Monday 22 January 2018

Chester Riverkeeper

The Chester River Association RIVERKEEPER® is a voice for the Chester River and an advocate for protecting and restoring this invaluable natural resource. The RIVERKEEPER® provides a vigilant presence on the Chester, a guardian for its living resources, and an outspoken advocate for restoring what has been lost. The Chester River Association hired the first Chester RIVERKEEPER® in September 2002.

Chester RIVERKEEPER® Isabel Junkin Hardesty became the Riverkeeper in November 2013. Isabel first joined the CRA team as Policy Specialist in June 2011. She has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a B.S. in Animal Behavior from Bucknell University. She previously worked for Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC and for Midshore RIVERKEEPER® Conservancy in Easton, MD.

The Chester RIVERKEEPER® represents the public and our right to clean water, insisting on the enforcement of all laws that protect the Chester and empowering citizens to act for the health of their river. CRA has made remarkable strides, both in creating an informed and involved citizenry and in advocating for the health of the Chester River watershed.

Water Quality Monitoring

The Chester River Association routinely tests the water quality of the Chester River and its tributaries. The Chester Testers conduct water quality testing in the river's tributary streams and rivers twice a month year-round. Every two weeks from April though October, CRA staff and volunteers conduct water quality testing of the main channel of the Chester River at 20 sites between Crumpton and Langford Bay. We test for total nitrogen, total phosphorous, chlorophyll-a, dissolved oxygen, and clarity. Grades are assigned based on a multi-threshold grading system standardized by the Mid-Atlantic Tributary Assessment Coalition.

Chester Testers

Chester Testers are the Chester River Association's team of citizen scientists. These intrepid volunteers are critical to CRA's effort to monitor our river's health. Currently, 52 volunteers donate over 2,000 hours each year, collecting and analyzing water samples from 26 sites throughout the watershed.

These dedicated, trained volunteers test water quality parameters at 26 sites on tributaries of the Chester River, twice a month. Chester Testers follow specific guidelines and procedures collecting samples in the field and analyzing them in the lab, assuring the highest quality data is collected. Testers also attend yearly quality assurance education and training and receive logistical support provided by our partners at LaMotte Company of Chestertown.

Report Card

Each year, the Chester River Association collects the data from our water quality testing program and prepares a report card to share the current health of our river, creeks, and streams with the Chester River communities. By raising awareness of the sources of pollution that impact our river, we can better advocate for its health.

The Chester River Report Card comes out every spring and grades the river's water quality based on testing done the previous year. The grades of individual creeks and streams are derived from water quality test results submitted by CRA's team of Chester Testers. Twice each month throughout the year, Chester Testers collect water samples from their assigned test sites and complete a series of water quality tests. Results are communicated to CRA's Watershed Coordinator, who reviews and maintains the data in our Bio-Monitoring Database

Marylanders Grow Oysters

The Chester River Association leads the Marylanders Grow Oysters (MGO) program on the Chester River. Hosting oyster cages gives people an opportunity to clean up their local waters; provides an educational opportunity for people to learn about oysters and our river ecosystem; and increases the number of oysters we plant in the Chester.

Report Pollution

Chester Riverkeeper Isabel Junkin handles the majority of the inquiries with assistance from our Watershed Coordinator. We monitor violations or emergencies and work with local, state, and federal authorities to ensure compliance with the law.


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