Danette Machen defies anyone to claim that her decisions are being manipulated—or even influenced—by any outside entities. A Mathews native who grew up on an expansive East River farm that’s been in her family since 1867, Machen said her support of the land use policies contained in the comprehensive plan grew out of her own direct observation of the environmental degradation that has occurred in Mathews over her lifetime.
Machen remembers when workboats starting up at 5 a.m. were her alarm clock, and nobody minded it because "those were men going to work." She remembers when marsh grasses lined the shores of Mathews County and the water was clear and clean. A day spent treading for clams in Pepper Creek would yield 1,500 of the succulent shellfish, she said, and you could cast off your dock for speckled trout.
"You can’t do that now because the grasses are gone and that’s where the baby clams and the baby fish lived," she said. "The U.N. didn’t cause any of this. The U.N. didn’t even factor in to it."
Shoreline development with its runoff and inadequately maintained septic systems are contributing factors, said Machen, and "the local health department controls septic permits, not the U.N."