West and Rhode Riverkeeper

We work with our community to enforce environmental law, to
promote restoration, and to advocate for better environmental policy.
Contact us: 410-867-7171  ♦  4800 Atwell Rd, #6, Shady Side, MD 20764


Our Board of Directors is made up of members of our community who care about the West and Rhode Rivers. Our Board is guided by our current Strategic Plan, which was adopted in June, 2013.

Bob Gallagher, Chairman

Bob Gallagher founded the West/Rhode Riverkeeper organization in March 2005 after 35 years of practicing law in Washington, D.C. He served as Riverkeeper until July 2008 and then as Executive Director through 2009. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors, where he helps direct policy and guide the direction of the organization. He serves as a trustee of the Chesapeake Environmental Protection Association and sits on the board of directors of the Scenic Rivers Land Trust. He was appointed by the County Executive to the Maritime Industry Advisory Board and by the County Council to the Impact Fee Advisory Committee. He enjoys sailboat racing on the Chesapeake and lives with his wife, Cate, in Shady Side.

Virginia Clagett

Virginia served on the Anne Arundel County Council from 1974 to 1994, representing the South County area. She also represented District 30 in the House of Delegates from 1995 to 2011. She has served on the Severn River Commission, the Maryland Greenways Commission and the Board of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. She was appointed to the Critical Area Commission in 2011. Virginia lives on the Rhode River, and has been an active champion for the environment during her entire political career.


Dr. George L. Donohue

Dr. Donohue was granted the status of Professor Emeritus in December 2010 and has been a Professor of Systems Engineering and Operations Research in the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University since 2000. He has an MS and Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Oklahoma State University and a BSME from the University of Houston. He has also served as the Associate Administrator for Research and Acquisitions at the FAA, a Vice President of the RAND Corporation, a Director of the Aerospace and Strategic Technology Office of DARPA, a Vice President of Dynamics Technology, Head of the Advanced Technology Division and Head of the Fluid Mechanics Branch at the U.S. Naval Ocean System Center in San Diego California. He was Commodore of the Chesapeake Yacht Club in 2009 and is still an active sailor of his 12 meter sloop the S/V Ana G. George is currently conducting research on increasing the water quality of the West and Rhode rivers and lives in Churchton.

Mike Lofton

Mike was the founding CEO of the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation. He is also a former Deputy Secretary for the Maryland Department of Economic & Employment Development, and Executive Director of the Maryland Economic Development Association. Mike has a a BA Degree in Economics and a Certified Economic Developer (CEcd) from the International Economic Development Association. He is actively involved as a Trustee of the Chesapeake Environmental Protection Association and sits on the Council of Past Presidents for the Maryland Economic Development Association. Mike lives in Harwood and enjoys boating on the West and Rhode Rivers.

Ellen Ponder, Secretary

Ellen is a Senior Vice President for The Forum Corporation , a global consulting and learning organization. Ellen has worked with numerous leading organizations to help them implement critical organizational strategies. Ellen has previously served on community boards including The Children's Theatre of Annapolis . She is a member of the National Association of Female Executives and has participated, for many years, in the Executive seminars at St. John's College studying the Great Books. She currently serves as a Commissioner and the Chair of Public Outreach for the Anne Arundel County Commission for Women.  She lives with her family on the Rhode River in Edgewater .

Donna Schlegel

Donna is owner and manager of Chalk Point Marine and with her husband, Alex, operate Hartge Yacht Yard. Her boating background began in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska commercial fishing industry. In her twenty-five years of experience in marina and boatyard management, she has been an active supporter in the advancement of marine industry standards and safe boating practices. As a skilled seaman who has sailed upon most U.S. coastal and inland waters, she has also skippered and navigated numerous offshore passages and made landfall in several foreign countries. The Schlegels take great pleasure in living on the shores of West River.

Jennifer Steele, Treasurer

Jennifer is an Audit Director with Legg Mason, a leading global asset management firm based in Baltimore. Prior to joining Legg Mason in 2004, she worked as a manager in the internal audit consulting practice at Protiviti, and as an external auditor at Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young serving clients in a wide range of industries including non-profits. Jennifer is currently a Board Member for the Ponder Cove Beach Club in Mayo, Md. She grew up boating with her family and now enjoys exploring the Bay with her husband and two children. They reside in Edgewater along the Rhode River.

Tony Syme

Tony was a co-founder and President of NLX Corporation, a local technology-oriented systems integration company, specializing in the development and support of simulation and training systems for the military and commercial industries. Prior to joining NLX, Tony held management positions at Quintron Corporation, where he was responsible for the overall operational performance and technical direction of flight training systems on several USAF programs. When he’s not enjoying his waterfront view of the West River, he now spends his time as a technology business consultant. Tony lives in Shady Side.

John Van Alstine

John is a waterman who makes his living on the West and Rhode Rivers. He works alone on his 40-foot wooden boat, the Patricia Anne. John is the Director of Anne Arundel County Working Watermen. He fishes from the Potomac River to the Susquehanna Flats in the upper Chesapeake Bay. He lives on Church Creek in Galesville, where he sells oysters and crabs.

John Wyss

John is a partner at the Washington, DC law firm Wiley Rein LLP.  He has been with the firm since its founding in 1983 and represents and counsels clients in matters involving patent litigation, antitrust and trade regulation and general commercial litigation.  John and his wife, Joanne Comstock, have a home on the West River near Parrish Creek.  During the last several years, John has been working with SACReD and the Chesapeake Legal Alliance to prevent environmentally insensitive development in the Critical Area near Shady Side.

Tim Zimmermann

Tim is a Washington-DC based writer who also owns a home on the Rhode River. He is a Correspondent for Outside magazine, a former Senior Editor and Diplomatic Correspondent for US News & World Report, and author of The Race (Houghton Mifflin, 2002). Tim is an avid sailor, and enjoys writing about history, politics, and adventure.