ShoreRivers is seeking a Sassafras Riverkeeper

ShoreRivers seeks a Sassafras Riverkeeper to act as the liaison for the Sassafras River in our efforts to achieve healthy waterways across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Riverkeeper is the primary voice for the river and works through the core strategies of advocacy, enforcement, outreach, restoration, and water quality monitoring. The ideal candidate will be an energetic, outgoing individual who is enthusiastic about the environment and the communities we serve. 

The Sassafras Riverkeeper reports to the Director of Riverkeeper Programs and works primarily out of the Galena and Chestertown offices. This is a full-time position; the employee must be flexible to work weekends, evenings, and longer hours and to travel when necessary. Salary is commensurate with experience; competitive benefits package included. 

To apply, send cover letter and resume to Kim Righi, Sassafras Programs Manager, at krighi@shorerivers.org

To read the full job description, click here.  

ShoreRivers is seeking a Summer Intern for 2019

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ShoreRivers is seeking applicants for an exciting, hands-on summer internship experience in the environmental field. ShoreRivers is a nonprofit organization that protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. With offices in Easton, Chestertown, and Galena MD, the organization serves as an advocate for the health of our area rivers and the living resources they support. Our programs promote environmental awareness of the essential role local rivers and streams play in the community, the issues that threaten their health and vitality, and solutions that must be implemented to preserve them. The summer intern will be based out of the organization’s Easton office with occasional travel throughout mid-shore counties. 

To learn more about this opportunity, including responsibilities, qualifications, and the application process, please read the full internship description here.

Envision the Choptank Partnership Receives $1 Million to Advance Restoration

Shown is a retrofit of a 2-stage ditch, an example of a restoration practice eligible for funding by a $1 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund for restoration practices throughout the Choptank River watershed.

Shown is a retrofit of a 2-stage ditch, an example of a restoration practice eligible for funding by a $1 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund for restoration practices throughout the Choptank River watershed.

To support the Envision the Choptank partnership, ShoreRivers was awarded a $1 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund to accelerate the implementation of restoration practices throughout the Choptank River watershed with the goal of improving water quality and reducing nutrients and sediment.

The grant was awarded through NFWF’s Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction program and will support the partnership’s efforts to engage private agricultural landowners in installing some of the most effective pollution-reducing restoration practices on our local waterways. Funds will be used to design and develop innovative incentive programs and hire a Landowner Assistance Coordinator to assist landowners with the installation of wetlands, buffers, and ditch retrofits. Through these efforts, the partnership plans to restore over 200 acres, helping state and local counties meet their nutrient and sediment reduction goals.

“The advantage of a partnership like Envision the Choptank is that we’re able to build on the strengths of many organizations and agencies to tackle more complex and larger-scale projects,” said ShoreRivers Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta. “ShoreRivers is happy to provide our scientific and technical expertise to the partnership, as well as direct resources to agricultural landowners in the watershed that will help accelerate the implementation of clean water projects.”

Envision the Choptank partners, including ShoreRivers, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Soil Conservation Districts, and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), will also develop opportunity maps for each of the five counties located within the Choptank watershed—Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot in Maryland and Kent County in Delaware. Using fine-scale resolution topography, land use data, and input from local stakeholders, partners will identify locations where restoration practices will be most effective at reducing nutrients and sediment.

“Using the latest science to identify locations where restoration practices will be most effective helps landowners make informed land-use decisions and ensures that private and public funds are maximizing the return on these investments for cleaner water,” said TNC Maryland/DC Agricultural Program Director Amy Jacobs.

The funding will build on and help expand and mature the Envision the Choptank partnership. Since 2015, the partnership has been bringing together organizations, agencies, and individuals to identify and implement collaborative solutions to meet their joint mission of providing swimmable, fishable waters and enhancing the health and productivity of native oysters in a way that best meets the needs of surrounding communities. The group has grown to include a 17-member Steering Committee and has engaged over 800 people in completing a Common Agenda for the watershed, to be officially launched in 2019. The Agenda can be found at envisionthechoptank.org.

“DNR is very excited to utilize and leverage our Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund grants in the Choptank watershed to begin carrying out the strategies of our Common Agenda. These efforts will further support the state’s mission to restore and protect water quality and habitats in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including the Choptank River,” said Carrie Decker, Natural Resource Planner and Project Manager with DNR’s Habitat Restoration and Conservation Division.

The partnership welcomes participants to this collaborative endeavor. The initiative’s success will depend on the diversity of organizations and individuals engaged. “If we all work together, we can deliver results that improve both the environmental and the socio-economic health of the watershed, creating a swimmable, fishable Choptank for every community,” said CBF Eastern Shore Director Alan Girard.

Individuals or organizations in the Choptank River watershed interested in engaging in Envision the Choptank, or anyone wanting to learn more about the work of the initiative, is encouraged to contact the partnership at envisionthechoptank@gmail.com.

Previous support for the partnership was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with assistance from the Chesapeake Conservancy.

The Envision the Choptank partnership works to provide swimmable, fishable waters and enhance the health and productivity of native oysters in a way that best meets the needs of surrounding communities. Current Steering Committee members include: Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Eastern Shore Land Conservancy; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Maryland Department of the Environment; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Oyster Recovery Partnership; Pickering Creek Audubon Center; ShoreRivers, Inc; Mt. Pleasant Heritage Preservation, Inc.; Talbot Soil Conservation District; The Nature Conservancy; University of Maryland Extension, Talbot County; University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension.

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ShoreRivers Annual Appeal Winter 2018

Photo by Beth Horstman

Photo by Beth Horstman

We share with you these truths: Vibrant, healthy waterways are essential to the well-being of our communities. Our rivers and creeks define our quality of life and bring people together. Restoring and protecting them is a critically important challenge. Help us continue to rise to this challenge by giving a year-end donation to ShoreRivers.

Resulting from the merger of three organizations this past January, ShoreRivers works for healthy Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We are a regional force for clean water – and you are a part of the team.

Our dedicated, knowledgeable members are the eyes, ears, and voices for our work. You swell our numbers from a 17-person staff to a 3,500-member team working for clean water in every creek from Cecilton to Cambridge. Here are a few examples of how you, our members, have strengthened our impact:

  • You have worked with us to install 85 projects on your land, farms, schools, and parks, preventing 83,000 pounds of nitrogen, 16,000 pounds of phosphorus, and 2,700 tons of sediment from washing into our rivers every year. Pictured below in the middle is the installation of a denitrifying bioreactor, an example of one of our many agricultural restoration projects.

  • Over 130 of you commit significant volunteer time on our water quality monitoring teams, tracking the health of our creeks and streams at 138 sites and enabling us to monitor trends, identify pollution hot spots, and prioritize areas for restoration work.

  • Hundreds of community members and local leaders in Cambridge have worked with us to advance clean water initiatives through city planning, installation of residential projects, and faith-based stewardship activities. Pictured above on the left, a member of the Cambridge Residential Stewardship Initiative installs landscaping that will slow and filter water before it enters the Choptank River.

  • Over 340 of you celebrated at our annual Summer Solstice Gala in June and helped us raise the funds to move our northern office into the new Chestertown Marina building, where our mission for clean water will be front and center along the town’s waterfront. Additionally, over 1,000 supporters have attended our Wild & Scenic Film Festivals, State of the River events, Ride for Clean Rivers, and Chester River Challenge run, learning about pollution in our rivers and supporting our work for clean water.

  • Over 1,500 students across five Eastern Shore counties are engaged in our education programs which connect students to their back-yard rivers through hands-on research and action. Pictured above on the right, our Miles-Wye Riverkeeper canoes with students on the Choptank. We strive to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards to carry this important work into the future.

Thank you for being part of these efforts. Your contributions of time, expertise, and donations make a difference, and your continuing support is critical to our success. Please help us begin the New Year on strong financial footing with a donation to our Annual Appeal.

Sincerely,

Jeff Horstman
Executive Director

Brennan Starkey
Chairman of the Board


Boy Scout Takes on Oyster Restoration for Cleaner Choptank River

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ShoreRivers is pleased to announce another successful community outreach partnership. ShoreRivers teamed up with Josh Newmier, a high school student and member of Boy Scout Troop 190, to recruit oyster gardeners on the Choptank River and encourage more restaurants to recycle oyster shells. In the fall, Newmier approached ShoreRivers about an Eagle Scout project that would be meaningful and improve our local environment. After discussing the important role that oysters play by filtering water in rivers, and learning about the major challenges that the current oyster population faces, Josh decided to be a part of restoring the Choptank’s oyster population.

“Growing up on the Eastern Shore and hearing about the abundance of oysters 50 to 100 years ago as compared to now, motivated me to choose a project related to oyster restoration,” Newmier recounts.

Wasting no time, he began identifying and educating property owners and boat slip renters about the benefits of oyster gardening. As a result, 23 new oyster gardeners, including the J.M. Clayton Company, joined the Marylanders Grow Oysters (MGO) program. These new growers are currently growing over 12,000 baby oysters (spat) that will be transplanted to sanctuaries in spring 2019.

But the Boy Scout didn’t stop there! Knowing how important oyster shells are to restoration, while so many of them are discarded, Newmier recruited local restaurants to recycle their oyster shells. Every week, Newmier and his fellow scouts collect residual shells from participating restaurants—including Talbot Country Club, Snappers, Portside, Canvasback, and Jimmy & Sooks—and take them to shell recycling stations at Easton Point and Horn Point in Cambridge. From there, the shells go to the hatchery where they become substrate for spat used by the next season’s oyster gardeners. In a win-win scenario, Newmier has received a State of Maryland DNR Shell Recycling Collector certificate, which allows him to submit reports that qualify businesses to claim tax credits for recycling oyster shell.

“I think the first step in the oyster restoration process is awareness,” Newmier says. “Hopefully by engaging the community, we will help advance the process to recovery.”

Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta oversaw the project. “It’s great to see young people taking initiative like this. According to a recently released oyster stock assessment, there has been a 50% reduction in the Chesapeake oyster population since 1999. If we’re serious about cleaning up the Choptank, it’s going to take concerted efforts from every level.”

For more information about ShoreRivers’ Marylander’s Grow Oysters program, contact Rebecca Murphy at rmurphy@shorerivers.org or 443.385.0511. 

ShoreRivers Pumpout Boat has Best Season Yet

Pumpout boat captain Jim Freeman

Pumpout boat captain Jim Freeman

ShoreRivers is pleased to announce that its pumpout boat had its most successful season this year. The vessel was acquired in 2016 with funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in conjunction with the Clean Vessel Act administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. It continues to operate with funding from DNR.  The pumpout boat operates from May through October offering free service on the Miles and Wye Rivers. The boat pumped over 8,500 gallons in 2016 and over 12,000 gallons in 2017. ShoreRivers exceed its 2018 goal by pumping over 15,000 gallons of waste, reaching the final numbers during Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s annual OysterFest on October 27.

The pumpout boat operates in partnership with Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels. CBMM donates free dockage, storage, and use of their land-based pump-out station to offload the waste from the boat. The sewage waste removed from boats then goes directly to the St. Michael’s wastewater treatment plant.

ShoreRivers’ pumpout boat works to reduce nutrient pollution and harmful bacteria that can be introduced from recreational boaters’ waste. In an effort to assist local boaters committed to more river-friendly boating practices, the pumpout boat is a convenient way to properly dispose of waste rather than discharging it into our waterways.

“We are thrilled to have met our goal for this third season of the pumpout boat,” says ShoreRivers Miles-Wye Riverkeeper Elle Bassett. “This vessel directly supports our vision of healthy waterways on the Eastern Shore. We extend our special  appreciation to Capt. Jim Freeman for expertly operating the vessel and to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for their continued support in our efforts to achieve healthier rivers. I’m looking forward to setting a new record in 2019!”

“Preserving the Chesapeake Bay's environment is key to helping fulfill the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's mission; so this project is very close to our hearts," says CBMM president Kristen Greenaway. "CBMM is very grateful for the opportunity to work with ShoreRivers and the pumpout boat, and to see that the effort is increasingly making such a difference in removing waste from the bay is extremely heartening.”

ShoreRivers Hires DiPasquale as Policy Advisor

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Nick DiPasquale, former director of EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program, has joined ShoreRivers as its Policy Advisor. DiPasquale will work to elevate ShoreRivers’ mission for clean Eastern Shore waterways through state and regional advocacy efforts.

“We are delighted to have Nick joining ShoreRivers as a policy adviser,” Jeff Horstman, executive director of ShoreRivers, stated. “He has enormous experience and expertise in Chesapeake restoration issues and will add great value, strengthening our analysis and voice. His hire underscores the vital importance that ShoreRivers places on policy change.”

“I am thrilled,” Nick summed up, “with the opportunity to be working with ShoreRivers, an organization that is doing incredible work to reduce pollution and promote sustainability on the Eastern Shore.”

DiPasquale served as the director of the Chesapeake Bay Program from August, 2011 to December, 2017. The program coordinates and provides administrative, technical, management and financial support for the overall Bay watershed restoration effort. It is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement and the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, ensuring the six states and the District of Columbia meet their pollution load reduction targets.

DiPasquale has over 35 years of public policy and environmental management experience in both the public and private sectors. He previously served as Deputy Secretary for Air, Waste & Radiation Protection in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Director of the Environmental Management Center for the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania; and Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

DiPasquale worked for six years in the private sector as a senior consultant on environmental and ecological restoration issues with an environmental engineering consulting firm in Delaware. He also served as the Director of Waste Management and Water Pollution Control Programs for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and as a Research Analyst with the Missouri House of Representatives.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from the State University of New York, and a master’s degree in Energy and Environmental Policy from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

DiPasquale retired at the end of 2017 and lives in Chestertown, Maryland, with his wife, Becky, and their two dogs.

ShoreRivers Seeks Director of Development

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ShoreRivers is seeking a full-time Director of Development to join our team and help fulfill our mission to protect and restore Eastern Shore rivers and the living resources they support. This is a senior level position, responsible for cultivating and expanding funding sources and developing an effective strategy for environmental philanthropic giving. The ideal candidate will have a strong commitment to environmental protection and ShoreRivers’ mission, and the ability to create a compelling connection between philanthropy and the health of our rivers.

This Director of Development reports to the Executive Director, oversees the Development Team, works closely with various boards and committees to craft annual development plans, and manages the Events and Communications Coordinator. The position is headquartered in our Easton, Maryland office at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center and involves travel to regional offices in Chestertown and Georgetown, MD.  

ShoreRivers offers a competitive salary and benefits package. A full job description with application instructions is posted here.

About ShoreRivers

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working with many diverse partners throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Our main office is located at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center in Easton, with regional offices in Chestertown and Georgetown. (shorerivers.org).

ShoreRivers Awarded 2.2 Million Dollar Grant

A treatment wetlands system helps maximize nutrient removal.

A treatment wetlands system helps maximize nutrient removal.

At the end of June 2018, ShoreRivers was awarded a $2.2 million dollar grant from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to support ShoreRivers’ regional agricultural restoration work. The grant will fund projects in the watersheds of the Bohemia, Sassafras, Wye, and Choptank Rivers. Together these projects will prevent over 14,200 lbs. of nitrogen, 740 lbs. of phosphorus, and almost 270 tons of sediment from entering Eastern Shore waterways.

The new grant funds will pay the construction costs for:

·         An ecologically engineered design that will stabilize excessive gully erosion that has resulted in a ravine adjacent to Kings Creek in Talbot County; it will create a wetland and grassed buffers, and restore 1380 linear feet of stream and agricultural ditch.

·         A treatment wetland system and stormwater retention ponds at the bottom of four agricultural drainages and above a natural stream. The project is designed to maximize nutrient removal at the top of the watershed of Little Bohemia Creek in Cecil County and it will create almost six acres of wetland and three acres of stormwater ponds.

·         Stormwater ponds and over eight acres of lined treatment wetland to treat 33 acres of dairy farm operations and several hundred acres of row crop land that is irrigated with lagoon effluent from a Kent County dairy in the Sassafras watershed.

·         Completing restoration of a 1,000-linear-foot traditional agricultural ditch into a two-stage ditch with wetland benches on a grain farm on the Wye River in Talbot County.

This grant signals the effectiveness of ShoreRivers’ new combined capacity to implement regional projects on a large scale throughout the Delmarva peninsula. ShoreRivers is a certified Technical Service Provider for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and is engineering and implementing innovative pollution reduction projects cooperatively with the agricultural sector to restore and protect Eastern Shore rivers.

Pictured left to right at a restoration site are ShoreRivers staff members Emily Harris, Kim Righi, Kristin Junkin and Josh Thompson.

Pictured left to right at a restoration site are ShoreRivers staff members Emily Harris, Kim Righi, Kristin Junkin and Josh Thompson.

ShoreRivers is honored that the Department of Natural Resources supports the pollution- reducing projects that ShoreRivers is implementing in communities across the Eastern Shore. Other traditional bay funders and strong community support enables ShoreRivers to attract this type of significant outside grant funding for clean water.

For more information, visit shorerivers.org or contact Director of Agriculture & Restoration Tim Rosen at 443.385.0511 or trosen@shorerivers.org.


ShoreRivers Honored with Prestigious Environmental Award

ShoreRivers staff celebrate their new Easton headquarters following the merger of three environmental organizations in January 2018. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Elle Bassett, Jeff Horstman, Tim Trumbauer, Suzanne Sullivan, Tim Junkin, Kristin Junkin, Matt Pluta; (back row, left to right) Kristan Droter, Isabel Hardesty, Laura Wood, Tim Rosen, Ann Frock, Kim Righi, Emily Harris, Emmett Duke, and Rebecca Murphy.

ShoreRivers staff celebrate their new Easton headquarters following the merger of three environmental organizations in January 2018. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Elle Bassett, Jeff Horstman, Tim Trumbauer, Suzanne Sullivan, Tim Junkin, Kristin Junkin, Matt Pluta; (back row, left to right) Kristan Droter, Isabel Hardesty, Laura Wood, Tim Rosen, Ann Frock, Kim Righi, Emily Harris, Emmett Duke, and Rebecca Murphy.

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters announced this week that it would honor ShoreRivers this year with its prestigious John V. Kabler Memorial Award, presented annually to Maryland’s most outstanding environmental leaders and organizations.

Past recipients have included such noteworthy environmental champions as Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen, former Maryland Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, former Maryland Governor Harry R. Hughes, and former Maryland DNR Secretary John Griffin.

ShoreRivers protects and restores the waterways of the Eastern Shore and the living resources they support. The organization was formed January 1, 2018, from the merger of three river-protection organizations, and now serves Delmarva from Cecilton to Cambridge, representing rivers and watersheds draining to the Chesapeake Bay.

“As ShoreRivers, we are a powerful voice for clean water with a dedicated team of staff, board members, and volunteers,” said ShoreRivers Executive Director Jeff Horstman. “We are having a greater regional impact in advocacy, restoration, and education. We are honored and thankful for the recognition the Kabler Memorial Award brings to our work for healthier waterways and for all the great work the Maryland League of Conservation does for the environment.”

ShoreRivers employs 18 professionals including four Riverkeepers, scientists, educators, policy advocates, lawyers, and restoration specialists who work from offices in Easton, Chestertown, and Georgetown, Maryland. Its work is supported by over 3,500 community members and families and engages over 1,000 students and volunteers each year. The organization works at every level including policy and legislative advocacy, regulatory enforcement, agricultural outreach and restoration, education, oyster repopulation, and community engagement to improve our rivers.

The award ceremony will take place Tuesday, October 9 at the Westin Annapolis, located at 100 Westgate Circle, beginning with cocktails at 6pm, followed by dinner and program at 7pm. For program details or to sign up as a sponsor, contact Karen Polet Doory at kdoory@mdlcv.org or 202-281-8780.