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  ♦  jeff@westrhoderiverkeeper.org

Warning: Parameter 3 to mb_videobot() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/vhosts/65/261698/webspace/httpdocs/westrhoderiverkeeper.org/components/com_myblog/libraries/plugins.php on line 138

Warning: Parameter 3 to mb_videobot() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/vhosts/65/261698/webspace/httpdocs/westrhoderiverkeeper.org/components/com_myblog/libraries/plugins.php on line 138

Warning: Parameter 3 to mb_videobot() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/vhosts/65/261698/webspace/httpdocs/westrhoderiverkeeper.org/components/com_myblog/libraries/plugins.php on line 138

Warning: Parameter 3 to mb_videobot() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/vhosts/65/261698/webspace/httpdocs/westrhoderiverkeeper.org/components/com_myblog/libraries/plugins.php on line 138

Warning: Parameter 3 to mb_videobot() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/vhosts/65/261698/webspace/httpdocs/westrhoderiverkeeper.org/components/com_myblog/libraries/plugins.php on line 138

Warning: Parameter 3 to mb_videobot() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/vhosts/65/261698/webspace/httpdocs/westrhoderiverkeeper.org/components/com_myblog/libraries/plugins.php on line 138

Warning: Parameter 3 to mb_videobot() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/vhosts/65/261698/webspace/httpdocs/westrhoderiverkeeper.org/components/com_myblog/libraries/plugins.php on line 138

Warning: Parameter 3 to mb_videobot() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/vhosts/65/261698/webspace/httpdocs/westrhoderiverkeeper.org/components/com_myblog/libraries/plugins.php on line 138

Warning: Parameter 3 to mb_videobot() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/vhosts/65/261698/webspace/httpdocs/westrhoderiverkeeper.org/components/com_myblog/libraries/plugins.php on line 138

West and Rhode Riverkeeper Blog

A short description about your blog
Feb 25

Contractor Workshop

Posted by Jeff Holland in Untagged 

march 23 cblp contractor workshop flyer 1

Feb 12

Commission nixes controversial Critical Area project in south county

Posted by Jeff Holland in Untagged 

Commission nixes controversial Critical Area project in south county

Published in the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018

By E.B. Furgurson III

Maryland’s Critical Area Commission has effectively halted a controversial south county waterfront development and ordered Anne Arundel County to correct problems in its program to enforce Critical Area development rules.

The commission voted Wednesday to make the county correct deficiencies in its planning and zoning procedures that allowed the preliminary approval of the previously denied project along Deep Cove Creek in Churchton.

In a letter to the county, the commission also said any approvals granted under the part of the program deemed to be deficient are “null and void.” That seems to include the 2016 conditional approval for the Turtle Run at Deep Cove project.

The project seeks to transfer the building capacity from several parcels around Deep Cove Creek to allow 11 homes on one lot, not connected to the others, in the most protected land of the Critical Area — the Resource Conservation Area, or RCA.

The RCA rules were written in the 1980s to curtail damage to land 1,000 feet from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and say only one house per 20 acres is allowable in the RCA. The lot in question is 40 acres.

Earlier project denials by the county first cited the 1-per-20 rule; then in 2012, it said the plan to transfer development rights was not allowed in the county’s code.

Then in 2016 the county reversed itself.

It approved Turtle Run’s sketch plan after finding an obscure definition of development “site” in the state’s law governing stormwater regulation. That definition allows a group of parcels under the same ownership to transfer density to another parcel.

That approval was immediately appealed by the West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development and several individuals. The case is still being heard after 24 Board of Appeals hearings on the matter. Four more hearings are scheduled next month and potentially more into July



Jan 25

In Memory of Nicholas Schlegel, Jr.

Posted by Jeff Holland in Untagged 

Nick SchlegelNicholas George Schlegel, Jr. passed away suddenly at his West River home on January 7th 2018. He was 72 years old. Nick was born in Washington, DC on May 30th, 1945 to Nicholas George Sr. and Elsie (Hartge) Schlegel of Chalk Point. He was a graduate of Southern High School, Class of 1963. Nicholas studied engineering at University of Virginia before joining the family business, Hartge Yacht Yard, from 1965 until his passing. Nicholas married his wife, Nancy (Stewart), on May 30th 1981. Together they raised three sons; Nicholas III (Skipper), Erik, and Max. He is also survived by his sister, Elsie Whitman, brother, Emile (Alex), daughter-in-law Michelle, and two grandchildren, Ryan and Nicole. Nick's life revolved around the water. Growing up on West River, his childhood was spent sailing and racing on the bay with siblings, cousins, and friends. Nicholas would go on to compete in the Newport Bermuda races; racing day and night the length of the Atlantic coast. He would later race Chesapeake 20s at regattas on both sides of the bay with his wife and sons as crew. Later in life, Nick would regularly compete in the Wednesday night races with his sister on M'Luv, the Tartan 27 that once belonged to their parents. Nicholas will have a family service at Christ Church of West River (220 Owensville Rd West River, MD 20778) on January 27th at 2pm. A public Memorial/celebration of life will be held on April 7th at the West River Sailing Club in Galesville at 4:30pm. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the West/Rhode Riverkeeper, PO Box 172, Shady Side, MD 20764, or call Riverkeeper Jeff Holland at 443-758-7797 to make a donation by credit card. Thank you to all who have helped and supported the Schlegel family through this difficult time.

Jan 25

In Memory of Claudia McQueeney

Posted by Jeff Holland in Untagged 

mcqueeneyClaudia Elizabeth Skinner McQueeney, 74, of Shady Side, Maryland, passed away in her sleep on December 29, 2017. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, James, of 51 years. She is survived by two sons, Ryan and his wife Jen of Edgewater, MD, and their children, Madison, Molly, and Masey; and Chris and his wife Sara of Edgewater, MD, and their child, Ryley; her sister, Sylvia Davis of Oreland, PA; her brother Hank Skinner and his wife Carol of Alexandria, VA; her sister Linda Barber and her husband Bob of Churchton, MD; and many other relatives and friends. Claudia enjoyed a long career in the marine industry including working at Shipwright Harbor Marina and Galesville Harbor Yacht Yard where she developed enduring friendships with her beloved boatyard customers as well as industry partners. Claudia was called "Oma" by her grandchildren, who were the light of her life. She loved being with family and friends, going out to eat, and traveling. Family and friends are invited to a celebration of life on Saturday January 13th from 2-5pm at Pirates Cove Restaurant in Galesville, MD. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the WestRhode Riverkeeper, Inc. PO Box 172 Shady Side, MD 20764 or call Riverkeeper Jeff Holland at 443-758-7797 to make a contribution by credit card. 

Dec 27

Happy New Year!

Posted by Jeff Holland in Untagged 

cheston creekI've just completed my fourth year of service as your Riverkeeper, and I'm filled with hope for another successful year ahead. This will be a year of outreach. We're teaming up with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to engage every one of the homeowners' associations along the Rhode River. We'll be providing educational programs and working with students from Southern High School to build our Marylanders Grow Oysters project. Eventually, we'll be planting oyster spat on three new small demonstration oyster beds we'll be creating on the bottom of the river. 

We'll also be producing a series of summer concerts in local neighborhoods, and of course, we'll be reprising our popular Ride for the Rivers event in September. Each of these events serves as an opportunity to have fun and learn how we can all become better stewards of our rivers.

The good news is that we're making a difference. Our report cards have improved every year, from a "D" when I started to a solid "C" this past season. And we've had schools of dolphins and flocks of pelicans to affirm that we're doing a good job in our quest to make the rivers fishable and swimmable. You can't ask for better referrals!

Please join me this Saturday for a bird walk at Franklin Point State Park, led by my friend, photographer, writer and poet Dotty Holcomb Doherty, and don't miss the concert on January 27 in Galesville. My old pal Janie Meneely and her partner Rob van Sante will be coming over from Yorkshire to share their music of the Bay and Beyond, and my new friends Rich Elmquist and Hugh Cassidy will perform with me to open the concert. Janie and I will share some songs from our Crab Alley days as well. It should be a magical evening!

As always, thank you for your continued support. We can't do all we do without you.

Your Riverkeeper,



Dec 27

Bird Walk at Franklin Point State Park

Posted by Jeff Holland in Untagged 

dottyBird Walk at Franklin Point State Park

Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017

8 - 10 a.m.


Join the West & Rhode Riverkeeper this Saturday at Franklin Point State Park for a bird walk with nature photographer and writer Dotty Holcomb Doherty (left). You might have read Dotty's articles on birding and farming in the Bay Weekly and What's Up? Annapolis and Eastern Shore. Dotty will lead a bird walk with the Riverkeeper at Franklin Point State Park on Saturday, December 30, from 8 to 10 a.m.

The park trail runs about a mile and a half along the edge of a salt marsh, through meadows and pine forest, each area providing habitat for a variety of species, from song birds to geese and swans and even American Bald Eagles.

The program is free, but the group size is limited, so reservations are suggested. Reservations can be made by emailing Riverkeeper Jeff Holland at jeff@westrhoderiverkeeper.org or by calling 443-758-7797.

The entrance to Franklin Point State Park is located at the end of Dent Road off of Shady Side Road. The park is open year-round from dawn to dusk.

Feb 24

Scouts clean up Franklin Point State Park

Posted by Jeff Holland in Untagged 

Many thanks to the 13 Scouts and eight adult Scout Leaders from Troop 422, Annapolis, MD, who swept through the woods at Franklin Point State Park in Shady Side on Saturday to clean the trash from proposed hiking trails. In three hours, they removed every trace of trash and junk deposited in the trail areas over at least three decades.  Although bagging trash and dragging tires out of bogs isn't normally thought of as an inspiring activity, the Troop's organization, leadership and enthusiasm for the task, in addition to producing an outstanding result, was an inspiration.

The Scouts collected about 20 full “yard trash” bags of garbage (mainly glass and plastic containers), several pieces of scrap metal, some scrap wood  and about ten tires.   After the cleanup was complete, they took some time at the canoe launch site for a “Philmont” style lunch and a “Leave no Trace” training session. West & Rhode Riverkeeper volunteer Mike Shay provided a brief history of the park.

Join us for the park's "Season Opener" on Sunday, March 20, as part of the Maryland Day festivities. 

Jul 24

Franklin Point State Park to open

Posted by Jeff Holland in Untagged 

fpsp-aerialTo move forward with the great news reported in the Capital's recent series, "Shifting Tides," I'm happy to tell you about the West and Rhode Riverkeeper's new partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to dramatically expand Anne Arundel County's access to our waterways. 

Franklin Point State Park was saved from development by a group of gallant citizens nearly 20 years ago. But because of budget and staff capacity constraints, it’s been locked behind a gate ever since. This 477-acre tract is an astonishing jewel – pristine tidal marsh opening up onto the Chesapeake Bay on the Shady Side peninsula, forest and marshes teeming with more than 100 species of birds, from the American bald eagle to the endangered black rail – a birder’s paradise.

And for paddlers, a soft kayak, stand-up paddleboard and canoe launch will provide access to Deep Creek and a winding channel through the marsh to the open Chesapeake Bay. Eventually, miles of trails will provide opportunities for exploration by boot and bike.

This Saturday, dozens of volunteers will be there to clean up the site of what will become a passive day use area. Access will be through a system used successfully at nearby Jack Creek Park – another area the Riverkeeper was instrumental in opening to the public. You’ll call or log on to a web site to get the current combination to the padlock on the gate and let yourself in and out.

With the urging and guidance of the Anne Arundel Water Access Committee, the the Riverkeeper organization signed on as the de facto “Friends of Franklin Point State Park.” With the Riverkeeper’s support established, the DNR, under the leadership of Steve McCoy, head ranger at Sandy Point State Park, has been proactive in demolishing old structures on the site and cutting brush to make room for parking and people.

Riverkeeper volunteer rangers will provide regular patrols to monitor the park against litter and other unwelcome activities. We’ll also conduct programs and events to introduce the public the park’s natural assets.

We’ve been proactive in meeting with neighbors and hearing their concerns. As one nearby long-time resident said, “We welcome visitors – but when you open an area to use, you also open it to abuse.” Riverkeeper volunteers will serve as the park’s eyes and ears, while the Natural Resources Police will provide effective enforcement. Our goal is to open this astonishing new recreational opportunity to the citizens of Anne Arundel County with a minimal negative impact on the quality of life of our neighbors.

Members of that same citizens group that won that battle against developers 20 years ago are still active as Riverkeeper volunteers. They’re seeing their vision coming true, thanks to this new partnership between DNR and the West and Rhode Riverkeeper.

I’m proud to have served as a catalyst for this new project, and as an avid bird-watcher, fisherman and paddler, I can’t wait to launch one of the vessels in my large fleet of small boats and explore this pristine site. I hope to see you out there.

The park will open in August, as soon as the Park Service has ironed out the entry system. Meanwhile, if you’d like to join our stalwart band of volunteers, or if you’d like a personally conducted tour – call me at 410-867-7171 or write me at jeff@westrhoderiverkeeper.org.

You can make a secure donation on line by clicking here.

See you out there! 

-- Jeff Holland, West & Rhode Riverkeeper

Apr 08

A Riverkeeper looks at 100

Posted by Jeff Holland in Untagged 

After 100 days on the job, I can honestly say that I have never been more excited in my life. Every day I'm awash with the beauty of these rivers -- the eagles, geese, osprey, diving ducks -- there are even bluebirds that hang around outside my office window just in case I'm ever tempted to succumb to glumness. 
But most of all, I continue to be more and more amazed as this astonishing opportunity I've inherited from Chris Trumbauer. I get to see his projects and visions come to life through this organization's volunteers, board of directors and most of all, the dedicated staff who make miracles happen every day. 
Just this past week, I got wet, cold and muddy along with 300 sixth graders from Southern Middle School, planting 300 trees on two acres of hillside to create a forest buffer between the Camp Letts horse pasture and the banks of the Rhode River. 
Thanks to the hard work of our Restoration Coordinator Joe Ports, our Chesapeake Conservation Corps volunteer Sam Hartman, and our Program Coordinator Amy Colhoun, we partnered with the crew of Camp Letts and Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center to create not just a new forest, but also 300 new stewards of the Bay. 
Take a look at this slide show and see the mud on these hands and faces and the look of joy in these eyes. These same eyes will see a Bay that's swimmable and fishable, with water clean and clear enough to count the crabs and oysters thriving on the grassy bottoms of the Rhode and West Rivers. These kids are the true riverkeepers. I just enjoy the privilege of working with them, with this great team and with all the many partners who so whole-heartedly support our collective mission.
We've got some excitement planned for the next 100 days as well. Check out the spring events page and come out with us and pick up trash along Muddy Creek Road or at Hot Sox Field in Galesville, spread some mulch at the Carrie Weedon Center or explore the watersheds by bike on the Ride for the Rivers in May. But certainly bring the family to Discovery Village for the River Fest in June. 
There are lots of ways to catch the excitement and see what fun you can have making a big difference for these beautiful rivers we hold so dear. Can't wait to share that with you.