Thanks to the County Council for passing Bill No. 15-12, Modifying Permitted Uses in Waterbody Buffers.
Sponsored by Council Member Jerry Donald, the bill prohibits impervious surfaces, open shelters, and pole structures in waterbody buffers, and stipulates requirements that must be met for trails, roads, and utilities to be located in buffers. Better protection of the county’s waterbody buffers has many benefits including:
• Improved infiltration, which is key to replenishing ground water supplies;
• Moderation of water temperatures to support fish habitat, especially for trout;
• Improved water quality as pollutants are filtered;
• Reduction of erosion as runoff from development is slowed; and
• Avoidance of costly restoration projects that never fully repair the damage from pollution, erosion and loss of forest.
Recognizing these benefits, the Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance in 2008 that provided strong protections for waterbody buffers. Unfortunately, the ordinance was significantly weakened in 2013. We are pleased that the Council has improved protections.