The Nanjemoy Marsh Sanctuary, a tract of about 60 acres near Friendship Landing in western Charles County, will be permanently protected under a conservation easement donated by the Southern Maryland Audubon Society, which owns the marshland.

The easement was a gift to the Conservancy for Charles County, the only private, nonprofit land trust in the county, and the Maryland Environmental Trust, a statewide conservation organization.

The Audubon Society "has been a wonderful steward of the sanctuary for years and will continue in that role," said Vivian Mills, president of the conservancy. However, she noted in a statement announcing the gift, if for some reason the group had to sell the land, "future owners will be bound by the restrictions in the conservation easement. They could not disturb its natural state by building, for example, on its banks or by removing its buffer of natural vegetation."

The marsh, visible from the shoreline of the county park at Friendship Landing, is used by migrating birds and is visited regularly by great blue herons from the nearby Nanjemoy heronry. Mills said the conservancy is working toward additional protection of the marsh through a second easement covering the forested land that borders it.

Better Jobs Could Limit Commuting

Not surprisingly, the results of last summer's survey of Charles County commuters adds more evidence to support one of this year's major local economic themes: The county needs more higher-paying jobs.

In the unscientific survey, the county's Economic Development Commission, with the help of the Planning, Research and Grants Office at Charles County Community College, asked commuters why they drive somewhere else to go to work. The survey's questionnaire also sought to inventory commuters' job skills and expertise, with an eye toward determining what kinds of jobs the county would need to keep some commuters at home.

Nearly half of those who responded said they work outside the county because "the jobs in the county just do not pay enough," as one of them put it. Employee benefits also play a role, the survey found, with many saying that jobs outside Charles County offer more and better benefits.

If they could find the same combination of salary and benefits here, the overwhelming majority--86 percent of those responding--said they would work here. So, what specifically would it take to keep them closer to home, the survey asked.

About one-third said a salary in the range of $30,000 to $45,000. But 16.1 percent said they would need more than $75,000 a year to match what they get outside the county.

Two-thirds of those answering the survey were married with two children living at home. The single most important thing they said they would gain if they no longer commuted to jobs outside the county was more time with their families.

In a statement released at last week's economic summit, the commission said the survey results "suggest that the EDC may consider directing its attention to attracting large businesses that are heavily dependent on a large number of well-trained and experienced administrative employees." As examples, it cited credit card billing and processing firms, all types of insurance processing centers and similar businesses.

Stinnett Asks Peers for Respect

Calvert County Commissioner Barbara A. Stinnett (D-At Large) says she sometimes feels like she gets no respect.

At least that was the gist of remarks the commissioner issued during her allotted report time at Tuesday's meeting.

Stinnett chided fellow board members for slighting her in a local newspaper article and for repeatedly interrupting her during meetings. While Stinnett asked questions during a presentation earlier in the meeting, Board President Linda L. Kelley (R-Owings) cut her off mid-sentence. "I was speaking," Stinnett replied hotly.

"If it happens again," Stinnett declared later, "I will call a point of order."

The commissioner, already upset over that exchange, also referred to an article about the Chesapeake Beach land swap proposal in the Calvert County Recorder in which Commissioner David F. Hale (R-Owings) was quoted as saying, "I have two commissioners, Stinnett and Kelley, who are against this proposal no matter what." Stinnett asserted Hale's possessive wording was offensive.

"None of us are subservient," Stinnett said, apparently objecting to Hale's phrase "I have two commissioners."

Hale said the remarks he made were not intended for publication.

"I can understand why she would be upset," he said. "But there's no intention on my part to paint myself or anybody else as first among equals. We are a board of five."