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Ten Mile Creek: Saving Our Last Best Stream

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Map of Proposed Development
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Your actions helped to give Ten Mile Creek a fighting chance in 2012 — when we won placement in the Planning Department's work plan of a Limited Master Plan Amendment for Ten Mile Creek— enabling Montgomery's planners to study the watershed and to recommend to the Planning Board and Council the best land use planning controls to protect the Creek, but the creek isn't protected yet — the Creek will have the best chance to be protected if you raise your voice again to ensure a sound, enforceable land use plan for the entire Ten Mile Creek watershed that will establish
  • Science-based limits on imperviousness and construction, and
  • minimum levels of forest cover.

A clear stream in a growing county

Just outside the boundaries of Clarksburg Town Center runs one of the healthiest waterways in the Chesapeake Watershed: Ten Mile Creek. A designated drinking water supply and trout stream, Ten Mile Creek flows steadily, clear and cold, and teems with fish, many different kinds of aquatic insects, salamanders and other life forms. But large commercial and residential development proposals threaten this creek and watershed. Like an artery carrying vital fluids to the heart, Ten Mile Creek may get clogged on its way to the Bay. But right now, today and tomorrow, Ten Mile Creek is delivering clean, healthy water to the Potomac and on to the Bay. ANS conservation associates are working hard to keep it that way.

Here's a map by Dolores Milmoe showing the developments threatening the health of this fragile resource.

ANS volunteers, led by Cathy Wiss, have been monitoring Ten Mile Creek in Clarksburg for 15 years, and they find an aquatic life community there that is uniquely diverse in Montgomery County.

Cathy Wiss and Keith Van Ness at Ten Mile Creek
ANS Water Quality Monitoring Program Coordinator Cathy Wiss and Montgomery DEP's Aquatic Biologist Supervisor Keith Van Ness at Ten Mile Creek in January 2013

biologistsStudying the creek and its inhabitants, January 2013

Check out our YouTube video!studentssignscrop

Message from Ann Smith,
President of Seneca Creek Watershed Partners, to the Chair of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, 4/24/13, with photos she took along Ten Mile Creek


Tim Goodfellow and I were stream wading for the DNR on Sunday, April 21, 2013, and we saw two trout swimming to the right of the first attached picture [above].

There were other features I photographed including very little bank erosion, medium sized rocks, and a wide stream bed. There were beech trees everywhere! It was very quiet.


I hope this helps you "see" why this is a good stream. Some facts are visually evident in a stream; we just have to acknowledge this in our analysis; the obvious stands out. Invertebrate testing is also a visual obvious. Healthier streams contain more sensitive species. The exact counts will be done by the State, and results will place this stream in an excellent, good, fair or poor category.

Thus far, Ten Mile Creek has been categorized in the good to excellent range (Tier 2) for stream invertebrates. We would like to keep it this way. It is so beautiful!

To learn more about issues facing the creek and its watershed, see