about south river federation

On Tuesday, October 17th the Federation hosted its Annual Fall Community Meeting at the Historic London Town and Gardens. Riverkeeper Jesse Iliff presented on how the Monitoring, Advocacy and Restoration programs have worked together to help the Church Creek Initiative come full circle, as it closes with its last major Stream Restorations at Bywater and Allen Apartments.

Then, three different roundtable disscussions were held that delved deeper into the Monitoring, Advocacy and Restoration programs. Environmental Scientist Sarah Girondano led a monitoring roundtable which discussed a Research Restoration Grant the Federation received that will help monitor the water quality of Church Creek and determine the effectiveness of multiple Best Management Pratices (BMPs) in a sub-watershed. Riverkeeper Jesse Iliff lead a advocacy roundtable discussion that talked about multiple topics ranging from a Water Reporter App to his Anne Arundel County Enfocement Report. Director of Grants and Operations Jennifer Carr lead a restoration roundtable that discussed the multi-year process of design, permitting and construction as well as what restoration projects the Federation has in the pipeline. For notes from these roundtable discussions, see below. 

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 Thank you to all who came to the Fall Community Meeting!

 Monitoring Roundtable Notes:

  • What is a BMP and what do they do?
    • A BMP is a Best Management Practice and is a structure used to control stormwater
  • Are BMPs as effective as wetlands at treating runoff?
    • Depends on the type of BMP and what pollutant we are treating
  • Why don’t we just rebuild the wetlands that were here?
    • It’s very hard to convince a developer to rip up their parking lot to rebuild a historic wetland.
    • We install BMPs where space allows
  • What our research is trying to answer
    • Are certain BMPs more effective than others
    • Is there a benefit to layering BMPs in a watershed
    • How many BMPs are needed to treat a certain area
    • How much monitoring is needed to determine if they are working
    • How does restoration at different scales effect reduction


  • Experimental designFirst study of its kindFirst study of its kind
    • Paired sondes and Isco samplers
      • How much do they cost
        • $8,000 and $6,000
  • The first study of its kind
  • What other questions should we be asking
    • Are certain BMPs better with certain land uses (Commercial vs residential)
    • Should highways be sampled separately

 (Thank you to all our partners who help to make this research possible!)

Image result for smithsonian environmental research center


MCDEPMD SHADNR logo finalCBTrust


Advocacy Roundtable Notes:

  • About a year ago Jesse created the Anne Arundel County Environmental Code Enforcement Report
    • One of the largest findings showed that it’s very rare for a fine to be assessed.
      • Of 112 cases assessed, only 10% saw enforcement.
    • Most often, “Compliance Assistance” is offered (aka free legal advice).
  • Water Reporter Phone App to help crowd source information about the South River
  • How can the 1 meter resolution satellite imagery from Chesapeake Conservancy be used by the South River Federation?
    • This new satellite imagery creates a map layer of the finest resolution for all 64,000 m2 of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. It is a powerful tool that can be used in many ways: for looking at the flow of watersheds, as well as looking for restoration opportunities. For the Federation, it will be most helpful for assessing forest loss from development and assessing land use at a largesr scale.
  • Differences between fines and settlements: Fines go to the County and are put into a general fund. Settlements can be used directly for projects, WQ monitoring, etc. It also takes a lot of resources to pursue litigation/settlement. Jesse has recommended that the County keep track of fines from environmental violations and direct those to an environmental program.
  • Is the County monitoring development sites?
    • The MD Stormwater Manual has guidelines for development sites including:
      • Checklists for the site
      • Sediment and erosion controls and
      • Temporary Best Management Practices (BMPs)
    • However, many of the laws are too lenient for the BMPs. For example, sites are required to have stormwater ponds and pipes that capture rain and sediment at a rate of 1 inch every 24 hours, which is classified as a 100 year storm. However, as many Marylanders know this amount of rain happens quite frequently.
  • 2 focuses: Improve existing regulations AND Compliance with existing regulations
    • With the existing resources! (aka Jesse)
  • How do we get this information to the Press?
    • It has been sent to the Capital and Bay Journal, but so far they havenet been too interested. It needs to be distilled into something shorter and more digestable.
  • Crab Creek Initiative vs. Church Creek Initiative
    • We’ve learned many lessons about presenting our restorations and about permitting, and the agencies that we have worked with have learned more about the types of projects that we do that permitting should be less of a stumbling block this time around.
    • In terms of area, they are similar in size. However, Crab Creek has less impervious surface and fewer small tributaries. It has two main tributaries, one which has issues with erosion and one which is plagued with a trash problem.
    • At the moment we are getting pieces in place so we can go forward with funding.
  • How do you address septic pollution?
    • Anne Arundel County actually produces more septic pollution proportionally than many other counties. Hogan appealed the law that required Best Available Technology, although it still holds for the Critical Area. Jesse has lobbied to bring the law back, however the legislature isn’t open to it. While septic pollution is about 2-8% of the N to the Bay as a whole, some areas (or “hot spots”) are much more affected.


Restoration Roundtable Notes:

  • How do people find out about our restoration projects?
    • Facebook (most common)
    • Newsletters
    • Mailings
    • Plantings/projects/events in their communities
    • Twitter (people are less connected here/like this less as a resource) 
South River Federation Restoration Projects
Yay! The Federation constructed the last 2 major stream restorations in Church Creek (Bywater and Allen Apartments)
Plus, we installed some great small projects like St. Anne's rain garden, Bacon Ridge micro-wetlands, and Homeport Reforestation
Upcoming Year Next Year In the Pipeline
Upper Watershed Upper Watershed Upper Watershed
Bacon Ridge - Large Stream Restoration Gravely Large Stream Restoration (Flat Creek)                       ???
Middle Watershed Middle Watershed Middle Watershed
South River Farm Park Bioretention London Town Stormwater/Bioretention CAT South Swale Retrofit (Glebe Bay)
Killarney House Stream Restoration (Broad Creek)   WAGP Planning (Crab Creek )
Turnbull Living Oyster Shoreline (Glebe Bay)   London Town Stream Restoration (Almshouse Creek)
Health Department Stream & BMP (Broad Creek)   Jehl - Phase 1 (Broad Creek)
London Town Reforestation   Annapolis Landing Stream Restoration (Beards Creek)
United Church of Christ Pond Retrofit (Church Creek)   Health Dept. Phase 2 (Broad Creek)
    Beechnut Kennels (Glebe Bay)
Leadership Collaborative Projects Leadership Collaborative Projects
Tri-State Marine Wetland (Tracy's Creek)   Herrington Harbour Stream/Shoreline
Twin Harbours Shoreline, Magothy River    
Holly Hill Harbor - West/Rhode River