Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Flood Control or Navigation Improvement?

While searching through the Acts of the General Assembly for the State of Maryland, I came across a law (Laws of 1864, Chapter 299) authorizing the Charles County Commissioners to raise up to $600 through a levy (tax) to pay for "opening and straightening of a stream, at Port Tobacco, known by the name of Port Tobacco Run."

I haven't found a record of the discussions or of the original petition...yet...that explains this act. I suspect it was part of the effort that led to the construction of the 'canal' at Port Tobacco, a ditch of undocumented size that probably dates to the 1870s and that likely was constructed to facilitate drainage and to make dry land where previously there was swamp.

Pete and I also noticed while sifting through the Wearmouth collection at the College of Southern Maryland that there are reports by the US Army Corps of Engineers (12/21/1882 and 1/26/1897) and the Coastal & Geodectic Survey (1903; now the US Geological Survey) on Port Tobacco Creek and the Potomac River, respectively. Next time we are at the College (hopefully later this week) I plan to review these reports and see what might be learned about the sedimentation of Port Tobacco Creek.


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