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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Osprey Watch - BGE's Osprey Protection Program

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Osprey Watch – BGE’s Osprey Protection Program

BGE is committed to protecting the environment in our communities, and this includes the ospreys that return to the Chesapeake Bay region each March. Ensuring the safety of these birds around electric equipment is a top priority.

BGE utility poles are prime locations for osprey nest construction, but this is dangerous for the birds and can potentially create service reliability issues. Ospreys have caused more than 100 power outages since 2006!

We need your help to keep these birds safe, so in 2016 we launched a program called Osprey Watch. Through this program, customers who observe nests on BGE equipment can report the locations so we can protect the birds and continue to deliver electricity reliably and safely. 23 nests were reported in 2016!

How you can help – join Osprey Watch!

  • When you see an osprey nest on BGE equipment, email ospreywatch@bge.com with the following information:
  • If the pole is easily accessible, please send us the pole number, located on a placard near eye level on the pole.
  • If the pole is not easily accessible, please send us the nearest address to the pole and attach photos of the pole (taken from different perspectives if possible).

What happens next?

  • BGE adheres to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald Eagle Protection Act and has a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Utility Permit covering all work involving active nests.
  • If there are no birds or eggs in the nest, it will be removed or relocated.
  • If there are birds or eggs in the nest, shielding will be placed to protect both the ospreys and BGE’s equipment.
  • Once the nest is vacated for the year, it will be removed or relocated.
  • Deterrents will then be placed on BGE equipment to prevent future nests

Help us continue to improve the safety and reliability of electric service.

  • In 2016, the average number of interruptions was the fourth lowest rate in BGE’s history.
  • When customers did experience an outage, BGE restored power faster than ever before. The average length of a service interruption has been reduced by 49 minutes over the last five years.

Questions? Comments? Please email ospreywatch@bge.com.

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Trump budget kills Chesapeake Bay Program

Trump Budget Shuts Down Chesapeake Bay Clean Up

President’s proposed budget puts drinking water sources at-risk for 13 million Bay residents

(Annapolis, MD) – Today, the President has released his budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which recommends that the $73 million budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program be eliminated and shutdown.This would stop the clean up of Chesapeke Bay in its tracks and undo the tremendous progress we have made to date.

The budget also includes massive spending cuts for programs related to clean air and water, environmental justice, climate change, and other vital programs that protect our environment.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed is made up of a network of hundreds of thousands of rivers and streams, and are important sources of recreation, food, and drinking water for millions of people. Tens of thousands of members of the tourism and fishing industry depend on the Bay to provide for their families, with the Bay’s economic worth estimated at over $1 trillion. In addition, over 13 million people from six different states and the District of Columbia rely on the Bay’s rivers and streams to provide the water that they drink. The Chesapeake Bay restoration effort is not only about saving an iconic estuary, it is about protecting the water that residents depend on for life.

“The President’s proposed budget would mean an end to a coordinated Chesapeake Bay restoration effort,” said Hilary Harp Falk, Mid-Atlantic regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation and co-chair of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “With no federal funding for the Chesapeake, projects that are reducing flooding, improving communities, bringing back fish and wildlife, and cleaning drinking water will come to a halt.”

Bay Program funding supports on the ground restoration efforts that are improving communities and protecting local waterways around the watershed. The 226 organizations that make up the Choose Clean Water Coalition are just some of the organizations responsible for implementing these restoration projects, and with no funding, grant programs that help sustain and support critical work would disappear, leaving many organizations with little to no support to implement projects.

“Support from the Bay Program is essential to continuing to reduce pollution in our local rivers and streams.” said Chante Coleman, director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “With such a drastic cut in funding, some of the most basic needs that people and wildlife depend on, like clean drinking water, will be threatened.”

The Bay Program is a classic example of “cooperative federalism”, where federal agencies and states work collaboratively, with EPA providing critical resources and expertise to the states, who are ultimately responsible for cleaning their own waters. Just a few weeks ago, 17 members of the House, both Democrat and Republican, sent a letter to the President Trump requesting full funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program. The Coalition will work with Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to continue to push back on this proposed budget, and secure the essential funding that is necessary to return clean water to the Chesapeake Bay.                              

The Choose Clean Water Coalition, an organization that harnesses the collective power of more than 226 local, state, regional and national groups to advocate for clean rivers and streams in all communities in the Chesapeake region.

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Keep Antibiotics Effective

Good news: The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee has passed the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act on a vote of 7-4. Supporting the bill in Committee were Chairwoman Joan Carter Conway and Senators Paul Pinsky, Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, Cheryl Kagan, Barbara Robinson, Ron Young and Craig Zucker.

Later today, the full Senate is expected to begin debate on the legislation. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies with a global reach are in Annapolis trying to stop this bill dead in its tracks.

If you have not yet emailed your legislators, please do so here.
Even better, please call your senator. You can find contact info here: http://mdelect.net/

The message to your senator is simple: Please support SB 422, the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act, and vote against any amendments that would weaken it.

The Keep Antibiotics Effective Act has broad support among public health officials concerned about the threat of antibiotic resistance. In the United States, up to 70 percent of human use antibiotics are sold for use on animals. The bill will protect human health by ending inappropriate and unnecessary use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. The bill:

  • Bans the routine use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals that are not sick
  • Allows the use of antibiotics to treat sick animals, for medical procedures, and to control disease outbreaks
  • Requires the collection of data to track the administration of antibiotics in farm animals

Maryland would become the second state in the nation to prohibit routine antibiotic use in livestock. California passed similar legislation restricting use on farm animals in 2015.

Let's do this!

 

Mitchelle Stephenson
Campaign and Communications Manager
Fair Farms

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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 Issues, February 16, 2017

Currently there are 3 pieces of legislation that would directly impact the West & Rhode Rivers:

FORESTS

forestHouse Bill 599: Requires that any forest cleared above one acre be replanted at a 1:1 ratio. Currently, developers are only required to replant ¼ acre for each acre cleared.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Forests provide innumerable benefits to water quality, air quality, and habitat in our State. This legislation will help ensure that those benefits do not continue to shrink along with Maryland’s dwindling forest cover. At least 14 to 22 acres of forest are cut down or lost each day in Maryland—equal to at least 10 football fields of trees. That’s 5,000 to 8,000 acres each year. Tell your elected officials  to vote FOR House Bill 599 and "conserve the forests that are a vital protection and filter for the South River."

SEPTIC TANKS

failed septicHouse Bill 281: Requires that all new and replacement septic systems use the river-friendly Best Available Technology (BAT) to remove Nitrogen from septic effluent.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? In 2012, Maryland took positive steps to address septic pollution by regulation requiring BAT in all new systems. In the Fall of 2016, the Hogan Administration repealed this requirement, allowing an additional 28,750 pounds of nitrogen to enter groundwater and approximately 10,000 pounds/year to flow into surface water, fueling harmful algal blooms and dead zones throughout the State's waterways. Tell your elected officials to vote FOR Bill 281 to "support River-friendly septic tank upgrades!"

OYSTERS

oystersHouse Bill 924: Prohibits the opening of oyster sanctuaries to harvest before the completion of the Oyster Fishery Management Plan, which includes an oyster population study, due at the end of 2018.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? This is important because the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has discussed opening oyster sanctuaries to commercial harvest with watermen over the past several months.                              

Last year the Federation worked with other partners to pass the Sustainable Oyster Population and Fishery Act, which requires a robust, science-driven assessment of the oyster population in the Bay by December 1, 2018. Without completion of this study, DNR may open productive sanctuary areas to commercial harvest that are vital to a healthy oyster population and a healthy South River.

Tell your elected officials  to vote FOR Bill 924. Let them know "you support scientifically informed decisions over politically pressured reactions to oyster management." 

WE NEED YOUR HELP:

1) Contact your Representatives HERE!

2) Join us for the Rally for Maryland Forest Conservation on Wed., Feb. 22nd at noon at the Lawyers Mall, Annapolis.

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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

r4r 16-a

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:   

http://www.active.com/shady-side-md/cycling/races/ride-for-the-rivers-2017

Contact:          Jeff Holland, Riverkeeper

West/Rhode Riverkeeper

                        jeff@westrhoderiverkeeper.org                 

410-867-7171

           

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Chesapeake EcoQuiz Feb. 22, 2017

ecoquiz-fb

 

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

Schedule:

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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Them Eastport Oyster Boys reunion concert March 10

eob banner thank you-banner

 

Thank you to everyone who attended the Eastport Oyster Boys Reunion Concert and especially to our volunteers, our hosts, the West River Improvement Association, and Pirate's Cove Restaurant for making the evening a huge success!

More and 150 people attended the Eastport Oyster Boys concert at the Galesville Memorial Hall on Friday, March 10. The event raised more than $2,000 to help the Riverkeeper support the water quality monitoring program for the West and Rhode Rivers this coming season.

Riverkeeper Jeff Holland and fellow co-founder Kevin Brooks reunited for this special show along with current Eastport Oyster Boys Tom Guay, Mike Lange and Andy Fegley.  This special evening will be filled with Oyster Boy classics such as “Miss Lonesome,” “Good Hat, Good Dog, Good Boat” and “Subaquatic Vegetation,” along with a bushel basket of new songs inspired by life here on the shores of the Chesapeake. 

 

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