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Federation Blog

The Federation had a blast participating in St. Andrews School Earth Day Festival on April 21st! We continued the St. Andrew's tradition of planting trees during the festival, by adding to our "buffer" planting on the back edge of the school ground. A buffer planting protects streams (in this case Gingerville Creek) from a point source run-off (the water shedding off the school's ball fields). Other SRF staff were teaching students about stormwater pollution using a watershed model and exploring how pollution can affect the food web by building a representative web made from string. Students also did a little sleuthing using maps and photos to learn how their school yard was affecting Gingerville and Church Creeks.

Last year, the Federation installed a large rain garden on the Church Creek side of the school, solving a flooding issue on their playground in the process. Next week, St. Andrews students are coming out to plant shoreline grasses (spartina alterniflora) and release juvenile striped bass, both of which they have raised in the clasroom! View Earth Day Festival photos on Facebook here.

One day while monitoring our non-tidal site in the Arundel on the Bay community, we met a nice woman walking her dog. She stopped to talk with us for a while and agreed to be one of our South River People. She was hesistant at first, explaining that she wasn’t all too knowledgeable about the River and suggested I talk with a friend of hers instead. After I told her that this was less about knowledge and more about getting to know our neighbors and learning about individuals' experiences with the River, she was happy to participate. She shared that she doesn't get out on the river much, but that she loves to walk around the neighborhood. She still finds the water views very beautiful and calming after 7 years of living in the area with her husband and dog, Bo. She even takes the initiative to pick up trash every so often.

“The Chesapeake Bay and the River and efforts to clean them up is absolutely wonderful. Humanity has not paid enough attention to the environment. If we get a few people to not throw down trash and to clean up after their puppies, we might be able to help things” ~Sondra Shiles

Thanks for sharing, Sondra. We greatly enjoyed talking with you!

Thank you to the Girl Scouts that came out to help us plant the "Upper Gulley" at Camp Woodlands. Anne Arundel County is starting on the more intensive restoration of the lower gulley but thanks to a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the County's Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, the Federation restored the upper portion of the gully in late 2015. Both projects together will address a significant point source for Broad Creek on the South River, our 2nd most polluted tributary. The girls helped advocate for the initial support and funding of the project. They also came out and helped us plant the newly constructed sand and gravel step pools with wonderful herbaceous plants such as lizard tongue, bullrush, and Jack-in-the-pulpit.

We were under the gun, with an unexpected late freeze forcast for the following night, so had to get all the plants in the ground. Our super volunteers, Annie Fuller and Chris Gordon also joined the planting crew and we were able to finish just in the nick of time! A journalist from the Chesapeake Bay Program came out and did a photo essay as well! See Will Parson's photos here.

 
 
 

Thank you St. Mary's College Alumni for helping us remove invasive plants on Saturday, April 23rd. They completed their mission despite the cold and rain! The hardy volunteers came out to Historic London Town and Gardens on our beautiful South River and snipped, raked and hauled away a thorny mess of vines that were choking out our native plants.

Native plants not only provide a significant amount of food and habitat for wildlife, but they often have root systems that are critical to filtering polluted water running off the land. We are lucky to have such great volunteers! View more photos on Facebook here.

Rain and gloomy weather came a little earlier than we expected last time we went tidal monitoring, but we enjoyed running into some folks who were walking along the shore and taking advantage of the water (after the rain had stopped).

And wouldn’t you know it, our first run in was with one of the most fascinating people in the South River watershed, one of the Federation's Founders, John Flood (also known as the Godfather of Maryland's Living Shorelines).

As we worked to take water quality measurements, I heard Flood's voice from the shore as he called out to us and then over to a construction team that was replacing a pier to his right. His pride for the Federation was undeniable as he described our monitoring program.  One of the only Riverkeeper organizations in the country to have a program as robust as ours, he explained.

After years of dedication to healing the river, Flood is as active as ever. We found him planting shoreline grasses for one of his friends on Crab Creek, who he had worked for since he was a teenager. "Keep doing good work," he yelled as we headed off to our next monitoring site.  I felt like yelling the same back at him.