about south river federation

Federation Blog

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.


Enjoy this slide show about the South River Federation by summer intern Natasha Rathlev.

On Saturday, March 23rd, Homestead Gardens was the place to be in the South River watershed. Thank you to Homestead Gardens for hosting “One Shell of a Party” during their Spring Open House, which was appropriately themed Cherish the Chesapeake. Surrounded by a Chesapeake Bay mural, flowers, music, auction items, and great music, 300+ South River Federation supporters had an enjoyable evening bidding on a wide variety of items graciously donated to help us raise funds to continue our work to protect, preserve, restore, and celebrate the South River!

Scott Hymes and Joe Glumsic got the party started by playing great music throughout the night. Thank you to Scott Hymes for not only playing music, but also for being a great auctioneer! The Palate Pleasers served delicious culinary delights to all the guests. Katcef Brothers, Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits, and Chesapeake Bay Roasting Co. provided the beverages for the evening. And in true half shell form, John and Lori Orme of the West River provided and shucked the oysters for the event. We even had some oysters from Harness Creek!

Ron Tate was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award for his dedicated service to the Federation as a RiverWatcher, oyster grower, and more. John Flood was presented with the South River Hero Award for his lifetime dedication to the South River Federation. Ron Bowen also received the award for his leadership in helping Anne Arundel County identify its road map to restoration. The Don Riddle Corporate Stewardship award was presented to St. John Properties for their restoration of their site along Broad Creek which includes the cleanup of an old dump site.              

We could not have had a successful event without all the hard work of our Auction Chair, John McElderry, the entire auction planning committee and every single dedicated volunteer.

A huge thank you to everyone who made it happen, especially our 2013 Sponsors!

Rockfish, $2,500: BB&T; Mary & Barry Gossett

Osprey, $1,500: Flood Brothers Marine Consultants

Canvasback, $1,000: Oak Grove Marina; Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Sandy Spring Bank; Severn Savings Bank; GreenVest; Lesley & Gary Geisel; Betty & John McElderry; Kent McNew; Victoria and Michael Wallace; Cindy & Westbrook Murphy; Tracey Wroe; Jenn & Ray Wulff

Terrapin $500: Lee Ann & Charlie Candon; Rhonda & Geoff Kaplan; Katherine & Preben Ostberg; Wade Lawn & Landscapes

Blue Crab, $250: Dan Cumberland; Jean & Dale Legal; Frances & John Koontz; Gayle & Dennis Murray; Annapolis Canoe and Kayak; Family Veterinary Clinic, Waterfront Marine


A special thank you also goes to:

Homestead Gardens ;  Rice Graphics Layout & Design; Palate Pleasers; Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits; Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company; Saucy Salamander;
Let it Be, Photography by Michael A. Sheehan


The South River Federation was built on the shoulders of dedicated and caring community members who wanted the best for our river and community.  Looking back on how far our organization has come over the years, it is with heavy hearts we take a moment to reflect on the recent passing of Ross Voorhees, a former South River Federation Board Member.

Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and neighbors for their loss and thoughts are with them during this ever so difficult time.  Ross was a very special person and we wanted to celebrate and share all the good he has done for his community.  To say he was loved by his friends and family was an understatement. Close friend, neighbor, and fellow former Federation Board Member Missy Cassidy captured the essence of Ross’s spirit in her memories of a close friend:

Just last Friday Ross came rushing across the backyard with a huge smile on his face. Once again he came over to share his catch bringing us two beautiful rockfish fillets. Another great afternoon on his boat and out enjoying the river. He was always ready to share his happiness.

Ross will always be the guy that never held back when trying to make the world a better place. He served more than once as President of his community and on the Lee Farm Conservancy Board, one time as its President guiding the organization through some turbulent moments. He served on the South River Federation Board. Members will remember seeing him work hard at the fish frys- setting up, cooking, cleaning up,- always with a great smile. He loved helping with then annual river snapshot, and pushed hard for communities to participate in the water quality testing. He encouraged new people to join the Federation and help improve the river in any way they could. Ross never hesitated to show up at hearings to speak up and work for sensible land use decisions. He helped John Flood to be sure development on Warehouse Creek was not excessive by participating in the zoning appeal hearing.

Ross was an environmental engineer and truly believed in using science to make the best case, which is part of what drew him to Federation. Plus, he loved being on the water whether it was fishing, boating, canoeing - if anyone had an idea for going out, he was up for it.  He loved birds and wildlife. He understood the importance of creating and caring for the shorelines. He was genuinely worried about the decline of the river and the creeks in the last 20 years. He never sat by: he went to work to help make a difference.

To us, Ross was a friend, an advocate, and a leader - but he was also a caring father and family member. He has left us, his neighbors and friends, with a world that is a better place because of his efforts. Our hearts are heavy with the sadness of his passing. We will remember him fondly because of his enthusiasm and the way he put words into action to help others. He was always willing to lend a hand. He was a good friend to many- we will remember him with love and respect- and always, with that happy kid smile on his face.

Thank you Ross, for all that you have done for the South River and our community.

Information on Celebration of Life Services can be found here.


What do you do with that large grassy area that no one uses and is annoying to mow?  Turn it into a forest!  That’s just what the Segelhorsts of Gambrills did!

John Segelhorst met Lara Mulvaney, a Master Watershed Steward, through their sons’ boy scout troop.  They talked about how he was spending a lot time to maintain an unused portion of his lawn.  Lara suggested that he return the grass to the woods.  Since it was fall and a great time to plant, that’s just what he did!

Lara and John quickly got to work.  Armed with a Watershed Stewards Mini Grant from the South River Federation, the duo were able to extend the project even further selecting over 70 native trees and a selection of ferns.  Additionally, by getting free woodchips from the Naval Academy, the Segelhorsts were able to spend even more funds on the trees.

A project like this may seem daunting, but John had a good team on his side.  He used the expertise of the Master Watershed Stewards to select the plants and called in Severn Grove Landscaping to do the planting and place the mulch.  According to John, “the way we did it was great, got a crew for the whole day for a fixed price. We were able to do whole job at reasonable price with WSA’s connections plus grants.”

Why did the Segelhorst decide to do this?  They had a large, unused, lawn that collected stormwater runoff from a neighbor’s property.  There was lots of ponding and the grass just looked bad, not to mention the runoff was bad for the Bay. In the end, the new wooded area handled the recent rain storms just fine!

By reducing his lawn and converting it woodland, John now has almost a half acre less of grass to mow. Lara added that by not mowing as much, he is also reducing pollution and the amount of money he would spend maintaining it.  Like John said, extending the woods “just looks nice” in an area where it doesn’t make sense to have a lawn.  Plus, his neighbors all thought it looked great!

If you’re considering doing the same thing at your home, here is some advice:  Target the area of your lawn that you do not use first.  If you have an existing wooded area, start there.  It is easiest to extend an existing wooded area.  Start with a few big trees and over time connect trees, extend the area, and add smaller plants. Lara suggested “stacking” – place larger trees in the corner of your lot or next to an existing wooded area. Then, plant smaller trees and work your way down to shrubs.  This softens the area and gives it a natural look.

John warns to be careful with your calculations – it’s easy to under estimate just how much mulch or how many trees you may need.  If you plant in the fall, patience is a virtue.  Your “stick farm” will look much nicer in the spring.  John has lived in his home for 20 years and wishes he would have done this sooner.  Last but not least, don’t do it alone!  Go to www.aawsa.org and contact the Watershed Steward nearest you or contact the South River Federation for guidance.