Friday 23 February 2018

Q&A With Assateague Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips: Large-Scale Poultry Operations ‘Raising A Lot Of Concerns’ On Shore

Kathy Phillips has been on the front lines of the ongoing debate between the region's enviornmentalist and agriculture advocates for years as the Assateague Coastkeeper and as the head of the Assateague Coastal Trust. 

Phillips says finding the balance between preserving and protecting the region's natural resources and not over-regulating one of the shore's biggest and longest standing industries is often frustrating and difficult. But in recent months, new voices speaking out against large-industrial scale farms popping up on the shore have joined the debate and she believes those voices could be a factor in making the type of strides and progress that environmentalists have been longing for. 

Read more: The Dispatch, May 12, 2016

Think Progess: Coal Power Plant Accused Of Contaminating Neighbors’ Well Water With Carcinogens

Frances Kerr and James Tinker can’t discuss why is it that Dominion Virginia Power, a utility company, bought their nine-acre property. They may want to describe their experience with the Bremo Power Station and its three coal ash pits in detail, but doing so would be illegal. “All we can actually tell people is that Dominion Power and us came to an agreement, and they admit no liability,” Kerr told ThinkProgress.

So Kerr — who a week ago moved out of a property that state documents say is worth more than $100,000 — won’t discuss how Pat Calvert, an activist with James Riverkeeper, knocked on her door last year and offered to test her well water. She won’t discuss that, as state documents obtained by ThinkProgress show, small levels of various potentially toxic substances not normally found in nature, including hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen that is often detected in coal ash, were found in her well. She even avoids saying that the Southern Environmental Law Center, which only represents organizations, put her in contact with a lawyer that helped her and her husband navigate the process of negotiating with Dominion.

“We think that there is a fairly strong concern about the fact that they are leaking into groundwater and they will be leaking into surface water or affecting surface water,” Calvert of Riverkeeper, told ThinkProgress. “There are alternatives open to Dominion and we are not hearing that yet.”

Read more: Think, May 10, 2016

This year marks the sixth year for the Waterkeeper Alliance and Toyota partnership for SPLASH, a series of events that take place on waterways across the United States to support local Waterkeeper organizations. The events engage community members, outdoor enthusiasts, and people new to the water to participate in recreational activities on the water -- swimming, paddling, kayaking, fishing and more. 

This year, a record 13 events will take place from Los Angeles to Miami to Michigan. Four of the 13 events will take place in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. For more information on SPLASH, check out this Waterkeepers Alliance video

Here are the local events - mark your calendars!

  • Paddle Potomac! Paddle Shenandoah!
    June 8 – 19, 2016 | To benefit Potomac Riverkeeper Network

    Paddle Potomac! Paddle Shenandoah! is our second annual ten-day community outreach event that provides novice to advanced paddlers opportunities to spend a few days or just a few hours on the river, a rare opportunity to enjoy three National “water trails” that wind through a spellbinding corridor linked by land, water and history. Paddle Potomac! Paddle Shenandoah! is partnering with the National Park Service celebrating our Nation’s River, the 100-year anniversary of the National Parks System and promote the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and their connection to our National Park System in positive ways that promote their economic value to our region.

    We are teaming up with local outfitters to provide boats, equipment and shuttle service for daily and overnight paddle trips over the course of 10 consecutive days, starting June 8th during National Fishing and Boating Week, ending on June 19th at the Georgetown Waterfront, in Washington, DC. For more information, visit:

  • James River Rundown
    June 11, 2016 | To benefit James River Association 

    Pick your distance and let’s go! The James River Rundown is a series of 140-mile, 100-mile, and 20-mile canoe, kayak, and standup paddleboard races running through the heart of Virginia on the historic James River. The James River Rundown is one of the longest races of its kind in the United States. Competitors will fight through wind, natural obstacles and fatigue to claim victory. All three races finish at an after party at American Legion Post 354 featuring food, beverage, and live music. All proceeds from the event benefit the James River Association. For more information, visit:

  • Mayfly Festival
    June 25, 2016 |To benefit Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper

    Celebrate the Susquehanna at the Susquehanna Mayfly Festival, 10 am to 3 pm on June 25.  The return of the mayflies represents our renewed commitment to having fishable, swimmable and drinkable water for all residents and visitors to our incredible river and surrounding lands.  Enjoy the many displays by talented artists and makers, paddling and games for kids, locally-sourced food, and locally-sourced music!  Come early and join in the 6th Annual Susquehanna Biathlon, a running and paddling event that let’s you experience why we love our river so much.  Proceeds go to protecting and improving the ecological health, historical sites, and aesthetics of the Susquehanna Valley. For more information, visit

  • Sunrise. Sunset. Susquehanna.
    July 2, 2016 | To benefit Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper

    Show your love for the Susquehanna River on Saturday, July 2, by joining Middle Susquehanna RIVERKEEPER® for its inaugural Sunrise. Sunset. Susquehanna. paddle-a-thon! Celebrate Pennsylvania’s 2016 River of the Year – the North Branch of the Susquehanna River – by splashing into its meandering blue waters and embarking on a full-day paddling adventure. From Sunrise at Berwick to Sunset at Danville, navigate 22 miles of this natural treasure and experience first hand what Middle Susquehanna RIVERKEEPER® works to protect, improve, and preserve. A special treat awaits those who make it to the very end! Reserve your spot today and make a SPLASH.