Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo posted below about what to do with the County’s maple trees on the Port Swiller Manor street front.

And what shows up in his mailbox yesterday? A flyer from the County’s Land Development Services Department warning that Port Swiller Manor may sit on or near a Resource Protection Area.

Coincidence? I think not!

The RPAs are regulated areas stretching out 100 feet from streams, rivers, and shorelines within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. You’re not supposed to remove any growth, even dead growth, within them, nor are you supposed to clearcut to create lawn. (It’s actually a sensible conservation measure of which Ol’ Robbo approves.)

I’ve often mentioned here the little creek that runs past the Port Swiller Manor back fence. It’s a very small tributary of a moderately larger run that eventually dumps into the Potomac. The RPA comes close to our property line but doesn’t actually cross it. (Would that it covered the trees out front!) Over the years, I have maintained the ground closer to the creek, but only to the extent of cutting the grass in what is already open area and gathering downed deadwood into neat piles. Well, and I also dump all the various waste from the yard back under the trees. Hopefully, they can’t get me for that. (Honest, officer, I was composting!)

The other side of the creek is a big chunk of woodland within our neighborhood which was originally zoned for a school. Due to one thing and another, the school never got built (and never will). Every now and again, a developer tries to get the plot rezoned in order to build moar McMansions and the neighborhood organizes to fight it, so far successfully. We knew the risk of this when we moved in but we also figured the creek and its RPA would save us from having to look at the back of some hideous new pile were a zoning decision ever to go the other way.

So the flyer really didn’t tell me anything I don’t know already. But it did come with a link to a neat-o interactive County map laying out elevations, watersheds, RPAs, and property lines. I’ve been playing happily with it this morning. (I did not know there is a “Pope’s Head Creek” in the County. I’ll have to look a bit further for the origins of that one, as a 5-minute Bing search provides no enlightenment.)