The Choptank River
The largest of the Chesapeake’s Eastern Shore rivers, the Choptank winds for 68 miles from its non-tidal, freshwater beginnings in Delaware and Caroline County, Maryland to its brackish mouth, over a mile wide, spanning from the tip of Tilghman Island in Talbot County, to the southern crook of Cook Point in Dorchester County. Wild and isolated in part, bordered by marsh in some places, by old-growth forests in others, mother to countless lesser rivers, coves, and creeks, home to an amazing abundance and diversity of life, the Choptank, nonetheless, is out of balance—excessive nutrients from fertilizers and animal waste have led to eutrophication, over-enrichment, too much nitrogen and phosphorous leading to algae growth, dark water, dying grass beds, insufficient oxygen.
ShoreRivers with its Choptank Riverkeeper and team of scientists, restoration specialists, educators, and policy advocates, and with its volunteers and galvanized communities, is working to reverse decades of declining water quality in the Choptank. In recent years we have seen a resurgence of grass beds, improved water clarity, thriving oyster sanctuaries, and many other encouraging signs that the river is responding. There is more to do, of course. But in concert with our communities, ShoreRivers will relentlessly pursue its vision of a healthy, restored, and protected Choptank River.