Are Our Waters Safe for Swimming?

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After regretfully canceling the inaugural Maryland Freedom Swim on the Choptank River in May, ShoreRivers is continuing to work toward swimmable rivers that are regularly monitored for harmful bacteria. In addition to the 15 existing sites being monitored on the Chester and Sassafras Rivers, ShoreRivers has added four new monitoring sites on the Choptank, Miles, and Wye Rivers.

The strain of bacteria sampled, Enterococci, indicates pathogens that may cause human illness. This bacteria can originate from a variety of sources, including failing septic systems, sewer overflows or leaks, poultry, livestock, and pet waste. During significant rainfalls, the possibility always exists for elevated and unsafe bacteria levels. As a general precaution, be sure to avoid water contact for 48 hours after profuse rain events or any time if you have an open cut or wound. Always shower after swimming.

ShoreRivers works toward swimmable rivers by regularly monitoring for harmful bacteria. Photo credit: Sam Morse

ShoreRivers monitored sites include:

Choptank River
• Bill Burton Fishing Pier
• Oxford Strand on the Tred Avon River

Wye River
• Drum Point Beach on Wye Island

Miles River
• Miles River Yacht Club

Chester River
• Duck Neck
• Morgan Creek
• Rosin Creek
• Chestertown at High Street
• Chester River Yacht and Country Club
• Rolphs Wharf
• Camp Pecometh
• Langford Bay
• Grays Inn Creek
• Conquest Beach
• Corsica River Yacht Club
• Centreville Wharf

Sassafras River
• Georgetown Bridge
• Dyer Creek
• Indian Acres

ShoreRivers will test these sites weekly throughout the swimming season until Labor Day. Results will be posted on SwimGuide, a website (theswimguide.org) and smart phone app that allows users across the Chesapeake Bay region to check the health of local swimming beaches. Additionally, Shorerivers’ Riverkeepers will post the bacteria results on their social media pages for local beaches. Follow the Chester Riverkeeper, Choptank Riverkeeper, Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, and Sassafras Riverkeeper on Facebook for updates. You can also follow the hashtag SwimmableShoreRivers.

For more information, please visit shorerivers.org or call 443-385-0511. Here’s to a great, safe summer enjoying our rivers!

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

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