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: 443-758-7797  ♦  PO Box 172, Shady Side, MD 20764

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Pigs & Pearls 2017


pigspearls2017-foremail 1 

Contact: Jeff Holland, Riverkeeper / jeff@westrhoderiverkeeper.org  / 443-758-7797

What:    Pigs & Pearls

A mouth-watering fundraiser to benefit the West & Rhode Riverkeeper

Date:     Saturday, April 29, 2017

Time:     2 - 6 p.m.

Where:                   Pirate's Cove Dock Bar

4817 Riverside Drive, Galesville, MD 

Pirate’s Cove Restaurant hosts Pigs & Pearls BBQ and oyster roast to benefit the West & Rhode Riverkeeper

Pirate’s Cove Restaurant will host its second annual “Pigs & Pearls” BBQ and oyster roast to benefit the West and Rhode Riverkeeper on Saturday, April 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. The event, featuring live music by the Eastport Oyster Boys, will mark the official opening of the season at the Pirate’s Cove Dock Bar on Riverside Drive in Galesville.

“This is a fun way to celebrate spring and get a true taste of our local watersheds, with locally raised oysters and BBQ made from locally raised pork,” said Jeff Holland, Riverkeeper for the West and Rhode Rivers. “We’re blessed to have half a dozen watermen growing oysters in our rivers, and we’ll have an exhibit to explain why those oysters are so important to the health of our waters.”

"This is a great event to mark the opening of the Pirate’s Cove Dock Bar,” said co-owner Michael Galway. “And what better way to do that than with local oysters right from the West and Rhode Rivers along with Pirate’s Cove BBQ by Chef Steve Hardison. The Eastport Oyster Boys are perfect for this occasion –  a great fun day so try on your pearls and pig noses and join us to help raise funds for the West and Rhode Riverkeeper.”

Pirate’s Cove Chef Steve Hardison will serve freshly shucked and roasted oysters raised by local watermen on the West and Rhode Rivers, plus pulled BBQ sandwiches made from locally raised pork and served with two sauces, BBQ baked beans and homemade corn bread.

Holland, one of the founding members of the Eastport Oyster Boys, will sit in with the band as they perform their original Chesapeake-inspired “cruising tunes” along with Oyster Boy regulars Kevin Brooks, Tom Guay, Mike Lang and Andy Fegley.

Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 at the door. Kids 5 – 12 are $10. Kids 4 and under will be admitted free of charge. Admission includes 20 tickets that can be redeemed for freshly shucked West and Rhode River oysters, BBQ platter or regional craft beer. Tickets are available at Pirate’s Cove Restaurant in Galesville or online at http://www.brianborupub.com/gift-certificates.

Proceeds will help the West & Rhode Riverkeeper to preserve and protect the West and Rhode Rivers. The nonprofit group keeps the rivers clean through restoration projects; advocates for better environmental policies and enforcement of environmental laws; and keeps sewage from the rivers by providing pump-out service to recreational boats.


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New phone number as of March 1, 2017

As of March 1, 2017, we will cancel our underutlized land line. Do not call 410-867-7171.

Please call Jeff Holland directly at 443-758-7797.

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Legislative Update #1 2017

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The West & Rhode Riverkeeper is one of 19 independent RIVERKEEPER®, SHOREKEEPER®, COASTKEEPER® organizations partnering together under Waterkeepers® Chesapeake to follow legislation at the local, state and federal level. We are tracking bills in the interest of clean water in order to maintain and restore swimmable, drinkable, fishable waters in the Chesapeake Bay.

As the legislative sessions move along, we may want you to write your legislator to help us support specific bills. Be on the lookout for our legislative Action Alerts or subscribe to your local independent Waterkeeper lists to stay up to date on actions they are supporting.

Here's what's happening in Maryland:The state of Maryland’s General Assembly’s 90 day session meets January 11 to April 10.

Fracking ban. The current moratorium on fracking in Maryland will expire October 2017. A bill (Senate Bill 740) to ban fracking in the state of Maryland is working its way through the 2017 Maryland General Assembly. Send an email to your Maryland legislator today and tell them you support #cleanwater and want fracking to stay out of our state.

Septic regulations. The “On-site Sewage Disposal-Best Available Technology” (House Bill 281) is in the Maryland House of Delegates and is supported by Waterkeepers around the region. In August, Gov. Larry Hogan rolled back state requirements for new construction to use Best Available Technology (BAT) when installing new septic systems. This legislation would require new construction to use BAT in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal bays watershed (support).

Atrazine study. Atrazine is an herbicide widely used for weed control on farms, lawns, along roadways and golf courses. It is one of the most commonly detected chemicals in drinking water supplies and has been associated with adverse reproductive effects. A study would allow Maryland to collect data on usage (support).

Polystyrene phase-out bill (Senate Bill 186) would prohibit the use or sale of polystyrene food service products or loose fill packaging. Have you been to a citizen cleanup effort with any Chesapeake Bay Waterkeeper? If you have, you’ve probably bagged quite a few of these pieces, commonly known as styrofoam. The Baltimore Harbor Riverkeeper is working on this legislation to phase it out. With a decomposition rate of over 500 years, this is great news for the Bay, oceans and marine life (support).

Clean Water Commerce Act of 2017 (House Bill 417) The bill would take up to $10 million of allocated funding from the Bay Restoration Fund earmarked for specific wastewater improvement projects in urban areas and direct those funds to an undefined trading program, moving pollution around rather than reducing it (oppose).

Oysters. Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is working to ensure that oyster restoration and recovery work in the Chesapeake Bay continues. In 2016, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources halted oyster restoration work in the Tred Avon River, threatening federal funding for the project. While the state eventually allowed the work to continue, there have been ongoing threats to the continuation of oyster recovery work and habitat restoration (no legislation at this time).

Winter manure application. The Maryland Department of Agriculture recently changed laws that restricted the application of manure and fertilizers in the wintertime when the ground is frozen and plants aren’t taking up as many nutrients. Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is supporting a restoration of the manure rules (no legislation at this time).

Fair Farms, a Waterkeepers® Chesapeake campaign for food and farm sustainability is working on four bills this year:

  • The Keep Antibiotics Effective Act (Senate Bill 422) would limit the use of human antibiotics in farm animals that are not sick (support).

  • The Maryland Farm and Families Act (Senate Bill 278). This legislation would double the purchasing power of food-insecure Marylanders by increasing revenue streams through federal benefit programs for farmers at Maryland farmers markets (support).

  • The Food Donation Pilot Program (Senate Bill 416) would allow farmers to donate their leftover foods at the end of a farmers market and receive a tax credit in return (support).

  • Healthy Soils (not yet filed). This bill by Del. Dana Stein would provide incentives for farmers who farm sustainably in the state (support with amendments).

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Ride for the Rivers 2017

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What:              Fourth annual Ride for the Rivers

Metric Century Bicycle Ride or 40-Mile Ride to benefit the West/Rhode Riverkeeper

Discover the beauty of the watersheds of the West and Rhode Rivers (as well as the Patuxent River and Herring Bay), on this challenging ride through the rolling countryside of Southern Anne Arundel County and Northern Calvert County.

Proceeds help the West/Rhode Riverkeeper keep these rivers swimmable, fishable, crab-able and kayak-able.

Date:               Saturday, May 13, 2017

Time:              Registration @ 7 a.m.

                        Start @ 8 a.m.

Where:           Start/finish at Discovery Village

                        4800 Atwell Road

                        Shady Side, MD 20764

Registration Fee:       $50 includes logo-emblazoned T-shirt, logo water bottle and “Muddy Bottom BBQ” celebration.

The public is invited to join the cyclists at the “Muddy Bottom BBQ,” which runs from noon to 3 p.m., a riverfront celebration featuring live music, delicious food by Herrington on the Bay, great local Maryland beers, children's activities for the entire family and great people. Cost is free with each Ride for the Rivers registration, or $25 per person without registration. Children under are admitted 12 free. Tickets are now available at www.westrhoderiverkeeper.org.

To register:   


Contact:          Jeff Holland, Riverkeeper

West/Rhode Riverkeeper




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Chesapeake EcoQuiz Feb. 22, 2017



Click here for reservations.


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ChesaTreks Tour to Poplar Island

Tour Poplar Island

What:              ChesaTreks Tour to Poplar Island

When:              Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hours:             7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Cost:                $100 per person, including bus transportation and crab cake lunch at Character’s Bridge Restaurant, Knapp’s Narrows, Tilghman Island

Reservations required. Call 443-758-7797 or click on https://tinyurl.com/h8l6vco

ChesaTrekers to tour Poplar Island April 13

The West & Rhode Riverkeeper will lead a tour to Poplar Island on Thursday, April 13, as the first of new series of “ChesaTreks” adventures.

“This is a fun way to explore the Chesapeake Bay,” says Riverkeeper Jeff Holland. “We’ll host one new adventure every month, each one calculated to highlight an environmental or historical treasure. We’ll bring along an expert to educate a small group, take a tour by boat or kayak, and then savor the experience with conversation over some local food and drink.”

The first ChesaTreks adventure will be a tour to Poplar Island near Tilghman Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. “This was one of our disappearing islands,” Holland explains, “but it’s become a national model of environmental restoration.”

According to 1847 charts, Poplar Island was about 1,100 acres, but erosion and sea level rise washed away all but five acres by 1993. The Maryland Environmental Service essentially recreated the island using clean dredged material from the Port of Baltimore’s approach channels.

According to MES sources, the process involves placing, shaping, and planting some 40 million cubic yards of dredged material within a dike constructed to approximate the 1847 footprint. The first two phases of dike construction were completed by 2002, and dredged material placement began in 2001. In 2014, the project was authorized for a 575-acre expansion which is scheduled to begin as early as 2016 and will increase the total project size to 1,715 acres, allowing for a project placement total of 68 million cubic yards of material.

The restored island provides habitat for a wide array of birds, terrapins, and other wildlife. “Definitely bring your binoculars,” Holland notes. “This is a birder’s paradise.” The day’s schedule starts with a Lighthouse Limo ride from Discovery Village in Shady Side. The group will board the MES boat at Knapp’s Narrows to get out to the island. After the tour, lunch will be at Character’s Bridge Restaurant overlooking the Narrows. The menu includes crab cakes, rockfish sandwich or chicken Caesar salad and soft drinks. The limo will arrive back at Discovery Village at about 3:30 p.m.

The cost is $100 per person, including transportation (courtesy of Lighthouse Limos) and lunch. Proceeds help the Riverkeeper keep the West & Rhode Rivers fishable, swimmable, kayak-able and crab-able.

Reservations are required. Call 410-867-7171 or log on to www.WestRhodeRiverkeeper.org.

Details for Poplar Island Tour


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Limo bus picks up at Discovery Village in Shady Side at 7 a.m. and Shopper's Food Warehouse parking lot in Parole at 7:45 a.m.

Lighthouse Limo leaves 7 a.m.

Park at Discovery Village, 4800 Atwell Road, Shady Side, MD 20764

Pick-up at Shopper's Food Warehouse parking lot in Parole 7:45 a.m.

Park at the southeast corner of Shopper's Food Warehouse parking lot at the corner of Old Forest Drive and Old Solomons Island Road. 

Tour 9 a.m. - noon

Lunch: Noon – 1:30 p.m.

                Character’s Bridge Restaurant

Lighthouse Limo leaves Tilghman Island at 1:45 p.m.

                Arrives at Parole at 2:45 p.m.

                Arrives at Discovery Village at 3:30 p.m.

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Riverkeeper in the news

bge planting-3Published in the Annapolis Capital this week:

Projects aim to reduce sediment entering West, Rhode rivers

By Megan Brockett


West & Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc. and its partners are set to wrap up two streambed restoration projects this month that should lessen the amount of stormwater pollution entering the two rivers.

This week, contractors will put the finishing touches on a restoration project at Muddy Creek in Harwood, installing native plants there, West/Rhode Riverkeeper Jeff Holland said.

Work on the $118,625 project began in June, with the help of the South River Federation and contributions from Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), Holland said.

Water from the streambed, located on the southeast side of Warthen Drive, had been undercutting a landbank where a BGE pole stood, putting the pole in danger of toppling over and also sending sediment into the Rhode River, Holland said.

The restoration project included building about 300 linear feet of new stream channel and creating a wetland area. Holland said the water can now overflow into the wetlands instead of continuing to gouge out the landscape.

The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, funded the main part of the work.

Later this month, volunteers will help plant at the site of a restoration project in Shady Side's Avalon Shores community.

The work is aimed at addressing a ditch near the Avalon Shore fire station that overflowed during big rains, flooding some of the properties in the community and causing sediment to flow into the West River.

The $81,513 project eliminates about 2,000 square-feet of an unused asphalt parking lot and creates more than 4,200 square-feet of wetland to capture and treat stormwater from nearby impervious surfaces like the fire station parking lot and county roads, Holland said.

The project received funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, Unity Gardens and Patagonia.



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ABYC to donate new outboard for Giving Tuesday



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ABYC needs matching donations to provide new outboard for Riverkeeper patrol boat

The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) has joined #GivingTuesday, which is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to kick-off the holiday giving season. The ABYC Foundation is once again partnering with BRP Evinrude to give outboard engines to organizations in need. Upon necessary financial support, the nonprofit organization West & Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc. will receive the outboard for their official patrol boat. The Maryland-based organization is the only nonprofit group whose sole purpose is to protect the West and Rhode Rivers and keep the waters fishable and swimmable.

evinrude 75Jeff Holland, executive director and Riverkeeper, said that last year they were donated an 18-foot center console but today the outboard is beyond repair. The boat was used by a corps of citizen-scientist volunteers who use that boat to monitor water quality at 28 sites around the West and Rhode Rivers every week.

“A new engine will make all the difference for our small organization to get us back out on the water in the spring and for many seasons to come and keep our momentum going in our efforts to make the rivers safe for fishing, boating, and swimming,” said Holland. “The data gathered out on the boat helps to identify problems like stormwater runoff pollution or bacterial outbreaks that can harm kids and dogs swimming in the creeks.”

#GivingTuesday is part of the ABYC Foundation’s end of year campaign. Throughout December ABYC will also seek donations for classroom curriculum development for marine tech schools in need and Spanish translated study guides, opening up workforce development opportunities.    

To learn more and donate visit www.abycinc.org/foundation.

Since 1954, the nonprofit American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) has developed safety standards for boat design, construction, equipage, repair and maintenance. The essential global source of marine industry technical information, ABYC's product safety standards, credentialing, education, training, and other tools help members make boating safer.

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Annual Appeal 2016

We need your help now

We’re at a critical tipping point in the restoration of the West and Rhode Rivers. Our rivers are under constant pressure from pollution and development, but we’re making progress in improving water quality as measured by data gathered by our citizen-scientist volunteers.

We now need your help to keep that momentum going in order to protect your rivers, your investment in your property, your community and your family’s quality of life.

Protecting our rivers requires hard work and commitment. The West & Rhode Riverkeeper is the only organization solely dedicated to doing this work for our local waterways. We receive no operating support from the state or county, and we rely almost entirely on donations to make it possible for us to do this work for you.

This past year, support from our contributing members helped us protect our rivers by:

  • completing a stream restoration project on Muddy Creek that will keep sediment pollution from entering the Rhode River;
  • designing a stormwater treatment project at Holly Hill Harbor that will stop pollution in Bear Neck Creek;
  • creating a wetland to reduce flooding in properties in the Avalon Shores community and prevent pollution from entering the West River;
  • fighting illegal development near the Franklin Manor community in Churchton in partnership with SACReD and CBF. The pro-bono work by our attorneys to defend the Critical Areas laws in this case is worth more than $100,000 so far. Failure to win this case will open up shorelines around the Bay to other developers;
  • working with DNR and Anne Arundel County to expand public access to the water at Franklin Point State Park and Discovery Village in Shady Side.
  • all the while advocating for better environmental policies, helping to enforce environmental law, staging community-building programs, and keeping sewage from our rivers by providing pump-out service to recreational boats. 

We need your help now to continue our work to make our rivers fishable, crab-able and paddle-able. Please click here to make a secure donation on line. Thank you for your support!

Your Riverkeeper,


Jeff Hollanddonate-push-button


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Oyster spat pick-up postponed to Oct. 4

The pick-up slated for this evening for those participating in the Marylanders Grow Oysters program has been postponed to Tuesday, Oct. 4, 5 - 7 p.m.

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