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Federation Blog

Edgewater, MD

April 1, 2015


Yesterday marks the 13th sighting of the newest invasive species to call the South River its new home: the Jedi of the Sea, the narwhal.

These unicorns of the ocean are toothed whales with a large “tusk” that normally live in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Russia, and Canada. The frigid Maryland winter and frozen South River created the ideal narwhal habitat and could be the reason for the migration. Narwhals primarily consume squid, fish, and shrimp, but narwhals are gobbling up the cancerous catfish found in the headwaters of the South River. These inventors of the shish kabob travel in pods ranging in size from 10-100 individuals and communicate with one another using squeals and clicks. Several narwhals have been spotted in hot pursuit of boats, possibly mistaking the engine noises for other narwhal friends.

The Federation worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to create this educational video about the negative impacts from the invasion of narwhals. Scientists are rushing to develop an approach to control the alien invaders and are hoping to employ new research about the common genetic link between all invasive species. Kate Fritz, Executive Director of the South River Federation, remarked, “We urge anyone who spots a narwhal to report the sighting to our office. Although we are pleased to see we have reached a point at which we can sustain large mammals, we don’t know the impacts on the South River ecosystem.”

                Despite the fact that there are fears of this invasive species out-competing native fish, crabs, oysters, and waterfowl as well as changing natural food webs and decreasing biodiversity, narwhals could have a positive impact on the South River. Joe Smith, an Edgewater Beach resident, saw a narwhal using its horn to spear trash. “The sea rhino filled up his horn with trash from the river and then deposited it on the shoreline. I’ve filled up three bags worth of trash just today!”

Only one question remains: will the invasive narwhal actually help restore the South River? Only time will tell.



Happy April Fool’s Day!

E.B. Furgurson III
March 22, 2015

Despite a chilly breeze coming off the river on Sunday, more than 100 people took advantage of an open house at South River Farm Park to take in the variety of outdoor options the Edgewater park has to offer.

Surrounded on three sides by water — Limestone Cove, Selby Bay and the South River — the county-owned park has hiking trails, a 300-yard sandy beach, two tidal ponds and more. It also is the site of a living shoreline installed in 1995 that has helped spawn the South River's largest area of underwater grasses.

Some chose to stroll along one path leading to the sandy beach area while others took a hike along the old farm road to a high knoll overlooking the South River at Mayo Point.

"The turnout was very gratifying," said Mike Lofton, the "Pied Piper" of public water access in Anne Arundel, which has more than 500 miles of shoreline.

He and other members of the Anne Arundel County Public Water Access Committee have for several years pushed county officials and other entities to provide more spots for the public to view and actively enjoy some of the water resources.

The county has committed to working toward having a public access point on both shores of the county's major rivers.

The South River Federation co-hosted the Sunday event after also working for years to get the county to open the park to visitors.

The pristine 170-acre wooded and meadowed peninsula on the South River is finally open on a regular, though limited, basis.

The park, formed over 30 years ago, will be open on non-holiday weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

South Riverkeeper Diana Muller delighted in showing off the soft shoreline the federation's John Flood and volunteers installed 20 years ago. It has helped stabilize what was an eroding shoreline and provided the habitat for the only patch of bay grasses regularly growing on the river.

Supporters hope to see the park open more often.

"The Department of Recreation and Parks operations make it difficult to use the property as a true park, but we hope to see some changes in the next couple of years to make that happen," Lofton said. "We will continue the crusade."


See the full article at http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ph-ac-cn-farm-park-0323-20150322,0,1142552.story

By: Maura Duffy

Thank you to everyone who attended the 10th Annual South River on the Half Shell live & silent auction! It was a spectacular event with record breaking attendance and an all-time high for item donations this year. Your combined support of our event made for "One Shell of a Party" and our best auction to date.

Highlights of the evening included Dr. Andrew Muller being presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award for his five years of technical advisory and services to the South River Federation. Erik Michelsen was presented with the South River Hero Award in appreciation of his service as Executive Director. The Don Riddle Corporate Stewardship award was presented to Holland & Knight for their legal assistance in the cleanup efforts of the Crownsville tire dump, the largest known tire dump in the state of Maryland.

A very large amount of people were involved in making this event a success and we would like to extend our gratitude to them. Thank you to our sponsors for their support of the event. Our Eagle Title sponsor this year was The Brick Companies. Other generous sponsors included: Sandy Spring Bank, BB & T Bank, Gwenn Azama & Owen Cook, John & Betty McElderry, Michael’s on the South River, Mike’s Crab House, Oak Grove Marina, Severn Savings Bank, Jean & Dale Legal, Cindy & Westbrook Murphy, Denis & Gayle Murray, The Cusack Family, Barry & Mary Gossett, Light Hall Building, Ltd., South River Boat Rentals, Annapolis Canoe & Kayak, Biohabitats, Annapolis Accounting, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, GreenVest, Joanne Decesaris, Chris Graae & Mary Kfoury, John Hepler & Heather McColl, Nancy & Herman Klin, Craig & Colleen Ligibel, Wine Cellars of Annapolis, Waterfront Marine, Family Veterinary Clinic, Chesapeake Legal Alliance, and Ginger Cove. Benefactors for the event included: Dave Aland, Will Baker, Janette & Sinclair Gearing, Marianne Smalley, Don Santa, Vicki & Mike Wallace, and David Wallace. Our honorary chairs for the event included: Lex Birney and Shelly Ford of The Brick Companies, Jamie Benoit and Chris Trumbauer of the Anne Arundel County Council, Gary Jobson, Tom Marquardt, and Delegate Heather Mizeur.

We’d also like to thank Brian & Kendra Riddle of Homestead Gardens, Palate Pleasers for catering the event, Cakes by Rachael for providing our beautiful Thomas Point Lighthouse cake, Joe Glumsic and Scott Hymes for live music, Roxane Castro for being our auctioneer, the U.S. Naval Academy Eagle Scout Midshipmen, and our other numerous volunteers.

Special thanks to Dale Legal, our auction committee chair, and everyone else on the auction committee: Gwenn Azama, Lee Ann Candon, Owen Cook, Jane Holly, Kevin Green, Bev Marcus, Denise Matteson, Lisa Michelsen, Paul Otto, and Ray Strong.

By: Maura Duffy

This week, the South River Federation hosted its first school field trip to our office.  A group of first graders from St. Anne's School of Annapolis and a group of second graders from Mills Parole Elementary School attended the field trip, with the total attending students being over thirty.

The trip was an event to denote the completion of The Water Project.  The Water Project is a partnership with both St. Anne’s and Mills Parole.  The program primarily worked after school with a group of bilingual second graders and covered topics including water quality, stormwater management, and environmental stewardship.

For the field trip, all of the students were divided into small groups.  Each group participated in an activity at six different stations throughout the day.  Stations were dedicated to a wide variety of activities such as tree planting, water quality testing, fish printing, seining, and a scavenger hunt.  The children were also able to take a ride on “Remedy,” the South River Federation’s boat.  For many of the students, this was their first time on a boat.  The children loved the experience, with most saying that the boat ride was their favorite part of the day.

Each station provided a hands-on activity for the children.  At the water quality station, students were able to test the temperature, salinity, pH, and nutrients to distinguish between river water and tap water samples.  At the seining station, seine nets were used to capture critters such as small fish and mud crabs.  A microscope connected to a laptop was available for the children to examine what they found. One of the highlights of the trip was the tree painting that the children helped us create.  With the help of our volunteers, each child painted their hand to make leaf handprints on a canvas tree trunk.  The event was capped off by a ceremonial planting of the Children's Environmental Earth Month Tree.  We would like to thank Caroline Rodriguez for coordinating this event and the Chesapeake Bay Trust for funding this event.

By: Maura Duffy

As our office becomes very busy with preparations for our annual auction, we wanted to take a step back and acknowledge the generosity and support of our local community.

Almost every day we receive auction items that have been donated from a wide variety of individuals and businesses, most of whom are local.  Numerous restaurants, music & theatre groups, boaters, photographers, artists, and more have contributed to our auction this year.  This demonstrates the appreciation and concern that the citizens of this area have for the South River, and how many people want to assist with the efforts to improve its health.  We cannot thank the local community enough for their generous support of our mission to protect, preserve, restore, and celebrate the South River and its interdependent living community.