The Gunpowder River is flowing at 104 Cfs is 52f and clear until little falls. While the shop will be closed on the 4th, it will be open this Friday and Sunday. The 4th is the last free fishing day in Maryland this year so be sure to take advantage of it. With cooler weather ahead, plan on a BWO’s.The Sulphurs and caddis are a still a good bet try them in the #16-18 range. We’re also seeing a few ants and beetles making their way into the stream. Long leaders are still the trick. Typically as the water drops mid-summer a 10 foot leader in 6x is a good starting point-add some 7x and you’ll be in the game. Think short cast, long drift and you’ll be on the right track. This shot of a native Brookie Josh Reider released just across the border was too pretty to leave archived as it would give even the best fireworks display a run for the money. Have a safe 4th!
Listen in today, June 4th at 11 AM on WEAA.org or 88.9 FM on O’Malley’s Environmental Record. The Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER interview on the Columbia / NiSource line-MB project with Marc follows…Thanks to Marc for getting the word out on the new public hearing:
An Excerpt from the MDE website follows; or go to the full notice including the Memorandum & Opinion
PUBLIC NOTICE AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATIONAL HEARING
Applicant:NiSource / Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC
Application Number: 12-NT-0433 / 201261660
Comment Period:June 1, 2015 to July 8, 2015
Public Informational Hearing Details:
Date: Monday, June 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Poster Session
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Public Informational Hearing
Location: Stevenson University, Owings Mills Campus Rockland Center, Banquet Room
100 Campus Circle Owings Mills, MD 21117
BACKGROUND: On April 21, 2014, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) issued Nontidal Wetlands and Waterways Permit Number 12-NT-0433/201261660 to NiSource/Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia) authorizing Columbia to impact nontidal wetlands, the 25-foot nontidal wetland buffer, streams, and the 100-year floodplain in connection with the Line MB Extension Project (the Permit). Several petitioners filed judicial review actions in circuit court challenging the Department’s decision to issue the Permit. On April 30, 2015, the Circuit Court for Baltimore County issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order remanding the Permit to MDE to take action on three issues: conducting a more extensive public notice process; providing additional documentation that the project would not affect historic properties; and clarifying MDE’s rationale on water quality issues. In accordance with the public notice component of the Order, MDE is issuing this public notice to inform the public of the proposed regulated impacts associated with the Line MB Extension Project, to solicit comments from the public about the work described below, and to announce a public informational hearing. At this time, MDE has not decided whether to reissue the Permit. MDE is evaluating the proposed regulated activities under Title 5, Subtitle 5 (Waterway Construction) and Title 5, Subtitle 9 (Nontidal Wetlands) of the Environment Article, Annotated Code of Maryland. –Ordered by the Circuit Court.
Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday, June 14th, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear and fly selection. Class is held from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM. Cost is $125 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased at the shop with check or cash the day of the school. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.
Please join us for a fly fishing school. On Sunday, June 7th, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear and fly selection. Class is held from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM. Cost is $125 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased at the shop with check or cash the day of the school. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-registration is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 to pre-register.
This weekend the shop will be open from:
12 till 5 on Friday
10 till 4 on Saturday
The shop Will be Closed on Mother’s Day
and hours on Monday the 11th of May will be 12 PM to 5 PM.
Thanks to Tim Wheeler of the Baltimore Sun for covering the recent Baltimore County Circuit Court decision from Judge Justin King to remand the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Wetlands and Waterways Permit for the Columbia/NiSource line-mb extension project. Despite an 8,915 page record of decision that MDE provided the court to defend the permit, the court’s memorandum and opinion was critical of the permit on several important grounds highlighted in the May 5, front page Sun article and the article was also featured on B’More Green blog titled; Court halts stream crossings by natural gas pipeline in Baltimore County .
An excerpt follows:
A Baltimore County judge stopped completion — at least temporarily — of a 21-mile natural gas pipeline through northern Baltimore and Harford counties, declaring that state regulators failed to do enough to protect environmentally sensitive waterways and historic properties in the controversial project’s path.
Circuit Judge Justin J. King ordered the Maryland Department of the Environment to revise the permit it issued last year to Columbia Gas Transmission to lay a 26-inch pipeline from Owings Mills to Fallston. King said state regulators failed to spell out safeguards the company must follow in crossing rivers and streams, making it impossible to tell if the project meets state and federal water-quality regulations.
The judge also said the state didn’t properly notify affected property owners or give them a chance to weigh in on the $180 million project. And he said the agency made only a cursory check for potential impacts to historic dwellings.
The ruling issued late last week was hailed by environmentalists, who said regulators glossed over how the pipeline would affect the 81 rivers and streams it’s expected to traverse, many of them sources of the Baltimore region’s drinking water and some havens for pollution-sensitive trout.
“It will eventually have MDE and Columbia go back through and make this permit more protective of the waterway resources we’re advocating for,” said Theaux M. Le Gardeur, the Gunpowder Riverkeeper and one of the project opponents who took the case to court. “I can’t really tell folks where the pipeline should go, but if they do put it in, they should put it in in the right way.”
The company sued dozens of Baltimore and Harford county property owners last year, invoking eminent domain so it could do pipeline work on more than 400 acres after failing to reach agreements with the owners on access to their land and compensation for the disturbance.
To date, the pipeline has been laid from Fallston to the eastern edge of Oregon Ridge Park near Shawan and Beaver Dam roads, LeGardeur said, with one of the most pristine streams in the state next to be crossed. Advocates for the 1,000-acre county park had complained that the pipeline will destroy a swath of mature forest, disrupt wildlife and possibly degrade a popular swimming lake.
We cannot continue this challenging work without support from you. Please support Gunpowder Riverkeeper by joining the 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a tax-deductible charitable contribution!
FERC Public Scoping meeting on Columbia MB-Line Project begs many Questions while Providing few Answers about Potential Water Quality Impacts
It’s January and the snow must go on. Sometimes the best gifts land on our doorstep after the holidays! This week we’ve been unpacking the stuff we just can’t get through winter without! Patagonia Beanies, Merino wool hiking socks, Nano-Air Jackets, Capilene 3 tops and bottoms and Shelled Insulator pants are all at the top of our get through winter with a smile list. Stop on up and try some of this gear on-it will make fly fishing and just about anything else you do outdoors in Maryland in January more enjoyable!
Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER 2014 Year End Holiday Wrap up:The Gunpowder River is a drinking water source for over 1.8 million residents in the Baltimore-metro area. It is recognized as a world-class wild trout fishery and is an important boating and swimming destination.
Our legal projects, outreach and advocacy are strengthened by your support. The winter solstice allows us to reflect on the past year. We are especially thankful for three notable gifts. Support from our volunteers, legal support provided to the organization. Generous donations from our new and renewing members are also vital to our efforts! In 2015, communities in the lower River that have been impacted by polluted runoff and sediment pollution will be represented by the RIVERKEEPER®.
Legal Projects: GRK is faced with many environmental challenges in the watershed that must be argued in a legal context. GRK cannot afford a staff attorney so the organization has leveraged pro-bono legal counsel to protect the Gunpowder River. At a conservative estimate of $250 for each hour donated, GRK has realized over a half million dollars in free legal support in the past four years to protect the River.
The GRK appeal of the FERC Certificate of Public Need and Necessity is now before the second highest Court in the United States. The Certificate allowed Columbia Gas Transmission/NiSource to exercise eminent domain on residential properties in Harford and Baltimore Counties before 17 plans, permits and approvals were finalized for the project. GRK has also petitioned the Harford and Baltimore County Circuit Courts for judicial review of the Maryland Department of the Environment 401 Water Quality Certification and related Wetland and Waterways Permit for the project because it was not protective of water quality. In 2015, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals will hear the Baltimore County MS-4 Stormwater Permit. GRK appealed the permit because it failed to incorporate a compliance schedule and representative monitoring to protect the Gunpowder and its tributaries.
Outreach: The Organization has lead community, office, school groups and Scout and Brownie troops on stream walks and service project along the River to discuss the sources of City drinking water and the importance of wild trout; Since 2010, GRK has maintained 14 wader wash stations to prevent the spread of the invasive algae Didymo. The organization sponsored an Eagle Scout Project across the 7.2 miles of catch and release managed water that provided fishing regulation signs at each of the eight access points along the Upper River. This year Environmental mapping has a helped us identify impacts to the river and its watershed from industrial activities.
Advocacy: GRK served as a public interest member of the State Water Quality Advisory Committee; Created awareness that current management protocols of Baltimore City DPW that manage Pretty Boy Reservoir at full pool impacts the River with widespread flooding during heavy rainfall events, is counter to the Baltimore City Watershed Agreement and the Loch Raven Total Maximum Daily Load (Pollution diet) and can be prevented with proactive management that allows the reservoir to fill rather than spill during Hurricane Season; Worked with Maryland Park Service staff on trail closures and clean-ups; Informed Maryland Natural Resources Police on poaching complaints; Provided regulatory comments to the Maryland Department of the Environment on Water Quality standards for cold water streams in the state.
GRK supported a comment letter to the Maryland Department of the Environment on general discharge permits NPDES# MDG01 for animal feeding operations concerning unregulated animal feeding operations that contribute to surface water pollution and measures that should be undertaken such as inspections of animal waste storage facilities, water quality monitoring, reporting requirements, and public participation in order to make progress towards restoring land and water quality and the Chesapeake Bay. GRK also supported a Maryland house Bill on the prohibition of storage, treating, discharging or disposing of flow back or other wastewater in the state resulting from Hydraulic fracturing of natural gas. GRK upported a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and Office of Management and Budget urging the publication and revision of more effective regulations for chemical dispersants used in oil spills. GRK also joined other Waterkeeper Alliance member organizations in supporting more protections and to waterways under the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule.
GRK Testimony and Letters:
“Le Gardeur’s group and 17 other environmental and community organizations believe potential effects on the region’s drinking water system have not gotten the attention they deserve. Of 70 waterways the pipeline would cross, 39 are sources of the region’s drinking water. ‘They’re not looking at the cumulative impacts,’ said Le Gardeur, who is also a fishing guide and tackle shop owner in Baltimore County. Le Gardeur said more phosphorus and sediment could be flushed into the reservoir by construction across the streams and by disturbance of 305 acres of land as the pipeline is laid. Even if the project must go forward, he said, Columbia ought to be required to minimize disturbance of streams and banks by drilling the pipeline under the beds.” ~Pipeline may affect drinking water, activists fear by Tim Wheeler of the Baltimore Sun; January 1, 2014.
“Le Gardeur said he believes the entire notification process is flawed, because the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Army Corps of Engineers focused its notices on impacts to trout waters, as opposed to drinking water. The ads in the newspapers announcing the public meeting made no mention of drinking water… Le Gardeur said many more residents from the region would have testified at the hearing had they known about the drinking water connection….’The drinking water supply aspect has not really been discussed in a public forum,’ Le Gardeur said. ‘One hundred percent of the drinking water in north Baltimore and Harford County are dependent on these surface water streams. They are only being given a cursory glance.’”~Proposed natural gas line threatens trout stream, drinking water: Groups, official object to Columbia Gas plan to run pipe through pristine valley in Baltimore County by Rona Kobell of The Bay Journal; January 23, 2014.
“Over the past three years of flooding, we’ve seen a dramatic loss of healthy banks, a riverwide decrease in the population of trout and less woody debris” where the fish can find shelter, said Theaux Le Gardeur, the Gunpowder Riverkeeper….Le Gardeur and some others say what they worry about now is too much water spilling over the dam, making it more difficult and even unsafe at times to wade into the river to fly-fish. Flows have consistently been well above average, and on a couple occasions this spring after deluges soared to 1,000 cubic feet per second, flooding the valley. But Le Gardeur said he believes the weather-driven surges could be mitigated if the city would lower the level of the lake behind the dam a bit to hold the runoff from at least modest amounts of rain falling on the 80-square-mile watershed that drains into the reservoir. …An added concern comes in spring and summer, Le Gardeur said, when warmer water spilling over the dam from the surface of the reservoir heats up the river. Trout do best in cold water and become stressed when water temperatures rise into the high 60s and 70s. But Le Gardeur called that ‘short-sighted.’ He pointed out that New Jersey officials ordered water levels in four drinking water reservoirs in that state drawn down in an attempt to mitigate predicted severe flooding as superstorm Sandy swept up the coast in October 2012. Besides potentially affecting the Gunpowder’s trout and recreation, LeGardeur said high flows are washing extra sediment into the Loch Raven Reservoir, reducing its capacity to hold water. The erosion also brings phosphorus, a plant nutrient that feeds algae blooms and affects water quality.” ~High flows on Gunpowder stirs debate by Tim Wheeler, Baltimore Sun; June 23, 2014.
This year GRK received a challenge grant from a local foundation of $40, 000 –but the funding is dependent on raising the same! Please consider an annual donation of support or year-end donation via PAYPAL on the Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER website, walk in a donation at the counter during operating hours or drop a check in the mail to GRK, at P.O. BOX 156, Monkton, MD 21111
The protection of the Gunpowder River is a gift worthy of your support.
Theaux M. Le Gardeur
GRK is a Nonprofit 501(c) (3) EIN # 27-1517453. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Please join us on Saturday December 13th for a Sweetgrass Bamboo Fly Rod Demo Day with Jerry Kustich. Jerry will be in the shop from 11 AM till 1 PM and will have plenty of samples and stories of steelhead, permit and life on tap. Thanks to Sweetgrass for the use of the following bio of Jerry from the Sweetgrass Rods website:
Jerry Kustich has been a part of the “Boo Boy” team for the past twenty years learning the many intricacies of rod building. Always found on a stream testing anything from flies to waders to pentagonal bamboo designs, he has become an outspoken advocate for public access to Montana’s rivers. Author, writer, devoted environmentalist, rod designer, and dedicated angler, he spends much time on the road as a fly fishing ambassador lecturing on and representing the ideals for which all serious fly anglers stand.
Sweetgrass posts from Backwater Angler
The Gunpowder River is up from 75 CFs and is flowing at 117 Cfs. The water is clear, a little green and is 46.5 degrees F. The wind might make it difficult to fish the tiny BWO’s reported earlier this week during the gloomy wet days. Give the games a break, put some gloves and hit the River. Stay warm by nymphing with bead head stoneflies in the #10-14 range with soft hackles like red butts trailing in a #14. With the River up, streamers on sink-tips are still a good bet-especially around the log jams and chute runs in the boulder pools. Try midge cluster patterns in the flat stretches-especially along shelves that turn into riffles. Thanks to Stefan for the stream report and photo of a tiger trout from the Gunpowder River.
Got him in a little riffle. Amazing colors. Had no idea there were Tigers in the Gunpowder.