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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Bay Survey

Please take 5 minutes for the Bay Survey

In partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust & OpinionWorks, the University of Maryland has launched The Bay Survey. 

This survey helps us understand how residents and businesses throughout the Chesapeake Bay area handle rainwater, vegetation, and other issues on their properties. 

Help out the West & Rhode Riverkeeper by filling out the survey online at www.baysurvey.org

Use the PIN: WRRK

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Franklin Point State Park clean-up

joeFranklin Point State Park clean-up

Saturday, July 25

9 a.m. - noon


Join our new corps of Franklin Point State Park volunteer rangers for this historic occasion as we set the stage to open this incredible 477-acre gem that's been locked behind a gate for the past two decades.


The West & Rhode Riverkeeper, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, will serve as the "Friends of Franklin Point State Park."


We need 15 stalwart volunteers to help pick up trash and debris -- be prepared for ticks and chiggers! We'll provide work gloves, snacks and beverages.


Please RSVP to royce@westrhoderiverkeeper.org or call 410-867-7171 to let us know you're able to help out.  

If you can't make it, but you'd still like to help, click here.

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West & Rhode Riverkeeper offers FREE stand-up paddleboarding lessons

sup class

West & Rhode Riverkeeper offers FREE stand-up paddleboarding lessons

Enjoy a free beginner’s stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) session at Discovery Village in Shady Side from 6 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 9June 28, July 28 and August 25.

The free SUP sessions have a value of $35. A suggested donation of $10 will help the Riverkeeper keep the rivers swimmable, fishable, crabable and paddle-able. Space is limited to 8 paddlers each session. Reservations are required. Call 410-867-7171 or send a note to Jeff@westrhoderiverkeeper.org.

The SUP sessions are provided by Chesapeake Paddle Sports founder Andrea Melbourne. Certified in Fitness Training, Yoga, Group Training and Paddling, Melbourne blends these complimentary skills with the growing demand for stand up paddleboarding fitness and training. More information on Andrea’s programs can be found at www.chesapeakepaddlesports.com.

This is a basic paddling technique class and the first step in learning proper technique. Learning proper technique is beneficial for many reasons including increased performance, preventing injury, making SUP a core workout and enhancing your enjoyment of SUP. During the hour lesson, students will learn proper paddling fundamentals in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

What to expect?

Andrea will lead drills to learn correct paddle height, hand position, stance and assess paddling technique. Learn the basic paddling strokes and skills. Students don’t move on to the next progression until they are comfortable with the current changes.

What is included?

The SUP Tech 1 Lesson includes the board rental, paddle, PFD, leash and guided instruction for technique. Enjoy a “Bonus” additional time to practice and tune the skills learned during the lesson with a one hour free rental paddle.

What to bring?

Wear comfortable clothing you can workout in and don’t mind getting wet. Water shoes are optional. Bring a towel, sunscreen and a water bottle.

What’ it cost?

Andrea is donating her services and the use of her equipment to benefit the West & Rhode Riverkeeper. This free session has a value of $35, but you’re welcome to give a $10 donation to help the Riverkeeper keep our rivers swimmable, fishable, crabable and paddle-able.


Discovery Village is located at 4800 Atwell Road in Shady Side, MD 20764.

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Thanks to you who gave greatly in the Great Give

hands2Thanks to you who gave greatly in the Great Give!


A total of 40 supporters gave a total of $5,445 in the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County's Great Give, more than FIVE TIMES last year's total.


All 10 of our Board of Directors participated in matching donations -- not dollar for dollar, but two dollars for every dollar donated.


We are building momentum in our efforts to make our rivers swimmable, fishable, crabable and kayakable.

Thanks for your support!

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Spring 2015 Call for Volunteers

wqvolThere are plenty of opportunities for you to roll up your sleeves and help us make the West & Rhode Rivers fishable and swimmable – not to mention crabable and kayakable.


We need help with events – the Ride for the Rivers on Saturday, May 9, and the RiverFest on Saturday, June 6. Contact our new Program Manager Eric Andersen at eric@westrhoderiverkeeper.org or 410-867-7171.


Project Clean Stream is on Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. to noon.  Join us and bring your friends to continue our clean up a stream in our watershed.  There is a lot to do, but every little bit helps! Contact Restoration Coordinator Joe Ports at joe@westrhoderiverkeeper.org or 401-867-7171.


We’re always looking to build our corps of citizen scientists who conduct our water quality monitoring program every Wednesday morning from 8am to roughly 11am starting May 6.  This is a great way to get to know your rivers from a new perspective, not to mention start your mornings off with a relaxing boat ride with some fellow lovers of our rivers. If you're interested contact Restoration Coordinator, Joe Ports at joe@westrhoderiverkeeper.org or 401-867-7171.


Starting in June we hold free kayaking events on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 5:30pm to 30 minutes before sunset.  This year we will also offer basic kayaking lessons thanks to Kayak Instruction and Tours.  We would love to expand this fun and relaxing program and offer a kayaking event every week, but for that we need your help.  If you have experience kayaking and boating, particularly on the West River, and are interested in volunteering to work this event then please contact Restoration Coordinator, Joe Ports, at joe@westrhoderiverkeeper.org or 401-867-7171.  There is also an opportunity for high school aged students with no kayaking experience to help carry kayaks to and from the water, if you know anyone that would fit for this job then you may also contact Joe Ports.



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Riverkeeper projects at Camp Letts help restore Rhode River

West/Rhode Riverkeeper and Camp Letts initiative wins Chesapeake Bay Trust award

February 12, 2015
E.B. Furgurson III, The Capital

When Andrew Mason arrived to take the reins at YMCA Camp Letts two years ago, plans were already afoot to check serious runoff from the camp's horse enclosure into the Rhode River.


Mason said he wasn't totally sold on the idea until the West/Rhode Riverkeeper helped him understand the benefits of the project for both the river and the camp's grounds.


Soon he was on board, and the partnership did not stop there. Now, the fifth major restoration project at the YMCA camp — building an 850-foot living shoreline at the tip of the camp's property on the peninsula between Bear Neck and Sellman creeks — is about to get underway.

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Franklin Point: Opening soon

Parkland saved from developers will allow rare water access

February 11, 2015

E.B. Furgurson III, The Capital


Nearly 20 years ago, south county residents stopped a 156-home development from gobbling up 477 acres of nearly pristine wooded land off Deep Creek and its marshy confluence with the Chesapeake Bay.


Now Franklin Point State Park is nudging closer to opening up to the public for the first time since the Maryland Department of Natural Resources eventually acquired the property from the stymied developer in 1999.


It has taken cooperation between activists, the Maryland Park Service and West/Rhode Riverkeeper to get it done.



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County to issue stormwater grants

CLICK HERE to read the full article

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Win for Deep Cove Creek!

*** A note from Chesapeake Legal Alliance Executive Director Jackie Gould***

Congrats to residents of Churchton, MD, South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development and the West/Rhode Riverkeeper in their defeat of an application for a variance to carve into one of the few pristine waterfront areas in Anne Arundel County, MD!
HUGE THANKS go out to John Wyss, Esquire and his law firm Wiley Rein LLP for their PRO BONO legal assistance over the years to these groups in their efforts to stave off harmful effects to their community and the Bay posed by the proposed development on the banks of Deep Cove Creek.  John’s unwavering dedication, tenacity, and wisdom are to be credited with this latest WIN and his other successes on this project. 
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Around South County: 200 trees -- and 100 stewards -- planted at Camp Letts

 Southern Middle School sixth graders, from left, Samantha Havanki, Kaylee O'Brien and Julia Markham were among more than 100 students planting 200 trees at YMCA Camp Letts, with the help of county Councilman Jerry Walker, state Sen. John Astle, Joe Ports, restoration coordinator for West/Rhode Riverkeeper, and Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. (Courtesy Photo, HANDOUT / October 16, 2014)
By Jerri Anne Hopkins, The Capital
November 12, 2014


  What was once an eroding horse pasture is now a forested buffer protecting the Rhode River from polluted stormwater runoff.

Recently, 100 students from Southern Middle School in Lothian planted more than 200 trees along the shoreline of the YMCA Camp Letts in Edgewater, transforming four acres of the camp's horse pasture.



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