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2001 Annual Update

Edwin Lewis Project

The Wicomico County Circuit Court upheld the ruling by the Board of Zoning Appeals denying Mr. Lewis a variance for construction of several buildings comprising a duck hunting camp within the Critical Area 100' buffer zone (done in 1999). It is not clear now whether Mr. Lewis will appeal this decision to the state level.

Blades Marina

On Aug. 29, 2001, the US Army Corps of Engineers served BEDCO (the marina developers) with a Cease and Desist Order for wetlands violation (they had impacted more wetland area than permitted). This matter is still pending.

One month later, on Sept. 28th, we received word from the Superior Court of the State of Delaware that Judge T.H. Graves had upheld the decision by the DNREC Secretary to approve the construction of the marina. The judge didn't give any indication that he viewed our concerns as valid, nor did he appear to leave room for an appeal. Therefore, the Friends’ Steering Committee voted not to appeal this decision to the state Supreme Court, which would have cost approximately $20,000.

While this decision is disappointing, it does not invalidate the importance of our appeal, and we have fulfilled our mission of bringing the environmental and economic concerns to light. We have made an important point that groups such as ours are concerned about and will mobilized in response to future such decisions that are contrary to State environmental laws.

DNREC and the citizens near the marina will need to be vigilant in monitoring its operation and impacts, and the Friends will not hesitate to take action if we perceive that illegal environmental degradation is occuring.

10th Anniversary Celebration

We joined to celebrate our 10th anniversary in several ways: we held a get-together at the Tyaskin Pavilion, where we first organized as a group, and we canoed, shared great food, and reviewed the history of both the Friends and the town of Tyaskin with several long-time residents. We also held a tree planting (funded by a generous grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust) at Roaring Point Park, where we planted 130 trees of 5 different native species with help from the Salisbury University Bioenvirons Club, the J.M. Bennett High Environmental Club, and the Maryland Conservation Corps.
CONCRETE

We have been involved in 2 matters relating to concrete and the river, and are continuing to investigate a proposed ready-mix plant near Sharptown. The first proposal related to an operation in Nanticoke, where we obtained a restriction requiring the installation of a silt fence around the area to prevent runoff to a nearby tributary creek.
PUBLIC FORUM

We co-sponsored a public forum on Wicomico County growth issues at Salisbury University on February 26. We remain actively involved in local planning issues as they affect development within the river’s watershed. Pressures on farmland and open space have never been greater, and they threaten the health and survival of the Nanticoke.