Chester River Annual Appeal

Our Annual Appeal supports our ambitious programs that improve the health of the Chester River. As documented in our Report Card, these efforts are slowly but surely improving Chester River water quality.  We would not be able to do what we do without your trust and generosity – thank you!

This year, we have some grand and important news, and we want to share it with our members first!

But first, let’s review what we’ve been able to accomplish together in 2017:

  • We launched a cutting-edge project with University of Maryland and 5 farmers to demonstrate on more than 500 acres a suite of practices that will increase nitrogen efficiency and reduce nitrogen fertilizer pollution.
  • We installed 27 acres of wetlands and 345 acres of native grass buffers on agricultural land.
  • We enhanced our water quality program by adding bacteria and submerged aquatic vegetation monitoring.
  • We ensured a better environmental outcome by intervening on multiple development projects.
  • We planted over 40,000 oyster spat for restoration.
  • We successfully advocated for legislation that protects oyster sanctuaries.
  • And much, much more…

Now for the big news…The Chester River Association (CRA) and two other Eastern Shore river advocacy organizations, the Sassafras River Association (SRA) and the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC), are merging to create ShoreRivers— a single, powerful voice for clean water on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

This decision has been thoughtfully and fully vetted by our Board of Directors and is a mission-driven decision that will allow us to improve the health of the Chester on a scale and scope that cannot be achieved independently.

We will increase our impact while maintaining our grassroots identity through our Chester Riverkeeper and staff, an active Chester River Watershed Board composed of CRA board members, and our devoted volunteer corps of Chester Testers and oyster growers.

The synergies created by this merger will strengthen our advocacy work and increase our influence locally, at the state level, and beyond. We will expand our restoration work with the agricultural community and land owners, increase the expertise of our water quality monitoring program, and introduce a robust education and outreach program into our community.

On January 1, 2018, the new organization – ShoreRivers – will be officially launched.  ShoreRivers will maintain CRA’s Chestertown office and regional offices in each of the other watersheds. ShoreRivers will have eighteen employees including four Riverkeepers, one each for the Chester, Choptank, the Miles-Wye, and the Sassafras rivers.

The ShoreRivers’ governing board is composed of members representing all three organizations – and I am honored to be serving as Chairman. CRA’s current Executive Director, Anna Wolgast, will be retiring and has generously agreed to join the board of ShoreRivers. Other changes include:

  • Current CRA board members Bob Ingersoll, Andrew McCown, and Toby Lloyd will join the ShoreRivers Board.
  • Current Chester Riverkeeper, Isabel Hardesty, will serve as ShoreRivers’ Regional Director for the Chester and Sassafras rivers.
  • Tim Trumbauer will be named Chester Riverkeeper. All other CRA staff will remain in place.
  • Jeff Horstman, MRC’s current Executive Director, will be named Executive Director of ShoreRivers. Jeff is a Washington College alumnus and has been a leading voice for clean water on the Eastern Shore for decades. 

All of our past and future success is made possible by your support. And your gift to CRA this year is more meaningful and will go further than ever before. Please remember us in your year-end giving, and support our reach into the future as ShoreRivers.  

All donations received through our Annual Appeal will be reserved specifically for our efforts to protect and restore the Chester River. We will be able to accept donations as the Chester River Association through 2018, and going forward you can direct your gift to the Chester River. Thank you!

With your help, and with this new, even stronger organization, we can continue to restore and protect the Chester River.  We hope you are as excited about ShoreRivers as we are.


Brennan Starkey

President, Chester River Association

Donations can be made here or by sending a check to:

400 South Cross Street
Suite 2
Chestertown, MD 21620

Thank you!

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