Boy Scout Takes on Oyster Restoration for Cleaner Choptank River

Share

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

Share

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

Share

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

Share

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

Share

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.

ShoreRivers Adds Three to Staff

Share

ShoreRivers is pleased to announce three new additions to its staff.

Josh Biddle is ShoreRivers’s new Agricultural Specialist. Biddle is an Eastern Shore native who grew up on a farm between Denton and Ridgely, where for the last 15 years, he has worked in his family’s greenhouses growing flowers. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Salisbury University. For the past two years, he has been employed as a Soil Conservation Technician at the Talbot County Soil Conservation District working with a number of state and federal conservation programs, and assisting in the planning, design, and installation of a variety of best management practices throughout the county. Biddle will be working with state, federal, academic, and farm partners to apply agricultural conservation projects within Eastern Shore watersheds. Along with Director of Agriculture and Restoration Tim Rosen and Restoration Specialist Josh Thompson, Biddle will assist in ShoreRivers’ expanding agricultural project work, including conducting outreach within the agricultural community to promote conservation programs and encourage responsible and river-friendly farming all across the Eastern Shore.

Julia Erbe has joined ShoreRivers as Development and Events Coordinator. A lifelong Marylander, Erbe attended Washington College and went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Goucher College. “Ever since my time studying at Washington College, the Eastern Shore has been my place of solitude and comfort,” she says. “It makes perfect sense that I would find myself back here, working for such an amazing organization that I respect so highly. I am honored to join this passionate, hard-working group of like-minded individuals, and I am eager to contribute to their important work.”

Josh Biddle, Agricultural Specialist; Julia Erbe, Development and Events Coordinator; Rachel Plescha, 2018-2019 Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer

Erbe will be working on many events throughout the region to help educate local communities and raise funds to support ShoreRivers’ programs and mission. Her local ties, environmental background, and experience will bring tremendous help to support the organization’s mission throughout the region.

Rachel Plescha is the new 2018-2019 ShoreRivers Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) Volunteer. A native of Oviedo, Florida, she recently graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Environmental Policy with a minor in Economics. She will take the place of the 2017-2018 CCC Volunteer, Rebecca Murphy, who is staying on with ShoreRivers as Education and Outreach Coordinator.

ShoreRivers has participated in the CCC program since 2012, hosting 11 volunteers, several of whom have become permanent staff members. The CCC program is funded through the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Plescha made ShoreRivers her first choice from over 70 other competing nonprofits in the Bay area. She explains, “I am looking forward to learning about how the community plays a role in shaping positive outcomes for environmental health. I am most excited to work with the agricultural and community outreach programs. I have always been interested in the connection between the food we eat and our environment, so much so that I even worked on an organic farm for a few months! I am excited to meet new people and help them realize their connection to the land around them. I cannot wait to move to the Eastern Shore and experience the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay in person!”

ShoreRivers Executive Director Jeff Horstman says, “With ShoreRivers’ expanding role and growth, these talented and passionate young people will bring energy and enthusiasm to our efforts toward healthy waterways across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We are happy to welcome Josh, Julia, and Rachel to our team!”

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 Awarded 2.2 Million Dollar Grant

Share

At the end of June, ShoreRivers was awarded a $2.2 million dollar grant from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to support ShoreRivers’ regional agricultural restoration work. The grant will fund projects in the watersheds of the Bohemia, Sassafras, Wye, and Choptank Rivers. Together these projects will prevent over 14,200 lbs. of nitrogen, 740 lbs. of phosphorus, and almost 270 tons of sediment from entering Eastern Shore waterways.

A treatment wetlands system helps maximizes nutrient removal.

The new grant funds will pay the construction costs for:

• An ecologically engineered design that will stabilize excessive gully erosion that has resulted in a ravine adjacent to Kings Creek in Talbot County; it will create a wetland and grassed buffers, and restore 1380 linear feet of stream and agricultural ditch.

• A treatment wetland system and stormwater retention ponds at the bottom of four agricultural drainages and above a natural stream. The project is designed to maximize nutrient removal at the top of the watershed of Little Bohemia Creek in Cecil County and it will create almost six acres of wetland and three acres of stormwater ponds.

• Stormwater ponds and over eight acres of lined treatment wetland to treat 33 acres of dairy farm operations and several hundred acres of row crop land that is irrigated with lagoon effluent from a Kent County dairy in the Sassafras watershed.

• Completing restoration of a 1,000-linear-foot traditional agricultural ditch into a two-stage ditch with wetland benches on a grain farm on the Wye River in Talbot County.

This grant signals the effectiveness of ShoreRivers’ new combined capacity to implement regional projects on a large scale throughout the Delmarva peninsula. ShoreRivers is a certified Technical Service Provider for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and is engineering and implementing innovative pollution reduction projects cooperatively with the agricultural sector to restore and protect Eastern Shore rivers.

ShoreRivers is honored that the Department of Natural Resources supports the pollution- reducing projects that ShoreRivers is implementing in communities across the Eastern Shore. Other traditional bay funders and strong community support enables ShoreRivers to attract this type of significant outside grant funding for clean water.

For more information, visit shorerivers.org or contact Director of Agriculture & Restoration Tim Rosen at 443.385.0511 or trosen@shorerivers.org.

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

Are Our Waters Safe for Swimming?

Share

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.

ShoreRivers Honored with Prestigious Environmental Award

Share

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters announced this week that it would honor ShoreRivers this year with its prestigious John V. Kabler Memorial Award, presented annually to Maryland’s most outstanding environmental leaders and organizations.

Past recipients have included such noteworthy environmental champions as Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen, former Maryland Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, former Maryland Governor Harry R. Hughes, and former Maryland DNR Secretary John Griffin.

ShoreRivers protects and restores the waterways of the Eastern Shore and the living resources they support. The organization was formed January 1, 2018, from the merger of three river-protection organizations, and now serves Delmarva from Cecilton to Cambridge, representing rivers and watersheds draining to the Chesapeake Bay.

Photo: Front row, L-R: Elle Bassett, Jeff Horstman, Tim Trumbauer, Suzanne Sullivan, Tim Junkin, Kristin Junkin, Matt Pluta; Back row, L-R: Kristan Droter, Isabel Hardesty, Laura Wood, Tim Rosen, Ann Frock, Kim Righi, Emily Harris, Emmett Duke, and Rebecca Murphy.

“As ShoreRivers, we are a powerful voice for clean water with a dedicated team of staff, board members, and volunteers,” said ShoreRivers Executive Director Jeff Horstman. “We are having a greater regional impact in advocacy, restoration, and education. We are honored and thankful for the recognition the Kabler Memorial Award brings to our work for healthier waterways and for all the great work the Maryland League of Conservation does for the environment.”

ShoreRivers employs 18 professionals including four Riverkeepers, scientists, educators, policy advocates, lawyers,and restoration specialists who work from offices in Easton, Chestertown, and Georgetown, Maryland. Its work is supported by over 3,500 community members and families and engages over 1,000 students and volunteers each year. The organization works at every level including policy and legislative advocacy, regulatory enforcement, agricultural outreach and restoration, education, oyster repopulation, and community engagement to improve our rivers.

The award ceremony will take place Tuesday, October 9 at the Westin Annapolis, located at 100 Westgate Circle, beginning with cocktails at 6pm, followed by dinner and program at 7pm. For program details or to sign up as a sponsor, contact Karen Polet Doory at kdoory@mdlcv.org or 202-281-8780.

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.