ShoreRivers Presents the State of the Wye and Chester Rivers and Eastern Bay

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ShoreRivers will host the annual State of the Wye and Chester Rivers and Eastern Bay as well as the 2018 Report Card Release on Thursday, May 16, 2019. The event takes place in the Green Building of the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, at 600 Discovery Lane in Grasonville, Maryland. Doors open at 5:30pm, presentation begins at 6pm. ShoreRivers staff will report on the current state of the Wye and Chester Rivers and Eastern Bay. Admission is free and open to the public. Light fare and refreshments will be provided. The event is sponsored by Dock Street Foundation and The Easton Group and the Easton Branch at Morgan Stanley.

ShoreRivers welcomes and encourages the community to join this evening of conversation and informative discussion as it releases its 2018 River Report Card. The report card reflects data collected at nearly 200 sites by ShoreRivers’ scientists, Riverkeepers, and more than 100 volunteers in ShoreRivers’ water quality monitoring program. This is an opportunity for the community to learn about the health and challenges of our local waterways and how the most recent grades compare to previous years. This presentation will feature ShoreRivers’ Chester Riverkeeper Tim Trumbauer and Miles-Wye Riverkeeper Elle Bassett giving interpretations of 2018 water quality results.

Riverkeepers Zack Kelleher (Sassafrass), Tim Trumbauer (Chester), Matt Pluta (Choptank), and Elle Bassett (Miles-Wye).

“This is an opportunity for community members from these local watersheds to come together and learn more about what we can do as a group to improve our local water quality,” said Bassett. “Our goal is to clean our rivers, and we can only do that with the steadfast support of our members, volunteers, staff, and fellow river stewards.”

The Kent Island event will be the fourth of five ShoreRivers presentations throughout April and May, unveiling the results of extensive water quality monitoring. The final presentation of the series will take place in Betterton, Maryland, detailing the state of the Sassafras River. For more information, visit ShoreRivers.org/events or contact Julia Erbe at jerbe@shorerivers.org or 443.385.0511 ext. 210.

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.

ShoreRivers Presents State of the Rivers Benchmark

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ShoreRivers Director of Riverkeeper Programs Matt Pluta conducting water quality sampling.

With data collected by four professional Riverkeepers and nearly 100 citizen scientist volunteers, ShoreRivers is proud to present its annual State of Rivers Series and Report Card Release. A series of five presentations will feature water quality grades, regional trends and data points, and strategies and solutions to clean our rivers. Maryland’s Eastern Shore waterways are being choked with nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment runoff from both residential and commercial properties. Seasonal flares of bacterial contamination pose risks to human health. Water quality monitoring for these and other pollutants is a signature component of ShoreRivers’ operations and the only comprehensive testing of our local rivers currently being conducted. Learn about your river at the event near you in Cambridge, Chestertown, St. Michaels, Grasonville, or Betterton; details at ShoreRivers.org/events.

ShoreRivers Director of Riverkeeper Programs and Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta remarks, “Water quality monitoring programs are the foundation on which ShoreRivers bases our advocacy, restoration, and education work. These programs allow us to keep a vigilant pulse on our local waterways. We invite all of our volunteers, landowners, elected officials, and everyone who cares about our rivers to join us as we discuss the ways we can work together to achieve clean and healthy waterways in our region.” The 2018 Report Card encompasses four watersheds that span more than 1,650 square miles of the middle and upper Eastern Shore.

All events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. ShoreRivers appreciates its 2019 Marquee Sponsor, Dock Street Foundation, and 2019 State of the Rivers Sponsor, The Easton Group and the Easton Branch at Morgan Stanley. Thanks also to the individual event sponsors:Dukes-Moore Insurance Agency, Tow Jamm Marine Towing & Salvage, and Bayheads Brewing Company.

State of the Rivers presentations will be as follows:

Thursday, April 25, 5:30pm – State of the Choptank
Robbins Heritage Center, Cambridge

Thursday, May 2, 5:30pm– State of the Chester
Washington College Hynson Lounge

Friday, May 3, 5:30pm– State of the Miles and Choptank Rivers
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels

Thursday, May 16, 5:30pm – State of the Chester and Wye Rivers, and Eastern Bay
Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Grasonville

Friday, May 17, 5:30pm– State of the Sassafras
Betterton Volunteer Fire Hall

For more information, contact Julia Erbe at jerbe@shorerivers.org or 443.385.0511 ext. 210.

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.

shorerivers.org

ShoreRivers Receives $10,000 Perdue Foundation Grant for Conservation Drainage Program

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ShoreRivers received a $10,000 grant from the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation. Along with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Bailey Wildlife Foundation, this grant supports work to accelerate agricultural conservation drainage best management practices that improve water quality while sustaining or increasing crop production.

“This project represents the first partnership between ShoreRivers and the Perdue Foundation,” said Tim Rosen, director of agriculture and restoration for Shore Rivers. “New and diverse partnerships such as this help achieve water quality and agricultural goals aimed at creating a sustainable future for Delmarva.”

“At Perdue, we’re proud to join ShoreRivers in this new partnership that will help improve the Delmarva community and make local farms, including some of those farmers who raise poultry for Perdue and sell us their grain, more economically viable and environmentally sustainable,” said Steve Levitsky, vice president of environmental stewardship for Perdue Farms.

From L-R: Somerset County poultry and grain farmer Rantz Purcell, ShoreRivers Director of Agriculture and Restoration Tim Rosen, and Perdue Vice President of Sustainability Steve Levitsky. Photo by Bill See, Perdue

The Perdue Foundation was established by company founder Arthur W. Perdue in 1957 as the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms. It is funded through the estates of Arthur W. Perdue and Frank Perdue and provides grants on behalf of Perdue Farms in communities where large numbers of their associates live and work.

Conservation drainage is a selection of best management practices that allows for traditional agricultural drainage needed for production while also reducing nutrient and sediment pollution. ShoreRivers works with farmers on Delmarva to implement conservation drainage projects with the objective of installing demonstration projects that showcase how environmental and agricultural goals can be mutually met to maintain a healthy environment.

“The implications of this work have far-reaching, positive effects by allowing Delmarva farms to be more economically sustainable while addressing uncertain future weather conditions and improving water quality, thus creating a landscape that can be cherished for generations,” said Rosen.

Using the funding from Perdue Foundation, ShoreRivers has installed two projects in Dorchester and Somerset counties. In total, ShoreRivers will install seven conservation drainage projects on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware. Specific practices being installed are blind inlets, saturated buffers, water control structures, and new drainage tile designs for use with a drainage water management plan.

For more information about ShoreRivers’ conservation drainage programs, contact Tim Rosen at ShoreRivers at trosen@shorerivers.org or 443.385.0511 ext. 209.

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.

shorerivers.org

ShoreRivers Partners with Town of Templeville on Pond Restoration

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ShoreRivers has been awarded a $19,000 grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust to support the Town of Templeville’s restoration efforts at their town park by installing a denitrification wall around the north shoreline of the park’s pond.

In the past, the park and its pond were a gathering place and local fishing spot for town residents; but it has deteriorated over time. Unfortunately, the park area is now overgrown with invasive and nuisance weeds, and the increased load of nutrients has turned the pond eutrophic, or overly rich in nutrients. While discussing the current conditions, Mayor Helen Knotts said, “I remember when the neighborhood kids would fish and play in the park. The commissioners and I are very excited to work to restore the space as a great place for kids and families again.”

The town has a long-standing interest in returning the park to a suitable gathering place where local residents may once again spend time and recreate. In order to accomplish this, sources of nutrients must be reduced, and groundwater and surface water need to be better managed.

In 2017, the town was awarded a Chesapeake Bay Trust grant for community outreach and to design a plan to address the residential management of polluted runoff that affects the park. Town officials are currently working to secure funds to implement the practices identified in the plan. Meanwhile, ShoreRivers worked with Chesapeake Biological Lab (CBL) to test water and better understand the sources of nutrients that are impacting it. In 2018, researchers from CBL took water samples from several locations around the pond and tested them for sucralose. Also known as artificial sweetener and used in many diet foods consumed by humans, sucralose does not break down in the body or in septic systems. Therefore, the presence of sucralose in surface waters can be an indicator of domestic wastewater entering the pond.

An example of an installation of a denitrification wall similar to the one that will be installed around the north shoreline of the pond at Templeville park.

“Domestic wastewater is a threat to human and environmental health and can cause serious waterborne illnesses when people like fisherman, boaters, and swimmers come in contact with it,” says Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta. “We were excited to apply cutting-edge research on sucralose testing as a way to scientifically identify what is impacting the town pond and how it should be addressed.”

One solution that will be implemented is the installation of a denitrification filter wall, which will intercept groundwater and filter nutrients passing through. A four-foot deep and three-foot wide trench will be filled with local sawdust that acts as a carbon source to grow the bacteria needed to break down nitrogen in the water. Once installed, the wall is covered over with soil and planted with grass, resulting in an attractive camouflage of the wall. Only a handful of these practices have been installed in Maryland, with another having been installed by ShoreRivers on a dairy farm in Caroline County.

To kick-off these efforts, the town will host a volunteer cleanup of debris and overgrown vegetation in the park area. This cleanup will be part of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Project Clean Stream, and is scheduled for April 14 at 1pm. Contact the Town of Templeville Town Manager Cindy Burns at cburns@mrdc.netfor more information and to sign up.Other project partners include Caroline County, University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension, and local residents in Templeville.

To kick-off these efforts, the Town will host a volunteer cleanup of debris and overgrown vegetation in

For more information, contact Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta at mpluta@shorerivers.orgor 443.385.0511 ext 203.

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.

shorerivers.org

Boy Scout Takes on Oyster Restoration for Cleaner Choptank River

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Boy Scout Josh Newmier with Dr. Tony Calabro

ShoreRivers is pleased to announce another successful community outreach partnership. ShoreRivers teamed up with Josh Newmier, a high school student and member of Boy Scout Troop 190, to recruit oyster gardeners on the Choptank River and encourage more restaurants to recycle oyster shells. In the fall, Newmier approached ShoreRivers about an Eagle Scout project that would be meaningful and improve our local environment. After discussing the important role that oysters play by filtering water in rivers, and learning about the major challenges that the current oyster population faces, Josh decided to be a part of restoring the Choptank’s oyster population.

“Growing up on the Eastern Shore and hearing about the abundance of oysters 50 to 100 years ago as compared to now, motivated me to choose a project related to oyster restoration,” Newmier recounts.

Wasting no time, he began identifying and educating property owners and boat slip renters about the benefits of oyster gardening. As a result, 23 new oyster gardeners, including the J.M. Clayton Company, joined the Marylanders Grow Oysters (MGO) program. These new growers are currently growing over 12,000 baby oysters (spat) that will be transplanted to sanctuaries in spring 2019.

But the Boy Scout didn’t stop there! Knowing how important oyster shells are to restoration, while so many of them are discarded, Newmier recruited local restaurants to recycle their oyster shells. Every week, Newmier and his fellow scouts collect residual shells from participating restaurants—including Talbot Country Club, Snappers, Portside, Canvasback, and Jimmy & Sooks—and take them to shell recycling stations at Easton Point and Horn Point in Cambridge. From there, the shells go to the hatchery where they become substrate for spat used by the next season’s oyster gardeners. In a win-win scenario, Newmier has received a State of Maryland DNR Shell Recycling Collector certificate, which allows him to submit reports that qualify businesses to claim tax credits for recycling oyster shell.

“I think the first step in the oyster restoration process is awareness,” Newmier says. “Hopefully by engaging the community, we will help advance the process to recovery.”

Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta oversaw the project. “It’s great to see young people taking initiative like this. According to a recently released oyster stock assessment, there has been a 50% reduction in the Chesapeake oyster population since 1999. If we’re serious about cleaning up the Choptank, it’s going to take concerted efforts from every level.”

For more information about ShoreRivers’ Marylander’s Grow Oysters program, contact Rebecca Murphy at rmurphy@shorerivers.org or 443.385.0511.

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.

shorerivers.org

Washington College Names Jeff Horstman To Board

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Jeff Horstman, Executive Director of ShoreRivers and a lifelong advocate for environmental conservation and sustainability on the Eastern Shore and Chesapeake Bay, will join Washington College’s Board of Visitors and Governors.

Horstman, who studied political science at WC, is married to Beth Church Horstman ’80, a former member of the President’s Leadership Council. Their daughter Nielly is a 2010 graduate of the College.

“Washington College has done so much for me, our family, and the region, and I am excited and proud to be selected to the Board of Visitors and Governors,” Horstman says. “I want to bring any talent or service that I can to help the College continue producing the next generation of environmental leaders.”

The former Executive Director of the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy and the Miles-Wye River Riverkeeper, Horstman oversaw the merging of the Sassafras and Chester river associations and MidshoreRiverkeeper Conservancy into ShoreRivers, a regional environmental group dedicated to protecting and restoring the rivers of the Eastern Shore. At ShoreRivers he directs the advocacy, education, agricultural, restoration, and Riverkeeper programs that promote a vision of clean waterways across Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Before devoting his career to environmental protection and restoration, Horstman had more than 30 years in the financial services industry. He and his wife built a pension management company, which he sold to Susquehanna Bank, staying on in the role of COO of Retirement Plan Services. Previously, he was President of Pension Benefits, Inc. & Abacus Advisors.

Horstman grew up in Queenstown, and while at Washington College worked for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources helping integrate Wye Island into a state holding. While a student, he helped cut and clear the many trails and paths that people now enjoy at Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area, where he still regularly walks and bikes.

His deep connections to the Wye River go back to his family, which donated major tracts of land along the river that became the Aspen and Wye Institutes, the University of Maryland Agricultural Research Center, and the Wye Research and Education Center.

Horstman is a former board member of the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Harry Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology at Wye Institute. He currently serves on the boards of Waterkeepers Chesapeake and the Delmarva Land and Litter Challenge, and is a member of the Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition. Horstman also serves on the advisory board of the Aspen Wye Fellows and the Chesapeake Bay Conservation Corps.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 39 states and territories and 25 nations.With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Nick DiPasquale, former director of EPA Bay Program, has joined ShoreRivers

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Nick DiPasquale, former director of EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, has joined ShoreRivers as its Policy Advisor. Nick will work to elevate ShoreRivers’ mission for clean Eastern Shore waterways through State and regional advocacy efforts.

“We are delighted to have Nick joining ShoreRivers as a policy adviser,” Jeff Horstman, executive director of ShoreRivers, stated. “He has enormous experience and expertise in Chesapeake restoration issues and will add great value, strengthening our analysis and voice. His hire underscores the vital importance that ShoreRivers places on policy change.”

“I am thrilled,” Nick summed up, “with the opportunity to be working with ShoreRivers, an organization that is doing incredible work to reduce pollution and promote sustainability on the Eastern Shore.”

Nick served as the Director of the Chesapeake Bay Program from August, 2011 to December, 2017. The Program coordinates and provides administrative, technical, management and financial support for the overall Bay watershed restoration effort, and is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement and the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, ensuring the six states and the District of Columbia meet their pollution load reduction targets.

Nick has over 35 years of public policy and environmental management experience in both the public and private sectors. He previously served as Deputy Secretary for Air, Waste & Radiation Protection in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Director of the Environmental Management Center for the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania; and, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Nick worked for 6 years in the private sector as a senior consultant on environmental and ecological restoration issues with an environmental engineering consulting firm in Delaware. He also served as the Director of Waste Management and Water Pollution Control Programs for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and as a Research Analyst with the Missouri House of Representatives.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from the State University of New York, and a master’s degree in Energy and Environmental Policy from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Nick retired at the end of 2017 and lives in Chestertown, MD with his wife Becky and their two dogs.

ShoreRivers Pumpout Boat Has Best Season Yet

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Pumpout boat captain Jim Freeman. Photo courtesy of CBMM

ShoreRivers is pleased to announce that its pumpout boat had its most successful season this year. The vessel was acquired in 2016 with funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in conjunction with the Clean Vessel Act administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. It continues to operate with funding from DNR.  The pumpout boat operates from May through October offering free service on the Miles and Wye Rivers. The boat pumped over 8,500 gallons in 2016 and over 12,000 gallons in 2017. ShoreRivers exceed its 2018 goal by pumping over 15,000 gallons of waste, reaching the final numbers during Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s annual Oyster Fest on October 27.

The pumpout boat operates in partnership with Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels. CBMM donates free dockage, storage, and use of their land-based pump-out station to offload the waste from the boat. The sewage waste removed from boats then goes directly to the St. Michael’s wastewater treatment plant.

ShoreRivers’ pumpout boat works to reduce nutrient pollution and harmful bacteria that can be introduced from recreational boaters’ waste. In an effort to assist local boaters committed to more river-friendly boating practices, the pumpout boat is a convenient way to properly dispose of waste rather than discharging it into our waterways.

“We are thrilled to have met our goal for this third season of the pumpout boat,” says ShoreRivers Miles-Wye Riverkeeper Elle Bassett. “This vessel directly supports our vision of healthy waterways on the Eastern Shore. We extend our special  appreciation to Capt. Jim Freeman for expertly operating the vessel and to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for their continued support in our efforts to achieve healthier rivers. I’m looking forward to setting a new record in 2019!”

“Preserving the Chesapeake Bay’s environment is key to helping fulfill the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s mission; so this project is very close to our hearts,” says CBMM president Kristen Greenaway. “CBMM is very grateful for the opportunity to work with ShoreRivers and the pumpout boat, and to see that the effort is increasingly making such a difference in removing waste from the bay is extremely heartening.”

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.

For more information about the pumpout boat, please visit shorerivers.org or call 443-385-0511.

ShoreRivers Presents 9th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival

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ShoreRivers is pleased to host its 9th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Friday, November 16, 2018. The festival showcases communities and individuals engaging with issues surrounding their environment. This year the festival will be comprised of eight films highlighting the beauty of our Earth and the work many communities are doing to protect it.

The event will begin with a pre-movie cocktail party at 5:00 pm at the Tidewater Inn, where premier ticketholders will enjoy delicious appetizers, a full open bar, exclusive silent auction items, and an opportunity to donate to the ShoreRivers “Oysters for Education” program. Premier ticketholders also receive reserved seating for the film presentation.

Still image from Protected: A Wild & Scenic River Portrait (2018)

The event continues at the newly renovated Avalon Theatre for the film portion, which begins promptly at 7:00 pm. Film-only ticketholders will enjoy open beer and wine bars, captivating short films, and an evening with friends.

Film festival schedule:

Cocktail Party – 5:00 pm Tidewater Inn
101 East Dover Street
Easton, MD 21601

Film Program – 7:30 pm Avalon Theatre (doors open at 7:00)
40 East Dover Street
Easton, MD 21601

The film festival Title Sponsor is BB&T, along with other community supporters and film sponsors. A full listing is available on the ShoreRivers website, shorerivers.org.

Information and tickets are available on the Events page of the ShoreRivers website, shorerivers.org. For more information, please contact Julia Erbe at jerbe@shorerivers.org or 443-385-0511.

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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