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Fish Survey Results Are In!

This Summer, David Lanier, our Restoration Project Manager, led our band of summer interns and assorted volunteers to survey the fish populations at our current or potential restoration sites. Fish surveying is hot, hard work, lugging heavy gear through tick-infested shrubs. Thank you to all who participated.

This year the Federation changed it’s survey protocol to align with MD Department of Natural Resources’ Biological Stream Survey protocol (http://dnr.maryland.gov/streams/Publications/R4Manual.pdf), where a 75 meter representative stretch of stream is chosen.

2018 fish survey table 2

We were very pleased with the preliminary results of the fish survey at our Church Creek Headwaters site off Rt. 665. There was so much underwater grass and such great fish habitat, that we were unable to properly survey it! However, last year while we saw an increase in fish, they still had a lot of fungi and parasites on them. This year the fish all looked healthy.

More Science Needed

Weirdly, the fish at Annapolis Harbor Center disappeared. Last year, using a different protocol we found 248 mosquito fish in the lower half of the stream restoration project. This year, in a stretch a third of the size, we only found 8. The restoration could have led to a significant predator moving in and causing a dent in the population. There was also construction last year on the stormwater pond immediately above the stream section. However, a couple months later, staff saw about 30 minnows swimming in just one 6 foot pool a couple hundred yards upstream of the survey site. So, it looks like more scientific surveys are needed!

Church Creek Restoration Sites # fish caught during 3 passes total number of species caught during 3 passes
Church Creek RT 665 (2014) 141 5
Wilelinor (2003) 119 9
Annapolis Harbour Center (2016) 8 1
Bywater (2017) 1 1
Allen Apartments (2017) 0 0
Broad Creek Pre-Restoration Sites    
Broad Creek Valley 70 10
Broad Creek Park 328 12
Camp Woodlands 53 4


With only one year of data under the new protocol, it is impossible to draw any conclusions looking at the data. However, it seems interesting that the Broad Creek sites, even impaired and in need of restoration, are able to sustain a community of freshwater fish. It might be a coincidence, but out of the restored sites on Church Creek, the older restoration sites seem to be able to sustain a community of freshwater fish.

2017-18* Marylanders Grows Oyster Participants for the South River


Betty and Marty Adkins
Patty Arnn
Adam and Lara Aulestia
Betty Barker and Gerald Donahoe
Mark Baumel
Margie Berger
Heather and Todd Bickling
Janice Bird and Scott Eden
Jim and Debra Bird
Rebecca Bitzer
Anja and Anthony Bonacci
Brenda Boultwood
Mary Lou and Beau Bourne
Ryan Bradley
Larry and Linda Brannon
Bob and Donna Brennan
Amy and Kevin Burgess
Guy Campion
Lee Ann and Charlie Candon
Sherry Cox Chism
Kenneth Comba
Paulette McCubbin and Pete Conte
Kimberly and Jeffrey Cover
Helen and Jay Creech
Susan Cummings and Kris Jenner
Carlyle Smith and Melissa Dantoni
Melanie Hartwig and Lance Davis
Margaret and Andrew (Drew) Davis
Justin Disborough
Debbie Dorsey
Tonia and Mike Falkowski
Peggy and Robert Finnin
Sven Finnis
Linda and Mike Geers
Matt Gervase
Paul Gessner
Toni and Marvin Gibbons
Ron Schouten and Kim Glasgow
Amy and Jonathon Gleklen
Jonathan Goldsmith
Chris Graae and Mary Kfoury
Kevin and Stacey Green
Steve Horvath and Teena Grodner
Bruce Hechler
Jeff Holland
Kirk Holub
Lynne and Jerry Hoot
Casey and Fred Hunt
Randy Johnson
Maybelle and Peter Kou
Kamarin Kraft
Karen Kreamer
Carlos Larraz
Joseph and Mary Lawrence
Jean Legal
Bette Jane (BJ) and Bobby Lewis
Craig and Colleen Ligibel
Marta Lively
Kathleen and Urs Lottenbach
Michael Lovelace
Diane and Rob Mairs
Bev and Steve Marcus
Mayo Elementary
Michael McGuire
Tamra Miller
Chris Wien and Jean Mitchell
Dan and Patsy Mote
Kathy O'Brien
Bob O'Dell
Liam O'Meara
John and Patricia Paris
Greg Pitser and Sarah Trees
Judy and David Plott
Maureen Porto
Kelly and Ted Purnell
Charlotte Simmons and Peter Pushkas
Quiet Waters Park Oyster Growing
Brian Ragan
Elizabeth Ramirez 
Rich Reilly
Chris and Tom Reinert
Kathy and Bill Rhodes
Robert Riera
Kelly and Chris Rosenthal
Don and Karen Santa
Matt Schmit
Lee Schmoll
Glenn Schneider
Marty Schoenbauer
Martha and John Schwieters
Irwin Silber
Rosemary Smith
Art and Patty Somers
Molly Stone
Mark Streger
Nancy Sullivan
Daphne and Peter Summers
Pattie Suraci Steve Von Briesen
Darlene and Ron Tate
Matthew and Candice Taylor
Sarah Taylor
Mark Tigert
Brian A. Tollefson
Michelle Torrey
Michael Wagener
Vicki and Mike Wallace
Rick Weaver
Sue Weber
Robert Widman, Jr.
Kim and Mark Wiggins
Janine Wilkin

  *If you are a MGO participant and are not on the list, or are on this list and are no longer participating please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let us know!


Update: The Bill was vetoed by the County Executive.

Anne Arundel County passes Styrofoam Ban

On June 18, 2018 the Anne Arundel County Council voted to ban the use of expanded polystyrene foam (aka Styrofoam) takeout containers. The South River Federation appeared twice before the council in support of the ban alongside other partners. We discussed our Crab Creek trash trap, and the thousands of pieces of Styrofoam we have pulled out of it in the year since it was built.

With this move, Anne Arundel County joins Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Washington D.C., and Baltimore City in banning this harmful single-use plastic. Starting on January 1, 2020, restaurants will no longer be able to serve food or drinks in Styrofoam containers, or face a fine. The legislation was sponsored by Councilmen Trumbauer, Grasso and Pruski. Councilman Smith joined the sponsors to see the bill passed. Councilmen Walker, Fink and Peroutka voted nay. The County Executive’s office also sent three $100k+ staffers to oppose the legislation.

Anne Arundel County's Worsening Waters

This victory for the environment comes right on the heels of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s annual report card for 2017, showing that only 7 rivers in the Bay have deteriorating water quality. Four of those rivers have watersheds located entirely within Anne Arundel County: the Magothy, the Severn, the South, and the West & Rhode. Two more border the County: the Patapsco and the Patuxent. The only deteriorating river not directly impacted by Anne Arundel County land use is the York.

Timeline of Events by Jesse Iliff, South Riverkeeper

On Thursday, Jan. 28th at approximately 5 p.m:

The Federation learned from a concerned citizen of an oil spill into a stream that flows from under Spa Road into Crab Creek on the South River. I immediately visited the scene and spotted Maryland Department of Environment's (MDE) Emergency Response Team at the site. I spoke with a representative of MDE who told me that there was a leak in the Annapolis Middle School's boiler room that traveled from a sump pump where it was collected into a storm drain and then into the stream. I walked across the road and upon exiting my car could clearly smell the oil, but because it was getting dark I was not able to see very well in the steep and snowy stream bed.

OilSpill1On Friday, Jan 29th at approximately 9 a.m:
Upon returning the next morning at about 9:00 a.m., it was clear that although not on the level of the Deepwater Horizon or Exxon Valdez spills, that significant quantities of oil had escaped into the stream, and traveled a long way towards tidal water. Personnel from ACE Environmental Services had begun cleanup efforts in the stream by deploying absorbent oil booms and pads for approximately 2/3 mi. of stream channel. I photographed many of the collected pockets of oil and foam along that distance and the Federation quickly published those pictures to Facebook and Twitter.

On Friday, the 29th at approximately 11 a.m:
I contacted a representative of Anne Arundel County Public Schools who stated that neither the County nor MDE had determined the amount of oil that should have been in the tank and compared it to the amount left after the leak was repaired to determine the amount of oil released into the stream. As of this writing, that analysis still has not been performed, but MDE has estimated that less than 250 gallons was spilled.


On Friday, the 29th at approximately 2 p.m:
Returned to the site with Sarah Giordano from our office to walk the entire length of the stream from the culvert passing under Spa Road to the tidal reach of Crab Creek to obtain water and soil samples and take additional photographs. During this visit we observed small flecks of oil flowing into the tidal waters, although it appeared that the vast majority of the oil was contained by the intercepting measures installed by MDE and its contractor ACE Environmental.

Update: I am trying to determine the amount of oil released into the stream to estimate what effect the spill will have on water quality or wildlife and habitat. At this point, neither the County nor the State has elected to subtract the amount of oil remaining in the tank from the amount their records would show was in it prior to the spill. I am in the process of filing a request under the Public Information Act for this information.


The Federation has monitored this site for several years now and will continue to do so with special attention to the effects of the spill on the stream and Crab Creek. In addition, the Federation intends to monitor all cleanup efforts and enforcement actions taken or proposed in response to the spill, and will keep our members apprised of these efforts as they unfold. . Prior to the spill, the Federation ranked Crab Creek as the 3rd most impaired waterway on the South River behind Church Creek and Broad Creek.
As always, we are grateful to the vigilant citizens who help us keep an eye on the River and its watershed, and encourage anyone witnessing or suspecting harmful environmental practices to contact us immediately and voice their concerns so that we may take speedy action to preserve and protect the South River.


Crab Creek final pic for newsletter

My Time at the South River Federation by Rob PavlikRob

Having never worked at a nonprofit before I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got my internship at SRF; it seemed like an awesome opportunity to learn about restoration and monitoring. The scientist in me was excited to find out what kind of things I would be doing in the field, yet I was also keen on seeing how a nonprofit organization like SRF operates.

I can still remember my first day. I arrived early and found the office dimly lit. I wasn’t sure what to do since there didn’t seem to be anyone there yet, so I sat down and began to look through some of the informational brochures. While reading about the South River’s water quality in one of the report cards, I heard a noise and looked up to find a cute yellow lab coming towards me. As an avid dog lover, nothing could have been more comforting on my first day than to be greeted by a dog. After giving the dog a few good scratches behind the ears, I got up and began walking down the hall with the yellow lab as my tour guide. After peeking into a few empty rooms, I finally met Jennifer and Josh. They were both very welcoming and alleviated any first day nervousness I was still feeling. Josh then took me to a few of the Federation’s restoration projects, some of which were still being constructed. It amazed me to see how many different projects there were, as well as the amount of work and coordination it took to create them.