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20081110_germantown_wksession6_attachment_3

20081110_germantown_wksession6_attachment_3

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Published by Alicia Mark White
work session from park and planning stating how important it is in Germantown to PRESERVE the land - great seneca creek area is a topic of great concern
work session from park and planning stating how important it is in Germantown to PRESERVE the land - great seneca creek area is a topic of great concern

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Published by: Alicia Mark White on Feb 24, 2011
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02/24/2011

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ATTACHMENT3
September23,2008MEMORANDUMTO:SueEdwards,
1-270
CorridorTeamLeaderCommunity-basedPlanningVIA:MaryDolan,EnvironmentalSupervisorEnvironmentalPlanningFROM:SteveFindley,PlannerCoordinatorEnvironmentalPlanningSUBJECT:GermantownMasterPlanWorksession
#
3EnvironmentalDiscussionTopics-ForestsandSustainabilityTheGeneralPlanRefinementof1993laysoutthegoalsandobjectivesforenvironmentalprotectionandstewardshipinMontgomeryCounty'sLandUsePlanning.Itrecognizestheimportanceofpreservingforestsandbiologicaldiversity,protectingwetlandsandsensitivehabitats,improvingwaterqualityandairquality,andconservingenergy.Eventssinceitsadoptionhavedemonstratedthewisdomofthesegoalsandobjectives,andinfacthavefocusedgreaterattentionontheirimportance.Inparticular,thegrowingthreatposedbyGlobalClimateChangehasincreasedtheneedtochangebehaviorsthatcontributetoemissionsofgreenhousegasses.Landusedecision-makingcaneitherexacerbatetheseproblemsoroffersolutions.TheconceptofSustainabilityinland-useplanningincorporatesnewplanningstrategiesdesignedtoreduceenvironmentalimpacts,aswellimprovingtransportationandqualityoflifeinaworldthatisbecomingmorepopulous.Sustainabilityisaboutsecuringabetterfutureforourselvesandourchildren.SustainabilityhastwoaspectsinGermantown:preservingandenhancingthenaturalsystemsthathavebufferedtheimpactofdevelopmentandbuildinggreencommunitiesthatminimizetheimpactofadditionalhomesandjobs.Thehealthofouraquaticandterrestrialcommunitiesisdirectlyassociatedwithhumanhealth,qualityoflife,andthesustainabilityofoursociety.Forestsandmeadowsfilterairandwater,reduceenergyconsumption,absorbcarbondioxide,andgenerateoxygen.Likewise,aquaticsystemsprovidehabitatforfish,birds,mammals,andinvertebratesinadditiontosupplyingdrinkingwaterforourcommunities.OfparticularconcerninGermantownisthehealthofLittleSenecaLake,whichservesasanemergencydrinkingwatersupplyfortheregionandarecreationresourcefortheupcountyarea.Waterqualityandhabitatinthesmallertributariestothelakehavealreadybeendegradedsignificantlybythetradeoffinthe1989GermantownPlanthatprotectedasubstantialgreenbeltaroundthetown.ThisgreenbelthasfunctionedtoprotectthemainstemoftheLittleandGreatSenecastreams;however,theintensityofdevelopmentanticipatedtofurtherconcentrategrowthwillputadditionalstrainonthe
 
tributarystreamsandeventuallyonthemainstemsandLittleSenecaLake.Whiletheconcentrationofgrowthwillbeagoodthingcountywide,providingalargenumberofhomesandjobsinanareawellservedbytransportationoptionsandadiversityofuses,theprotectionofkeyresourcesiscriticaltohabitatandwaterquality.BenefitsofForestPreservationBenefitsofurbantreesandforestsarewelldocumented.TreesabsorbC02fromtheatmosphereandstorecarboninthebiomassofthetree,helpingmitigateeffectsofgreenhousegasemissions.Foreststhereforeserveascarbon"sinks"wherelargeamountsofcarbonaresequestered.Becauseforestsandstreettreesalsocoolthelandscapethroughshading,theylowerlocalambientsummertemperaturesandreduceairconditioningdemand.Theresultingenergysavingsfurtherreducegreenhousegasemissions.Treesandforestscontributetoimprovedairqualitybyremovingsuchpollutantsassulfurdioxide,nitrogendioxide,carbonmonoxide,andairborneparticulatesfromtheatmosphere.Urbantreesandforestsbenefitwaterqualitybyreducingsoilerosionandconcomitantsedimentationofreceivingwaters.Treesandforestspreventnitrogen,phosphorusandothernutrientsfromreachingstreamsandponds.Forestsareparticularlyimportantasgroundwaterrechargeareas.Onestudyhasestimatedthata5%increaseintreecoverreducesstormwaterrunoffbyabout2%.Urbanforestsprovidehabitatforlocalwildlifeaswellasagreenrefugewherehumanbeingscanbrieflyescapethepressuresofthebuiltenvironment.Numerousstudiesshowthehumanhealthbenefitsofgreenspacesinurbanareas.Ofparticularinterestisastudyshowingthathospitalpatientsrecoverfasteriftheyhaveaviewoftreesoutsidetheirhospitalroomwindow.ResourceProtectionandForestPreservationRecommendationsTheGermantownForwardpublichearingdraftdescribesthegeneralforest,wetland,andwatershedresourcesandconditionsandmaderecommendationsforprotectionandenhancementoftheseresourcesandtheirfunctions.ThePlanhighlightsexistingforestresourcesandstreambuffersthatformthebasicgreeninfrastructureforGermantown,wetlandandwatershedresourcesincludingtheGermantownBogandthewatershedsdrainingtoLittleSenecaLake.CountywideStreamProtectionStrategy(CSPS)monitoringshowsadecliningtrendinwaterqualityconditionsthroughoutmostoftheGermantownstudyarea.Despitethistrend,Germantownisfortunatetohavehighqualitynaturalresourcesthatarestillbufferingtheimpactsofdevelopmentandprovidingwildlifehabitat.ProtectionoftheseexistingresourcesisthefirstpriorityinfosteringasustainableGermantown.OneimportantelementofthissystemisasignificantforestintheNorthEndDistrict.ThenorthernandwesternportionsofthestudyareadraintoSenecaLakeviatwomaintributariesandportionsofotherwatershedsthatoriginateoutsideofthestudyarea.The
MilestoneTributary
watershedcomprisesabout
700
acresinthenorthernportionofthestudyarea.ThewatershedoriginatesintheGermantownBog,auniqueresourceinMontgomeryCounty,whichprovidesunusual
 
habitatandasourceofcleangroundwatertothestream.ThestreamdrainsdirectlyintoSenecalakewithoutanyinterveningregionalstormwatermanagementlakes.ThelakeisamajorrecreationalresourceandisusedtoaugmentPotomacRiverwaterintakeatthePotomacFiltrationPlantintimesofemergency.Whiletherearereasonablywideforestedstreambuffersalongsomeofthistributary,thesectionjustwestof1-270hasbeenaffectedwithsomebuildings,clearedareasandparkinglotswithinorveryclosetothestreambuffer.TheMilestoneTributarystreamvalleyfartherwestincludesnumeroussprings,seeps,andseasonalpoolsthatserveasbreedinghabitatforamphibians.Thereisgrowingconcernworldwideaboutdecliningamphibianpopulationsandupstreamincreasesinstreambufferprotectioncouldimprovethesustainabilityoftheseareas.LittleSenecaCreekandalltributariesabovelittleSenecalake,includingtheMilestonetributaryandportionsoftheNorthEndDistrictdrainingtotheLittleSenecamainstem,areMarylandUseIV-Pstreams.UseIVstreamstypicallycontainwaterthatiscoldandcleanenoughtosupportrecreational(i.e"putandtake")troutfisheries.The"P"designatesthesestreamsaspartofthepublicwatersupply.Duetoacombinationofthehighproportionofsensitiveresourcescontainedwithinthesewatersheds,includingtheGermantownBog,largenumbersofseeps,springsandseasonalpoolsprovidingamphibianhabitat,highqualitymatureforestadjacenttoexistingparkland,goodwaterqualitythatisalreadydeclining,theMarylandUseIV-Pstatus,andthefactthattheseareasdraindirectlytoSenecalakewithoutanyinterveningregionalstormwatermanagementtreatment,theMilestoneTributaryandtheportionsofotherwatershedsdrainingtoSenecaLakeIntheNorthEndDistrictarethehighestpriorityforprotectionandrestoration.ContinueddegradationofthesewatershedsmayultimatelyimpairthefunctionofSenecaLakeasanemergencywatersupplyanddiminishitsrecreationalvalue.The
ChurchillTributary
alsodrainstoSenecaLakeviaLakeChurchill.LakeChurchillprovidessomemeasureofpre-treatmentforwaterqualitybeforethewaterreachesSenecaLake.Asnotedabove,SenecaLakeaugmentswatersupplyduringemergencylow-flowconditions.TheChurchillTributaryisaMarylandUseI-Pstream.UseIstreamsaredesignatedfor"watercontactrecreationandprotectionofnon-tidalwarmwateraquaticlife."DuetoitsdegradedconditionandthefactthatitdrainstoLittleSenecaLake,theChurchillTributaryshouldbeconsideredforrestoration.IntheNorthEnddistrict,wearerecommendingthata2S-acreareaofforestbedesignatedHighpriorityforretention.Thishighqualityforestisdominatedbymatureoakandbeechtrees.Theforestexhibitsgoodhabitatstructure,andisrelativelyfreeofinvasiveplantspecies.ItadjoinsthestreambufferofLittleSenecaCreekjustaboveLittleSenecaLakeandabutsBlackHillRegionalPark.Thisforestservesmanyimportantnaturalresourcefunctions,includingforesthabitatprovision,waterqualityprotection,airpollutionmitigation,energyconservation,andameliorationofgreenhousegasemissions.Inadditiontonaturalresourcefunctions,thisforestshouldserveasanamenityforlocalresidents,providingacool,shadyareaofoutstandingnaturalbeautyforwalking,birdwatching,andsimilarpassiverecreationalpursuits.AsmostofBlackHillRegionalParkliesnorthofLittleSenecaCreek,preservation

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