Monday 27 May 2019

Severn Riverkeeper

The mission of the Severn RIVERKEEPER® is to protect and restore the Severn River for families and future generations. Its goal is to reduce pollution, muddy runoff, contamination, and loss of habitat so that the Severn is removed from EPA’s “impaired waterways” list and is once again safe and swimmable.

Severn Riverkeeper Fred Kelly is an environmental attorney with over 30 years of experience. He began his environmental career as the first attorney for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. His defeat of the nuclear power plant proposed for Douglas Point on the Potomac adjacent to the most important Striped Bass spawning area on the East Coast and the five-year moratorium are credited with saving the Chesapeake Striped Bass fishery. Fred launches the Severn Riverkeeper boat from his home on Saltworks Creek where he resides with his wife, Nancy. Fred has a B.A. in English from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore.



Severn Riverkeeper concentrates on repairing degraded streams and shorelines to reduce pollution, erosion, and increase wildlife habitat. We believe if you fix the streams and shores, you will fix the river -- "Saving the Severn One Creek at a Time." This strategy has resulted in several projects around Saltworks and Clements Creeks, concentrating efforts on an area to make it as healthy as possible and creating the best chance for wildlife to re-enter this habitat. Also, it allows a model for the government agencies and funding sources see the benefits of restoration methods. We are now expanding our reach to the entire Severn River.

The process of building major restoration projects is a lengthy one. It often takes years to get funding and permits to construct a project. The bigger it is, the harder it is to get everything together. For the Cabin Branch stream restoration, it was a three-year process. Smaller projects are much easier and can be completed in about a year.


In order to assess the Severn’s water quality we established a monitoring program throughout the summer months, in which we monitor 15 sampling stations every 1-2 weeks. We measure dissolved oxygen as this is a major threat to habitats in this area of the Bay. We also test for salinity, water clarity and temperature. In addition to the water quality measurements, we monitor yellow perch larvae in the upper Severn in the spring in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center.


As professional advocates, the staff of the Severn Riverkeeper Program works full time to protect and restore the Severn River. We advocate for compliance with environmental laws, respond to citizen complaints, identify problems that affect the Severn, and devise appropriate remedies to address the problems. We are especially concerned with facilitating private citizen empowerment to ensure that existing laws designed to protect the river are actually being complied with, that we raise awareness and involvement in activities that can improve the river and that there is better collaboration and synergy between the many people and groups that are active on the river.


We integrate education experiences with our restoration construction projects. This education component is often vital to the success of the restoration project. We immerse school children in the creation of viable ecosystems and provide hands-on education on the importance of healthy streams to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. With this level of physical involvement, children and their parents develop a sense of participation and ownership in the finished projects that we feel truly fosters stewardship of the resources. To that end, we have developed partnerships with Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center and the Annapolis Maritime Museum.


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