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Federation Blog

Apr 10

The Water Project

Posted by Sarah in Federation Event

By: Maura Duffy

This week, the South River Federation hosted its first school field trip to our office.  A group of first graders from St. Anne's School of Annapolis and a group of second graders from Mills Parole Elementary School attended the field trip, with the total attending students being over thirty.

The trip was an event to denote the completion of The Water Project.  The Water Project is a partnership with both St. Anne’s and Mills Parole.  The program primarily worked after school with a group of bilingual second graders and covered topics including water quality, stormwater management, and environmental stewardship.

For the field trip, all of the students were divided into small groups.  Each group participated in an activity at six different stations throughout the day.  Stations were dedicated to a wide variety of activities such as tree planting, water quality testing, fish printing, seining, and a scavenger hunt.  The children were also able to take a ride on “Remedy,” the South River Federation’s boat.  For many of the students, this was their first time on a boat.  The children loved the experience, with most saying that the boat ride was their favorite part of the day.

Each station provided a hands-on activity for the children.  At the water quality station, students were able to test the temperature, salinity, pH, and nutrients to distinguish between river water and tap water samples.  At the seining station, seine nets were used to capture critters such as small fish and mud crabs.  A microscope connected to a laptop was available for the children to examine what they found. One of the highlights of the trip was the tree painting that the children helped us create.  With the help of our volunteers, each child painted their hand to make leaf handprints on a canvas tree trunk.  The event was capped off by a ceremonial planting of the Children's Environmental Earth Month Tree.  We would like to thank Caroline Rodriguez for coordinating this event and the Chesapeake Bay Trust for funding this event.

Mar 28

Thanks for Making the 2014 Annual Auction a Success!

Posted by Sarah in Federation Event , Development

By: Maura Duffy

Thank you to everyone who attended the 10th Annual South River on the Half Shell live & silent auction! It was a spectacular event with record breaking attendance and an all-time high for item donations this year. Your combined support of our event made for "One Shell of a Party" and our best auction to date.

Highlights of the evening included Dr. Andrew Muller being presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award for his five years of technical advisory and services to the South River Federation. Erik Michelsen was presented with the South River Hero Award in appreciation of his service as Executive Director. The Don Riddle Corporate Stewardship award was presented to Holland & Knight for their legal assistance in the cleanup efforts of the Crownsville tire dump, the largest known tire dump in the state of Maryland.

A very large amount of people were involved in making this event a success and we would like to extend our gratitude to them. Thank you to our sponsors for their support of the event. Our Eagle Title sponsor this year was The Brick Companies. Other generous sponsors included: Sandy Spring Bank, BB & T Bank, Gwenn Azama & Owen Cook, John & Betty McElderry, Michael’s on the South River, Mike’s Crab House, Oak Grove Marina, Severn Savings Bank, Jean & Dale Legal, Cindy & Westbrook Murphy, Denis & Gayle Murray, The Cusack Family, Barry & Mary Gossett, Light Hall Building, Ltd., South River Boat Rentals, Annapolis Canoe & Kayak, Biohabitats, Annapolis Accounting, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, GreenVest, Joanne Decesaris, Chris Graae & Mary Kfoury, John Hepler & Heather McColl, Nancy & Herman Klin, Craig & Colleen Ligibel, Wine Cellars of Annapolis, Waterfront Marine, Family Veterinary Clinic, Chesapeake Legal Alliance, and Ginger Cove. Benefactors for the event included: Dave Aland, Will Baker, Janette & Sinclair Gearing, Marianne Smalley, Don Santa, Vicki & Mike Wallace, and David Wallace. Our honorary chairs for the event included: Lex Birney and Shelly Ford of The Brick Companies, Jamie Benoit and Chris Trumbauer of the Anne Arundel County Council, Gary Jobson, Tom Marquardt, and Delegate Heather Mizeur.

We’d also like to thank Brian & Kendra Riddle of Homestead Gardens, Palate Pleasers for catering the event, Cakes by Rachael for providing our beautiful Thomas Point Lighthouse cake, Joe Glumsic and Scott Hymes for live music, Roxane Castro for being our auctioneer, the U.S. Naval Academy Eagle Scout Midshipmen, and our other numerous volunteers.

Special thanks to Dale Legal, our auction committee chair, and everyone else on the auction committee: Gwenn Azama, Lee Ann Candon, Owen Cook, Jane Holly, Kevin Green, Bev Marcus, Denise Matteson, Lisa Michelsen, Paul Otto, and Ray Strong.

Feb 28

Local Support for South River on the Half Shell

Posted by Sarah in Untagged 

By: Maura Duffy

As our office becomes very busy with preparations for our annual auction, we wanted to take a step back and acknowledge the generosity and support of our local community.

Almost every day we receive auction items that have been donated from a wide variety of individuals and businesses, most of whom are local.  Numerous restaurants, music & theatre groups, boaters, photographers, artists, and more have contributed to our auction this year.  This demonstrates the appreciation and concern that the citizens of this area have for the South River, and how many people want to assist with the efforts to improve its health.  We cannot thank the local community enough for their generous support of our mission to protect, preserve, restore, and celebrate the South River and its interdependent living community.

Feb 25

Out and About on the South River: Public Outreach

Posted by Sarah in Pollution , Federation Event

By: Maura Duffy

This past weekend, the South River Federation was excited to be present at the Homestead Gardens’ grand opening of their Pet & Farm Department.  We had a table at the event where we introduced people to our organization while educating both adults and children about responsible pet ownership and the different sources of pollution in our watershed.

As this was a pet-geared event, we gave pet owners the “Scoop on Poop” and let them know why pet waste is considered to be an environmental pollutant.  Dog waste is very high in bacteria, and when it rains, the bacteria from uncollected dog waste enter our waterways.

With the help of our Enviroscape watershed model, we were able to easily illustrate the way that dog waste and other pollutants enter our waterways.  The model was a big hit with all the children at the event, so we were able to educate many little ones on the importance of keeping the land and the water clean.

Children at the event were also able to make a fish printing at our table.  Before they were allowed to paint their fish, every child had to answer this question: Do fish like living in dirty or clean water?  Almost everyone answered clean water, and were able to explain that it’s easier for fish to breathe if the water is clean.  Environmental education and appreciation for nature at every age is important, so the event was a great opportunity and success for public outreach in our community.

Photo Credit: Randy Lentz, Homestead Gardens

Feb 06

Reaching Out to International Communities in the Watershed

Posted by Caroline in Untagged 

¿Qué significa la palabra “Cuenca”? Or in English, what does the word watershed mean? Last Saturday, students at the Center for Help learned about “las cuencas” and other topics related to issues within the South River watershed.

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer Caroline Rodriguez went out to the Center for Help to answer this question and many others to a group of very excited students. The Center for Help offers assistance to the non-English speaking population in Anne Arundel County and offers a variety of services to assist immigrants in assimilating to U.S. culture and customs. The students participate in the Homework Help and Leadership Program at the Center and were tremendously excited to learn more about la ciencia medio ambiental or environmental science.

The day started off with discussions about the location of the South River in relation to the office and considering the implications of what a watershed is. Next we went through the stormwater model and discussed how la contaminación (pollution) wasn’t just from leaving trash on the ground, but is also the result of excessive use of things like las fertilizantes (fertilizers) and las pesticidas (pesticides). And the most important thing we discussed is simplistic, but very important: Todo lo que ponemos en la Cuenca del Río del Sur finalmente va a terminar en el río or everything that we put in the South River watershed will eventually end up in the river. Finally we discussed some of the things that children can do to help save the Bay with colorful marcadoras (bookmarks) written in Spanish. Thanks again to the Center for Help for a fun and educational Saturday afternoon!

We are extremely excited to begin reaching out to the Latino/a community through bilingual education and hope to increase our efforts in the future! If you have any questions, please let us know by emailing Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer, Caroline Rodriguez.

Jan 29

Out and About on the South River: Winter Weather

Posted by Sarah in Gingerville Creek

By: Maura Duffy

Ever wondered what happens to the South River during the winter?  When the air temperature reaches low temperatures, the cold air will encourage the creation of ice on the river’s surface.  Ice floats on the top of the river, acting as a cover, while the river continues to flow underneath.  This allows aquatic life to survive under the ice. 

Algae can continue to grow, even in the wintertime.  Some species of algae are adapted to survive in cold temperatures.  The amount of winter algae growth that occurs is largely dependent on how much light and nutrients are available.  On sunny days, light is able to travel through the ice cover and be used by algae for photosynthesis.  This is important because this process will provide oxygen to the other organisms also living under the ice. 

Oysters are dormant for the winter.  They have the ability to survive in freezing water temperatures.  Even if they are completely encased in ice, they will remain healthy in cold water.  For those of you who grow oysters, it is important to make sure that your oysters stay completely submerged in the water.  If oysters are exposed to freezing air, they will die.  In addition, a variety of bird species remain on the South River for the winter.  This includes Canada geese, coots, crows, cardinals, and several others.  Bird species can typically feed on seeds, nuts, and winter berries during the winter.  Despite the frigid temperatures this winter, many species still call the South River home in the colder months.

Jan 20

Out and About on the South River

Posted by Sarah in Living Shoreline , Broad Creek

By: Maura Duffy

The South River Federation is currently involved in what is known as a “living shoreline” project located at Camp Woodlands. Camp Woodlands is a 32 acre woodland waterfront site located on Broad Creek, which feeds into the South River. The land is owned by the Girl Scout Council of Central Maryland, but it is also used by groups such as Anne Arundel County Public Schools and the Boys & Girls Club. This area provides an educational environment in which children can interact with nature and water. The waterfront area of the site has been affected by erosion. This became problematic when erosion was compromising an important access path to the boat dock area. In order to restore the current area as well as protect from future erosion, a living shoreline needed to be created.

A living shoreline is designed to work with wave and tidal energy to prevent erosion as well as provide critical habitat for a variety of species. Instead of using structural materials, such as lumber, this project will rely on rocks, native shrubs, and grasses to stabilize the sandy shoreline. Restoration of this shoreline is beneficial to the health of the South River for several reasons. It will provide important nesting and feeding areas for shorebirds and other wildlife, act as a nursery for the eggs of a variety of species, and provide habitat for crabs, fish, and insects.

For this project, sand will placed and pushed outward in order to create a stable, gradual transition from land to water. This extension of the shoreline can then be used to create a submergent marsh. In addition, rocks are being placed on geotextile fabric in order to further prevent erosion. This material prevents the rocks from sinking. As seen in the photos, an excavator is being used to place rock on top of this material. Enhancing and protecting this shoreline will be beneficial for both Camp Woodlands and the South River.

This project is being funded by the Living Shorelines Grant provided by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, which includes a joint grant with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. It was designed by Flood Brothers Marine Consultants, and is being constructed by Brightwater Engineering.


Oct 23

Pirate Captain and Spiderman Spend a Morning on the South River

Posted by Sarah in Flat Creek , Federation Event

Superheros on the South River

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us on Saturday, October 19th for our Fall Federation Celebration Kayak Trip!  It was a crisp morning on the South River.  After some coffee, donuts, and fruit, we launched kayaks from the Harbor Hills community area and headed out into Flat Creek.  Flat Creek is a section of the South River where you can see a variety of wildlife.  Then, we paddled back into the river and pushed towards the Route 50 bridge.  Some paddlers went even further towards the Route 450 bridge.

It is crazy to think that you are out paddling and enjoying the wildlife, while a major highway is zipping past you from above.  The saying "Stop and smell and roses" came to my mind.  On the way back to the beach, the weather decided to give us a challenge by providing a decent headwind plus an incoming tide--we definitely worked up an appetite. 

Thankfully, Whole Foods of Annapolis donated delicious platters of sandwiches, fruits, and veggies for lunch!  Thank you again to Lorie, from Annapolis Community Boating for providing the kayaks, John Koontz and the Harbor Hills community for hosting this wonderful trip.


Sep 30

2013 Day to Serve

Posted by Jennifer in Untagged 

Day to Serve began in 2012 as a collaboration between the governors of MD, VA, WV and the mayor of DC. They set aside political differences and worked together to feed the hungry and heal the planet.  In Maryland, the Governor’s goal is to recognize the connections between the health of our people, and the health of our land, water and air.   The South River Federation loves any excuse to hold a volunteer event so we knew we had to do something fun this year!

We weren’t the only ones that wanted to be a part of the fun.  The Chesapeake Bay Trust offered mini grants of $500 specifically for Day to Serve projects.  The Federation applied and received a grant!  We teamed up with our good friends at Historic London Town and Gardens in Edgewater to finish planting a stormwater wetland.  The area drains runoff from the parking lot. Earlier this summer, with the help of volunteers from Brickman Group, we cleared out invasive plants from an area adjacent to London Town’s parking lot.  The Brickman volunteers spread mulch and planted the first round of native plants.  The stormwater wetland looked great, but was not complete.

With the help of the mini grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, we got the rest of the native plants that we needed.  All we needed was a group of volunteers – and we knew the perfect group!  The Federation had been giving weekly environmental lessons at the Bywater Boys and Girls Club summer camp so we knew we wanted to engage their club.  However, we had also worked with a great group of students from the STEM program at the Bate Boys and Girls Club when we planted London Town’s green roof earlier this year.  Luckily, both groups jumped at the chance to bring their students out and help us plant!

Our Day to Serve started off with a lesson and discussion about stormwater.  The students did a great job planting a variety of native plants such as silky dogwoods and button bushes.  We thank everyone who made this day possible: Historic London Town and Gardens for hosting us; the Chesapeake Bay Trust for funding the project, and the Annapolis Boys and Girls Clubs for volunteering with us.  We are looking forward to the 2014 Day to Serve!


Aug 29

Operation Clearwater Results August 28th, 2013

Posted by Jennifer in Untagged 


Good Afternoon,

These bacteria results are for the samples were collected the morning of 8-28-2013.   Three out of 13 sites were above the instantaneous concentration of 104 cfu/100ml.   Furnace and Marley Creeks have been added to our sampling sites for the remainder of the season to help our friends up in North County.  The acceptable concentration of bacteria for swimming and other direct water contact determined by EPA, Maryland Department of the Environment and Anne Arundel County Department of Health is 104 colony forming units/100ml. Anne Arundel County has a 48 hour no swimming/recreational guidance of water ways after a rain event (1”). You can also see the bacteria results on our the South River Federation's website, www.southriverfederation.net, or use the SwimGuide mobile app (http://www.theswimguide.org)

Have a great weekend,

Captain Diana Muller, South RIVERKEEPER®

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