about south river federation

Jesse Iliff named Riverkeeper® for the South River


jesse headshot


The South River Federation is excited to announce Jesse Iliff will start Oct. 1, 2015 as the new RIVERKEEPER ® for the South River.

The South RIVERKEEPER® serves as the eyes, ears, and voice for the South River and is a constant presence on the river.  In conjunction with the Board of Directors and the Executive Director, the South RIVERKEEPER® engages in legal, legislative, and policy advocacy at the state and local levels and provides ongoing robust education and outreach to our communities. In addition, the Riverkeeper manages tidal and non-tidal water quality monitoring, and coordinates with Chesapeake Bay scientists to provide scientific assessment of the River’s health.           

The South River Federation was founded in 1999, and is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an umbrella non-profit that sponsors over 200 organizations worldwide.  Specifically, the South RIVERKEEPER is a member of the Waterkeepers Chesapeake chapter. Mr. Iliff, a consumer protection attorney, has been assisting clients on a pro-bono basis through the Chesapeake Legal Alliance. Some such efforts include securing a permit for a living shoreline project on the Severn River from the Maryland Department of Environment. He also provided counsel for the Magothy River Association on fostering stakeholder consensus with respect to proposed development activity along the Magothy's largest tributary, Cattail Creek.

A graduate of Towson University, Mr. Iliff obtained his Juris Doctor with a certificate of concentration in environmental law from the University of Maryland, Carey School of Law in 2010. While in law school, Mr. Iliff earned a Public Service Award for designing a pro-bono project for environmental law students. The students assisted in litigation regarding unsound wastewater treatment practices by surface mining companies in West Virginia. He also served as co-executive of the Maryland Environmental Law Society. In addition, as a law student Mr. Iliff interned with the Office of the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit.

Mr. Iliff is a South River watershed resident in Hillsmere Shores and enjoys softball, boating, hiking and cross country skiing with his wife Abbey and their son Baxter. Mr. Iliff will be the Federation’s 3rd Riverkeeper.

“I'm thrilled to be a part of such an effective, transformative organization and am eager to get started, said Mr. Iliff and “I look forward to building a bridge between the magnificent South River and each and every member of its watershed. In addition, he “welcomes input from anyone with concerns for the river and interest in helping us at the Federation improve the river’s health.” 

“Jesse brings valuable advocacy skills to the table that we will need to create the community-wide partnerships so necessary if we are to make the South River swimmable again within a generation, said Kate Fritz, Executive Director of South River Federation. “His extensive knowledge about the Chesapeake Bay allows us to continue to build on our strengths in estuary science and water quality monitoring, she added.

Contact: Kate Fritz, Executive Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 410-224-3802

             Jesse Iliff, Riverkeeper, can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The South River Federation is a 501 (c)(3) whose mission is to protect, preserve, restore and celebrate the South River, a ten-mile long tributary of the Chesapeake Bay just south of Annapolis, Maryland with a watershed population of approximately 66,000 residents.  The Federation employs seven full-time staff members, several seasonal technicians, and numerous contractors.