Photo Contest Through October 31!

photo contest.png

Entries welcome from Aug. 1 – Oct. 31, 2019
Winners announced: Dec. 1, 2019

ShoreRivers wants to share your photos! If you have captured images of science or stewardship in action, restoration, local wildlife, or your family and friends (human or animal) enjoying the waterways we protect, we want to see them!

Images selected need to represent your visual interpretation of ShoreRivers’ mission to preserve and protect Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, outreach and education, restoration, and stewardship.

Use of photos

  • Contest winners will be featured at our State of the Rivers events.

  • Selected images will be shared through our social media pages, annual newsletters, River Report Cards, and other periodic publications.

  • All images selected for publications will include photographer credit.

 How to Participate

  • Images must be taken in the Chester, Choptank, Miles, Sassafras, or Wye rivers or Eastern Bay.

  • Photographers can submit a maximum of 3 photos.

  • Email one photo at a time to photo@shorerivers.org.

  • The email subject line must include the name of the watershed captured: Sassafras, Chester, Miles, Wye, Choptank, or Eastern Bay. For example: Photo contest-Sassafras.

  • Images should be attached the email, not pasted into emails.

  • Images must be at least 72 dpi. This is standard to iPhones and Androids. Maximum file size 3 MB.

  • Image file names must be in this format: PersonName-River-img title.jpg. For Example, JohnSmith-Miles-Boating.jpg

  • Please provide any additional information in the email message.

 Important Information

  • The photographer retains all rights to the submitted image.

  • The photographer certifies that all necessary releases have been obtained.

  • Photographers grants to ShoreRivers a three year non-exclusive right-to-use for the submitted image.

  • ShoreRivers shall deliver to the photographer an in-kind donation receipt for images used.

  • ShoreRivers shall not transfer images to any other organization or person.

  • Should ShoreRivers receive a request for use of an image it will refer the request to the photographer.

  • ShoreRivers is not responsible for any tampering with this contest (e.g., hackers, viruses, automated entry devices, and other). ShoreRivers reserves the right to terminate or modify the contest at any time in case of technical failures or other issues outside of its control. ShoreRivers also reserves the right to disqualify anyone who violates these Official Rules.

Druid of the Chesapeake

Hope springs eternal in the persistence of Nick Carter

Chesapeake Bay Magazine
by Tim Junkin

Walking with Nick Carter through his thirty-three acres of greenwood boughs and shimmering leaves, a bog fed by a vernal spring, all set on the upper reaches of the Choptank River, is to experience a burgeoning forest through the eyes of its steward. One who also happens to be a legendary naturalist, a champion for the Bay, salty to the bone, irreverent, funny, and always unflinchingly honest.

Continue reading….(link takes you to Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s website)


Bayside Creeks Town Hall with Sassafras Riverkeeper

Shorerivers%252BMap%252Bwith%252BExpanded%252BTerritory.jpg

ShoreRivers has expanded its jurisdiction to include Tolchester and the four creeks in Kent County that drain directly into the Bay: Still Pond, Churn, Worton, and Fairlee. The Sassafras Riverkeeper, Zack Kelleher, will oversee the organization of water quality monitoring, outreach, and restoration programs for this combined area.

“This area has never before been represented by a watershed group and I am excited to be the voice of this area and these creeks. I look forward to working with the local communities to determine and address any water quality issues,” said Kelleher.

Riverkeeper Kelleher is inviting all community members who live, work, or play in this area to a public Town Hall Meeting on August 14 at the Chestertown Library from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the yellow building in the library parking lot at 207 Calvert Street in Chestertown.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to krighi@shorerivers.org.

Tour the Shore Kayak Series

Tour the Shore.png

ShoreRivers’ Tour the Shore summer kayak series begins this month, with a monthly paddle on one of four rivers through September. Tour the Shore gives novice and experienced paddlers alike an opportunity to explore creeks and rivers with small groups led by ShoreRivers’ experienced, certified staff.  Paddle routes are chosen to highlight the Eastern Shore’s most scenic riverscapes and natural features, including great blue heron roosts, underwater grasses, and flooded forests.

Director of Education and Outreach Suzanne Sullivan, describes how the paddles serve ShoreRivers’ vision of health waterways across the Eastern Shore. “The Tour the Shore paddle series provides an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to get to know our rivers intimately. The more that individuals connect with a waterway and experience its value firsthand, the more they are going to want to protect that natural resource.”

Paddlers may bring their own kayaks or rent ShoreRivers’ kayaks. Space is limited. Bring your lunch!

Contact Suzanne at 443-385-0511 or ssullivan@shorerivers.org to reserve seats.

  • $20 for ShoreRivers members

  • $30 for non-members

  • Kayak rentals are an additional $30 

2019 Tour the Shore Dates and Locations

 Friday, July 12, 10am to 1pm – Robbins Creek (Choptank River)
Departs from Two Johns Landing in Preston. This paddle helps beat the heat as it meanders alongside the forested Lynch Preserve, property that was donated to Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.  Paddlers might just flush some wood ducks!

Friday, August 23, 10am to 2pm – Wye Island (Wye River)
Join the Miles-Wye Riverkeeper for a paddle that explores the peaceful coves around Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area. With over 85% of the island managed by Maryland State Park Service, this paddle-plus-hike showcases old growth trees and brightly colored song bird species.

 Thursday, September 13, 10am to 1pm – Turner’s Creek (Sassafras River)
Join the Sassafras Riverkeeper for a paddle on Turner's Creek in Kennedyville. Explore the famous tidal pond, see the magnificent lotus blooms, and witness one of the last working waterfronts on the river; a quintessential day on the Sassafras!

 Friday, September 27, 10am to 1pm – Chester River
Late September is prime paddle time as the air cools and marshes and forest edges change colors on the upper Chester. For the final paddle of the season, kayakers will be joined by the Chester Riverkeeper, launching from Shadding Reach Landing in Crumpton, and exploring the narrow upper reaches of the Chester. 

Flaws in Current Bay Grass Protection

Sediment plume kicked up by clamming activity

Sediment plume kicked up by clamming activity

Underwater grasses, otherwise known as Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV), are vital to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The grasses provide habitat for fish and crabs, oxygenate the water, filter sediment, absorb nutrients, and protect shorelines. These grasses are so valuable that the Chesapeake Bay Program has prioritized restoring them to 185,000 acres from their current 104,900 acres Bay-wide.

Underwater grasses are vulnerable to the hydraulic escalator clam dredge. This dredge uses hydraulic jets to cut into the bottom sediment and access buried clams, and in the process scours trenches along the river bottom, kicks up sediment plumes that cloud the water, and tears up our essential grass beds. Even dredging in a seemingly grassless area of river bottom can be harmful, as it can destroy any dormant seed bank buried in the sediment.

According to studies by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), “the direct impact of dredging in seagrasses is catastrophic.” The hydraulic clam dredge, which is banned in Maryland Coastal Bays, suppresses seed germination, restricts or completely inhibits growth, and completely uproots underwater grasses. Also according to DNR, “because of their importance, the restoration of bay grasses in the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays is a priority for the department as well as the other Bay partners.”

In an effort to protect grasses from clam harvesting activities, DNR delineates SAV Protection Zones that prohibit clamming activity within grass beds. Currently, the Department updates these zones every three years based on annual fly-over data from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Updated zones are due this year. The problem with this process is that when grasses start growing in new areas they can be vulnerable to dredge activities for up to three years until the Department delineates the next Protection Zones.

Claiborne, Maryland is a prime example of how the current three-year update process is failing to protect our natural resources. The cove by the public boat landing is a prime clamming location and currently has no SAV Protection Zones. According to the Virginia Institute for Marine Science, on which DNR bases their Protection Zones, this cove has had significant acreage of underwater grasses since 2014. However, DNR did not delineate SAV Protection Zones in the area for the 2016 update. While we wait for the updated 2019 zones, this area continues to be harvested almost daily.

To address this issue, ShoreRivers introduced a bill in the 2019 Maryland legislative session that would require the Protection Zones to be updated annually. However, we withdrew our bill after DNR indicated they would revise their protocols to enhance protections. We are disappointed that, six months later, we continue to wait for DNR’s promised enhancements while Maryland SAV Protection Zones continue to fail in achieving their original intent of protecting and restoring underwater grasses.

The current process of identifying and delineating SAV Protection Zones every three years is ineffective and inadequate. These zones should be updated annually to adequately protect new, recovering, and expanding grass beds. It is a waste of both natural and personnel resources to put protections in place after a grass bed has been dredged in. If we are going to meet our goal of increasing SAV acreage, we need to protect grasses both during peak bloom and during dormancy, when they do not show up on aerial maps. It’s time for DNR to walk the walk for grass protection.

ShoreRivers anticipates the release of 2019 Protection Zones this summer, which will include a 90-day public comment period. We urge our members, advocates, and supporters to advocate that the Department adequately protect our underwater grasses from the hydraulic clam dredge. We are working to better map grass beds on the Eastern Shore and document clamming activity within these beds. We must hold DNR accountable to their job of protecting our natural resources. Continue to alert your Riverkeepers of any activity on your river by calling 443.385.0511 or emailing your Riverkeeper.

ShoreRivers Begins Pumpout Boat Season and Bacteria Sampling

ShoreRivers is pleased to announce an expanded bacteria testing program for the 2019 swimming season. The strain of bacteria sampled, Enterococci, indicates pathogens that may cause human illness. This bacteria can originate from a variety of sources, including failing septic systems, sewer overflows or leaks, poultry and livestock operations, improper disposal from marine tanks, and pet waste. During significant rainfalls, the possibility always exists for elevated and unsafe bacteria levels. As a general precaution, it is recommended to avoid water contact for 48 hours after profuse rain events or any time if you have an open cut or wound. Always shower after swimming.

ShoreRivers will test popular swim sites weekly or bi-weekly until Labor Day: five sites on the Choptank River, two sites in Eastern Bay, one site on the Wye River, two sites on the Miles River, twelve sites on the Chester River, and three sites on the Sassafras River. Sites include: Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park Beach, Oxford Strand, Bellevue Beach, Sailwinds Park Beach, Great Marsh Park, Claiborne Beach, Broad Cove, Drum Point Beach on Wye Island, Miles River Yacht Club, Tunis Mills Landing, Duck Neck, Morgan Creek, Rosin Creek, Chestertown Marina, Chester River Yacht and Country Club, Rolphs Wharf , Camp Pecometh, Langford Bay, Grays Inn Creek, Conquest Beach, Corsica River Yacht Club, Centreville Wharf, Georgetown Bridge, Dyer Creek, and Indian Acres.

Results will be posted on SwimGuide, a website and smart phone app that allows users across the Chesapeake Bay region to check the health of local swimming beaches. Additionally, ShoreRivers’ Riverkeepers will post bacteria results on their social media pages. Follow the Chester Riverkeeper, Choptank Riverkeeper, Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, and Sassafras Riverkeeper on Facebook and Instagram for updates, or follow #SwimmableShoreRivers. Thank you to the following funders for supporting the continuation and expansion of this program: Royal Bank of Canada, Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, TriCycle and Run, Dorchester County, Washington College, and community donations.

The ShoreRivers Pumpout Boat is a free service to the boating community that helps combat this harmful pollution. Local and visiting boaters are encouraged to take advantage of this service and do their part to keep our waterways clean. The boat services the busy St. Michaels Harbor and marinas and private docks on the Miles and Wye Rivers.

ShoreRivers launched this program in 2016 as a convenient way for boaters to properly dispose of concentrated marine waste without polluting our rivers. The Pumpout Boat is funded by the Department of Natural Resources, and operates in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which provides dockage for the vessel free dockage, storage, and use of their land-based pumpout station to off-load waste that is transferred to the updated St. Michaels Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Pumpout Boat Captain Jim Freeman states, “Both transients and locals rave about the convenience of using the pumpout boat because they don’t have to deal with the hassle of a crowded marina in order to pump-out their tanks. We can serve any boater on the Miles and Wye Rivers and can remove up to 300 gallons of waste from their vessel.”

More than 1,000 boats have receive pump-outs since the vessel began operating. This service is available Friday evenings and weekends (including holiday Mondays) through October. Boaters can contact the Pumpout Boat at 410.829.4352 or VHF channel 9 to arrange service. Captain Jim is also available at pobcaptjim@gmail.com to answer questions or setup a regular schedule. ShoreRivers is looking forward to another productive year and hopes to break last year’s record of keeping 15,000 gallons of waste out of our rivers.