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July 26, 2023

A message from your Riverkeeper, Elle Bassett

Dear Supporters, 

Can you believe August is here?! My first summer here with Arundel Rivers Federation is flying by and we have been very busy this season! I am out conducting water quality monitoring weekly on our waterways, which has given me the opportunity to better understand and know these rivers that we all love so much. 

Check out some summer waterway updates below: 

Water quality! It’s been a fairly good year for clarity so far. I am still seeing over 3 feet of clarity at the mouth of our waterways in July- that’s great! This might be due to the fact that our rainfall amount is below average compared to previous years at this time. Maryland is actually experiencing our 5th driest year on record since 1895! Something we do have a lot of though- jellyfish! I started seeing our jelly nemeses as early as May this year. This is also likely due to below average rainfall. Oxygen in the South River in particular continues to be poor, especially as we move up river and away from the mouth of the river. Too many nutrients entering our waterways can cause increased algal blooms and low bottom oxygen levels. So what are we doing about it at Arundel Rivers? In addition to constantly working to implement restoration practices that reduce nutrient and sediment runoff, we are also going to expand our monitoring program in 2024 to include nutrient and algal monitoring! This will provide more data as to where we might be seeing hot spots or areas to focus our restoration efforts on in the future. We are still fundraising to cover the costs associated with adding these testing parameters. Please consider donating to support these efforts. 

Our bacteria program is also a main priority during the summer months. This program, which includes weekly testing at 20 sites within our watershed, will continue through Labor Day weekend. I also have exciting news for this program- Arundel Rivers Federation received funding to expand testing at frequently failing sites. Our goal is to identify potential sources of bacteria so that we might address those threats through restoration or education. 

The Honey Dipper Pumpout Boat is fully operational after some much needed TLC earlier this spring. Our captains have pumped over 2,000 gallons from vessels over the past 2 months. The Honey Dipper runs seasonally and will be pulled for the 2023 season this coming Fall. Looking to schedule your pump out? Fill out our form here

Finally, although we are not as tiresome as we are during the legislative session, I am always advocating for our waterways, and I continue to provide public comments and testimony on local bills, ordinances, variances, and planning and zoning projects that may have downstream impacts. Most notably, Arundel Rivers provided a second set of comments in opposition to the Glebe Heights subdivision application, of which approval was withheld for a second time. Follow us on social media for sign on opportunities! 

Don’t forget to wave if you see us out on Remedy or Hanna Green! See you on the River!

Your South, West, and Rhode Riverkeeper, 

Elle Bassett