and operated by the Maryland Park Service, with additional help and support provided by Garrett County.
Click here to watch the full State of Deep Creek Lake meeting.