about south river federation

Federation Blog

November 30, 2017
The Board of Directors of the South River Federation is pleased to announce that Elizabeth (Liz) Buxton has been named its new Executive Director.The Federation has grown rapidly in the last five years, increasing its accomplishments within the watershed and expanding community support. 
“We feel very fortunate to have found a leader with extensive experience in directing and managing environmental non-profits to lead the Federation during this exciting growth phase,” said Tom Reinert, South River Federation Board Chair. 
Liz brings 15 years of experience leading several Maryland non-profit conservation organizations including Maryland Environmental Trust, Scenic Maryland and Valleys Planning Council in Towson. She also served as a cultural resource consultant for Maryland State Highways Administration. Liz most recently served as Executive Director of Bluegrass Land Conservancy in Kentucky, where she oversaw the merger of two regional land trusts. A graduate of the College of Charleston in South Carolina, she earned a B.A. in Fine Arts with a concentration in Architectural History and Preservation. 
“I am thrilled to return to Maryland to lead the Federation's effort to restore and celebrate the South River”, Buxton said. “I look forward to working with the community to build on the Federation’s past successes and continue to expand its programs to improve water quality with science-driven projects and education. I am honored to serve as the next executive director of such an effective, high impact organization”. 
With more than 20 years working in the environmental non-profit management field, Liz has demonstrated success in several key areas including strategic planning, fundraising, financial management, volunteer engagement, and special event planning. During her tenure as Director of Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), Liz facilitated the permanent protection of 12,800 acres of open space with over 100 conservation easements.
Throughout her career, she has always been focused on enhancing and protecting natural, historic and scenic resources for present and future generations. Liz has a working knowledge of both land and water conservation issues including Watershed Improvement Plans, easements and the long-term stewardship of natural and water resources. 
A native of the Tidewater region of Virginia, Liz calls Maryland home and will reside in the Annapolis area with her family and dog, Raven. She plays competitive tennis and enjoys hiking, sailing and all things water related. Liz’s first day on the job will be January 2, 2018.

How is the Sanctuary Reef Doing?

Enquiring minds want to know. Yet, the question isn't easy to answer. We have done bottom samples along the reef and can tell that the top layer has live oysters and seems healthy. Still, it is hard to understand how the reef is growing and how tall the oyster part of the reef has grown. Eventually, we will need a research scuba diver to survey the reef in the winter when the water is clear.

In the meantime, we are fortunate that Nautical Solutions International Inc (NSI Inc.) is our neighbor across the parking lot from the Federation. They own a side sonar and the charting software necessary to represent the reef as a 3D model. Their company not only helps survey for living shorelines and waterways that need to be dredged, but they also help chart new island topography in Hawaii (which is changing due to lava flow) and have helped identify shipwrecks. They even helped with an FBI murder investigation!

We hired NSI Inc. (thanks for the neighborly rate!)  to survey the reef and the shoreline along Turnbull Estates where we are installing a living shoreline and hope to include oyster reef balls. We needed a very detailed survey of the shallows along the shoreline to figure out if the oyster reef balls needed to be installed from a boat or from the shore.

Glebe MGO Drop Off Site

The above image shows a 3 dimension rendering of the NOAA chart of the the South River Oyster Sanctuary Reef where our 80 Marylanders Grows Oysters (MGO) drop off the oysters they care for during their first year of life. The reef was placed on a sand bar island in 2 feet of water. Substrate was put down to keep the oysters from sinking into the bottom and suffocating.

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. 

Francesca King is the newest addition to the South River Federation. As our new Office Administrator and Program Assistant, she is excited to bring her passion and skills to the Federation.


Francesca grew up on the South River, playing and swimming on its shores in Hillsmere. She left the water for the mountains when she went to college in North Carolina at Appalachian State University. Throughout college, she spent her summers back in Annapolis working with the Box of Rain Foundation and as Zulu the pirate aboard the Sea Gypsy

Everyone loves to see oyster restoration in the South River, millions of spat on shell being poured into the river is a beloved sight -- but where does this process start?

Believe it or not, in a way, this fascinating process starts with YOU! When you go to a restaurant or eat oysters at home, you can make sure leftover shell gets recycled for use in oyster restoration projects. Find resturants that recycle their shell and public shell drop offs here. Once these shells have been collected (usually by our larger partners, like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Oyster Recovery Partnership) they are aged for at least a year. The aged shell then goes through a process called "shaking" to remove large debris (dirt, decaying lemon juice and cocktail sauce, etc.). They are cleaned once more before being placed in large setting tanks, at which point they are ready for some oyster larvae!