You guys need to read the information on the deed of the land to the state. It clearly states that the water over the land is a public waterway. So Hosemann is trying to turn a public waterway into refuge thus effectively cutting off access to the north end of the lake. So overall it appears the public will lose access to almost 3/4 of the public lake with this deal. I emailed the DEQ head last night, Gary Rikard email@example.com
, and he called me about 10 minutes later. He was not informed of it turning into a refuge when Hosemann asked him to draw out the banks for the property. He was told it only for tax purposes and for a Nature Conservancy Project. Gary also only drew the lines for the property involved and not the rest of the lake. He said in hindsight it should have gone through the commission and a public hearing to let both the public and landowners state their opinions on the natural banks and the commission draw the lines. He said he felt that the MDWFP did not have the authority to make it a sanctuary and if they did not he would rescind his opinion on where the natural banks were. If the MDWFP cannot make it a sanctuary the land goes back to the original owners. So there was no public hearing for this project at all. I started going through campaign contributors for Hosemann last night but you have to look at a crap ton of individual PDFs to get everyone's name. I would be willing to bet these two landowners as well as some others on the north end of the lake were contributors but no proof yet and likely hard to prove as they can funnel it through other people easily. Conspiracy aside if the state is able to take private land as a gift and use it to close off this public waterway what is to stop them from using this precedent to effectively cut off access to many other public lakes to benefit private landowners, friends, campaign contributors, etc??? This is a dangerous precedent! Even if the whole project including the weirs opens up more public land than this takes away giving the government a precedent like this is powerful for them and dangerous for us the public. Honestly I'm concerned everyone isn't scared to death of what might be happening.
And props to the Gary Rikard! There are not many Executive Directors of state agencies that will take the time to actually call concerned citizens back. He restored a little faith in our public servants.