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October 18, 2018

Two Leading Anne Arundel Watershed Organizations Plan to Join Forces

(Edgewater, MD) – South River Federation and West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc. plan to consolidate their two nonprofit organizations, pending approval from a membership vote later this month. The unified organization will be named the Arundel Rivers Federation and focus on using science, restoration and community action to make the South, West and Rhode Rivers cleaner and healthier.

“Our two organizations have worked closely together for years,” said Tom Reinert, the Chair of South River Federation’s Board of Directors. “Formally consolidating the two organizations into the Arundel Rivers Federation will benefit the health of both river systems. We will reduce administrative costs, strengthen our restoration capacity and provide our two Riverkeepers with greater clout to protect, preserve and restore the rivers we love.”

The South River Federation Board of Directors voted to proceed with the consolidation at its October 17 meeting after the West/Rhode Riverkeeper Board approved the consolidation on October 15. The Federation’s annual membership meeting on October 30 will be the final step for approval. At that meeting, members will get a preview of the new look and feel of the Arundel Rivers Federation, including a new logo. Supporters of the West and Rhode Riverkeeper will meet at Pirate’s Cove Restaurant in Galesville on Thursday, November 8, from 7 to 9 p.m.

“The West, Rhode and South Rivers share communities, share the water and aquatic life that mixes between the rivers and we even share the same elected officials,” said John Wyss, Chair of the Board of Directors for West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc. “We deeply value the history of both legacy organizations, and our passion and commitment to local waterways remains.”

Arundel Rivers will keep the local focus of its legacy organizations by maintaining their two Riverkeepers, supported by existing volunteer networks and local watershed boards for both the South and the West/Rhode Rivers. Organization leaders are working with Waterkeeper Alliance to update the licenses of the South Riverkeeper and the West/Rhode Riverkeeper to reflect the planned consolidation.

Both organizations say the consolidation will benefit them in numerous ways. The two organizations list four primary reasons for joining forces:

To share services and administration, and therefore benefit from an economy of scale that means each and every dollar will go further;
To do bigger and better restoration projects in the South, West and Rhode River and across southern Anne Arundel County;
To reach more people about how they can change behaviors in ways that will benefit our rivers and green spaces; and
To have greater political influence to work with elected leaders to enact policies that will protect our natural resources and our quality of life, such as development of the Mayo peninsula.

“For everyone in this area who wants clean water, this is the best thing to happen in a decade,” said Bob Gallagher, the founder of West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc. “The South, West and Rhode Rivers have always been closely linked, and this move will result in more resources to restore these three beautiful rivers.”

Arundel Rivers will be the largest regional watershed organization in Anne Arundel County, spanning the watersheds of three rivers including nearly 53,000 acres.


The South River Federation’s mission is to protect, preserve, restore and celebrate the South River and its interdependent living community.

West/Rhode Riverkeeper works with our community to enforce environmental law, promote restoration and advocate for better environmental policy.