Potomac Riverkeeper Network proudly announces a partnership-based effort to preserve the pristine nature of Savage River and its watershed. For over a year the Upper Potomac Riverkeeper has been working with the Mid-Atlantic Council Trout Unlimited and the Savage River Watershed Association. The focus of this effort has been to explore options and strategies for protecting the waters—and the way of life—that characterize the picturesque, wild, and winding Savage River in Western Maryland’s Garrett County.
To move forward with this effort, a community organization called the Savage River Wild & Scenic Work Group was recently formed. “Our goal is to develop a holistic management plan for the Savage River watershed that will preserve the natural wild beauty and maintain the pristine water quality for future generations,” said Upper Potomac Riverkeeper Brent Walls. “We have spent many months researching ways to coordinate and align all those with a stake in protecting the river, and felt that the Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program was a good fit because of the community-based approach,” continued Brent.
The Partnership Wild & Scenic Program, which is coordinated by the National Park Service, is based on a locally responsive, cooperative and collaborative process that reflects the specific characteristics of the river and surrounding communities. The program is paced slowly to allow time for careful consideration of all views and interests and typically takes three to four years to complete.
In keeping with the slow pace of the program, the first steps are very modest. They involve sharing information with the community and making a request to have a study done on the Savage River to determine if it is eligible and suitable for consideration as a National Wild and Scenic River.
“We really want to take our time in this process and are working to share information with key stakeholders and collect community input and feedback,” said Tom Wolfe, vice-president of the Savage River Watershed Association. “To help do this, we just mailed an information packet and short survey to all landowners who live right on or near the Savage River or Reservoir,” continued Wolfe.
The Workgroup is also planning to hold a public meeting by mid-November to talk about the Wild & Scenic Partnership opportunity and share the results of the property owner survey. In addition, the group recently launched their website. More information on the Savage River, the Wild and Scenic opportunity, and a link to the survey can be found at: www.thesavageriver.org.