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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Gov. O’Malley recognizes Maryland horse farms for stewardship

By Whitney Pipkin, Bay Journal

August 19, 2013

Horses are a growing part of the Bay watershed’s agricultural landscape and a key component of any efforts to reduce water pollution coming from farms, as I wrote about in April. In Maryland, the horse industry is making a concerted effort to recognize horse farms that are stepping up conservation efforts on their land in hopes that others will follow suit.

And now the governor is recognizing those efforts as well. Gov. Martin O’Malley recently sent letters to 11 horse farms congratulating them on their participation in the Farm Certification and Assessment Program, developed in 2010 to acknowledge farmers who are good stewards of their natural resources.

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Waterkeepers Chesapeake seek to lessen impact of Conowingo Dam

by Michael Helfrich, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper

Conservation Groups Seek to Lessen Impacts of Conowingo Dam on Susquehanna River, Chesapeake Bay

The lower Susquehanna River hydro-dams produce low-pollution electricity, but that doesn’t mean they do no harm to the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.  The Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper has been working with scientists and other conservation groups since 2006 to find solutions to these impacts so that we can continue to produce efficient and clean electricity while reducing the damage done to our waterways, and reducing the amount of fees and taxes we are paying to try and clean up the Susquehanna and Chesapeake Bay.

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Wetlands are Life Support System

By Kathy Reshetiloff, Bay Journal News Service
July 18, 2013

Diversity is the spice of life. Nowhere is this more apparent than where land and water meet. The blending of terrestrial and aquatic environments creates a wetland, an ecosystem that often supports more life than either the land or water alone.

When thinking of wetlands, many people envision the marshes found mainly along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay and tidal portions of rivers. They recognize the value of these wetlands as spawning and nursery grounds for fish, shellfish and crabs. Waterfowl and wading birds nest and feed here.

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Red crabs could be seafood's next big thing


The cameras were rolling Tuesday when workers at a Hampton fish house wheeled a vat of glistening Chesapeake ray toward celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, who had come to Virginia for a taste of it.

The cameras weren't rolling a few minutes later when he put a forkful of Atlantic red crab meat into his mouth and proclaimed, "This is crazy good!"

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Eighteen Chesapeake Bay access sites open in 2012

July 9, 2013

Last year, Chesapeake Bay Program partners opened 18 new public access sites across the watershed, putting residents and visitors in touch with the rivers, streams and open spaces that surround the nation’s largest estuary.

Image courtesy John Flinchbaugh/Flickr

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To be safe, surf the Internet before swimming at the beach

Monitoring programs finding dangerous levels of bacteria in Bay and many of its rivers.

Bay Journal, July 04, 2013

Almost every weekend in the summer, sailboats crowd into the inlets of the Rhode River, just south of Annapolis. Teens cannonball off their bows, while younger children splash close to the beach. The grills come out, and the atmosphere is festive, like an ongoing sailing party.

Chris Trumbauer never wants to break up the mood. But as the Waterkeeper for the West and Rhode rivers, he questions whether these swimmers should be in the water — especially the day after a heavy rain. Have they covered up any cuts and bruises? Do they wash themselves off when they get out of the water? Are they aware that, on the hottest summer days, the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers resemble a simmering soup of bacteria, and contact with the water can lead to all sorts of infections?

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Like Watching Ospreys? Make It a Science


Photo by Jerry Hughes
June 7, 2013

You may have read in Bay Daily about the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Osprey Cam, a live, real-time webcast from a camera hovering over the nest of Tom and Audrey, a Maryland osprey pair. It’s a very cool, non-invasive way to watch the family life of some of the most spectacular birds in the world nesting right here in the Chesapeake Bay region.

And if watching Osprey Cam inspires you to learn more -- and do more -- about these fascinating Chesapeake Bay “fish hawks,” here’s the perfect opportunity:OspreyWatch.

OspreyWatch is a global community of volunteer osprey observers who get outside and document nesting osprey in their own part of the world, then submit notes, data, and photographs to the OspreyWatch website for all to study and share. It’s a program of the Center for Conservation Biology, a research group at the College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University.

According to its website, the purpose of OspreyWatch is to collect information on a large enough scale to be useful in addressing three pressing issues facing aquatic ecosystems -- global climate change, depletion of fish stocks, and environmental contaminants.

“Osprey are one of very few truly global sentinels for aquatic health,” says OspreyWatch. “They feed almost exclusively on live fish throughout their entire life cycle. They are a top consumer within aquatic ecosystems and are very sensitive to both overfishing and environmental contaminants. Nearly all populations breed in the northern latitudes and winter in the southern latitudes, effectively linking the aquatic health of the hemispheres. Their breeding season in the north is highly seasonal making them an effective barometer of climate change.”

Who knew these ubiquitous Bay icons are also “canaries in the coal mine” for global fish populations, environmental pollution, and climate change?

So in addition to enjoying the on-line family life of Tom and Audrey in Maryland, you can go outside and (respectfully and carefully) observe nesting ospreys in your own community and at the same time contribute to an important global science project.

To learn more and to sign up to become a volunteer for OspreyWatch, clickhere. Now get out there!

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Swim Guide 2013

West/Rhode Riverkeeper Launches Swim Guide Website and Mobile App for 2013 Swimming Season

CONTACT:     Chris Trumbauer, West/Rhode Riverkeeper
410-279-7577 or chris@westrhoderiverkeeper.org

May 23, 2013, Anne Arundel County, Maryland – For countless residents and visitors, Memorial Day signals the unofficial start of summer – and the summer swimming season. Getting information about the water quality of our local waterways has just become a whole lot easier with the launch of the Swim Guide, a new, free, smartphone app (available from App Store, Google Play, or www.theswimguide.org).

Provided and managed by member groups within Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of 207 water protection groups worldwide, the Swim Guide helps the user locate the closest, cleanest swimming area, view photos, and get the latest bacteria sampling data so they can determine if the water is safe for swimming.

The Swim Guide was first introduced last year and adopted locally by West/Rhode Riverkeeper and the South River Federation in Anne Arundel County. The Swim Guide is constantly growing and improving – this year the Assateague Coastal Trust joins the list of Maryland organizations and will include such vacation destinations as Assateague Island National Seashore and Ocean City.

"The Swim Guide gives our residents the information they need to make informed decisions about the health of our waterways in an easy, user-friendly application,” said Chris Trumbauer, the West/Rhode Riverkeeper. “Want to know the latest bacteria levels before you jump off of your dock? Now you can just check your smartphone. Empowering people with information will help build stewardship and awareness for our natural waterways.”

For the West and Rhode Rivers, Swim Guide utilizes water quality monitoring data from the West/Rhode Riverkeeper weekly monitoring program to determine the bacteria level at 14 locations representing public and private community swimming sites. The entire Swim Guide monitoring effort includes nearly 5,000 locations across North America with roughly 80 sites in Maryland and 30 in Anne Arundel County. Information is updated as frequently as the water quality information is gathered.

The innovative, free Swim Guide app also includes descriptions and photographs of beaches and employs a tool for citizens to report a pollution problem from their smartphone or through the website. The first 2013 results are now available, and will be updated weekly through the first week of September.

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West/Rhode Riverkeeper works to protect families and communities by stopping pollution. We strive for healthy and safe rivers and streams. We work together with communities to enforce environmental law, promote restoration, and advocate for better environmental policy. www.westrhoderiverkeeper.org 410-867-7171

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Southern Middle Students Plant 280 Trees in Galesville Park

Seventh-grade students planted tress on a half-acre of land in in Galesville Park on Friday.


Southern Middle School students were busy on Friday planting more than 200


About 50 seventh-grade students from Southern Middle School planted approximately 280 trees on a half-acre in Galesville Park. According to Joe Ports, a restoration coordinator, the goal of the project was to transform some un-utilized turf grass into a forested buffer to protect the nearby Lerch Creek that is a tributary of the West River.

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Recreational and Charter Blue Crab Regulatory Proposal

Maryland’s current recreational blue crab license structure has shortcomings which are recognized by crabbers, enforcement officers, and fishery managers alike. Recreational crabbers find it complicated and confusing.  Natural Resources Police have a hard time explaining its multiple catch limits and different gears to help crabbers understand and follow the rules.  And fishery managers do not have the information on recreational harvest needed to make management decisions.  The impact of the recreational blue crab license shortcomings also extends to Maryland’s budding eco-tourism industry and terrapin conservation efforts.

All these problems make it clear that something must be done.  Fisheries Service has identified a way to fix the problems by restructuring the recreational and charter crabbing license structure.  We have developed a draft regulatory proposal which simplifies the recreational crabbing license structure and modifies it to provide better estimates of recreational catch and effort. It would also implement a waterfront property crab pot license and mechanism to notify waterfront property owner’s with crab pots of measures to conserve terrapins. The proposal provides a crabbing charter decal to facilitate development of charter crabbing and eco-tourism businesses, and increases non-resident recreational crabbing license fees to address stakeholder concerns about congestion at boat ramps and on the water.

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