I received the following email last evening.
The following very important message is sent to you from MD DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O'Connell:
A message from Tom O’Connell, Director of Maryland Fisheries Service
I am asking for your help to prevent changes that will shrink funds used by the Department of Natural Resources to conserve natural land in our state. Program Open Space was created 41 years ago to buy land for open space and recreation at a pace equal to development. This program is funded by a tax on real estate sales.
There has been a proposal from the Department of Legislative Services during this year’s legislative session to transfer Program Open Space funds to the General Fund and replace them with $50 million a year for the next several years. Land conservation ends up with less money under this proposal.
Conservation of natural lands is needed to keep water healthy for Maryland’s fisheries. Fisheries decline or disappear entirely in developed areas and I am concerned about how loss of natural land will degrade the chances for future generations to enjoy fish and fishing. These losses are growing as Maryland becomes more developed. There is great potential for future losses of treasured resources such as brook trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, herring, shad, and yellow perch to development without sensible land use planning and full funding for land conservation through Program Open Space. These losses will not just impact fishermen and people that eat local seafood, but will affect animals that use fish for food or share their need for healthy water.
We are asking Maryland’s fishermen to tell their House and Senate representatives that Program Open Space funding based on real estate sales should not change. Land purchases that help keep our waters healthy for fish and fishing need to be fully funded as they are in the Governor’s budget.
Letters may be emailed and should be addressed to:
The Honorable Adrienne A. Jones, Chair
House Appropriations Capital Budget Subcommittee
120 Taylor House Office Building
Annapolis, MD firstname.lastname@example.org
The Honorable James E. DeGrange, Sr., Chair
Senate Budget & Taxation Capital Budget Subcommittee
3 West Miller Senate Office Building
Annapolis, MD email@example.com
And there should be copies sent to the members of the two Subcommittees, as well as the Chairs of the full House Appropriations and Senate Budget & Taxation Committees. Their emails follow:
(Chair of the full House Appropriations Committee)firstname.lastname@example.org@email@example.com@firstname.lastname@example.org@email@example.com@firstname.lastname@example.org@email@example.com@house.state.md.us
(Chair of the full Senate Budget & Taxation Committee)firstname.lastname@example.org@email@example.com@firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also want to go to the General Assembly website to find your legislator as well: http://mlis.state.md.us/
. From here you can click on “Contact or Find a Legislator”.
Thank you for any help you can give us in keeping the dedicated funding for this valuable conservation program. Saving natural areas is the key to the future of fishing in Maryland.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Director, Fisheries Service
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401