News Along the Severn

April 2024

The first trip of the 2024 water quality monitoring season with Conrad and Grace

This newsletter is made possible in part thanks to the generous support of Diamond Sponsor Harbour Wine & Spirits

Executive Director's Corner

As I write this missive from my desk at the Severn River Association office, I note the call of a Carolina Wren on the breeze through my window screen, and the conspicuous fact that today is a beautiful spring day. Today I rode my bike to the office to capitalize on the weather and got to thinking. Mostly I thought "Wow I'm out of shape! I need to do this more often." But I also thought about transportation patterns, bikeable city planning, and car emissions (especially when I was trailing a larger vehicle).

Much of the conversation regarding car emissions centers on the generation of carbon dioxide, but fossil fuel combustion also produces oxidized nitrogen (NOx), a major source of Nitrogen pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. Thankfully, this sort of pollution has diminished considerably as a result of amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990, which is good for me (huffing and puffing along the too-narrow shoulder) and good for the River. 

There are two stories here. Certainly reducing our overall use of fossil fuels reduces the pollution we generate and that's good for the river, but also, there are regulatory approaches that can make a real difference for the environment. The Maryland General Assembly wrapped up its work last week and one important bill for SRA that passed was the Whole Watershed Act. This new law sets up a funding approach that will dramatically impact restoration efforts in 5 tributaries to the Chesapeake within Maryland. The gist of it is that by October 1, the State's newly constituted management team for the new program will put out a request for proposals to direct about $20 million to sponsors of restoration plans for 5 tributaries. SRA's full testimony on the bill can be found here. Of course, now that the bill will go into effect, the Severn River Association will be working with stakeholders throughout our watershed to advance the Severn as one of those rivers selected for this targeted funding. 

The criteria by which applicants will be judged are set forth in the bill, but one key criterion, and the way that YOU can help, is that proposals must demonstrate "partnership opportunities among nonprofit and for profit organizations, community organizations, all levels of government, and scientists." For our efforts to be successful, we need the buy-in of our communities--from the City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County governments to private property owners, residential community associations, businesses, schools, churches, clubs, and civic associations. 

Our Severn River Action Plan is a good start, but we need you to help spread the word. If you represent a community group, or can make an introduction to a leader of your congregation, or run a business in the watershed, we can use your help to build as broad a coalition as possible for the Severn. Let's show the State of Maryland that the Severn--its own capital river--is the best place it can invest to show just how much difference smart environmental policy can make.

As always, thank you for all you do for the Severn River!

Jesse Iliff

Executive Director

John Wright Speaker Series

Date: March 24th 7-8:30pm

Location: Annapolis Public Library

Speaker: Ned Tillman

The Chesapeake Watershed: Past, Present, Future

Presentation Summary: Ned Tillman is an Earth scientist and award-winning author. His work lies at the nexus of man and nature, exploring the rich natural history of this area as well as the destructive impacts of human activity. His nonfiction work shares many interesting aspects of the Mid-Atlantic. Learn about the native residents of the area, the impacts of English civilization, the Industrial Age, and more.

Speaker Bio: Award-winning author, Ned Tillman, will be our speaker for the April 24 meeting. Ned, a native Marylander, has published four books that all fall at the nexus of humans and nature and what the future might bring.

Register Here

Weems Creek Restoration Community Meeting

If you live on Weems Creek and are interested in potential upcoming restoration projects, join us for this meeting. Severn River Association will be holding a meeting for Weems Creek residents:

Date: Friday May 3, 2024

Location: Unitarian Universalist Church in Annapolis, 333 Dubois Rd, Annapolis 21401.

Time: 6-8pm. Doors open 5:30 pm

- SRA will give a brief presentation about the Severn River Action Plan and describe how we assigned Weems Creek as the #1 priority for restoration. 

- Center for Watershed Protection will give a brief overview of the potential projects in the Weems Creek watersheds that have been identified and vetted thus far. 

- We will be looking for feedback and input from community members.

- We will also be looking for help prioritizing potential projects.

Register to Attend

April 20th Volunteer Opportunities

Phragmites Removal

Come help cut down and treat a phragmites patch as we work to erradicate this invasive species.

Linstead Community

9 am-12 pm

1 Boone Trail, Severna Park

Email Ben


If you like planting, help the West Annapolis Community as they work in several areas to clean up different locations.

Tolson Street Park

9-11 am

Next to 401 Monterray

Email Deirdre

In case you missed it...

Lake Marion Restoration

We're excited to announce plans for a large-scale restoration of Lake Marion that will begin this spring in partnership with Arundel Rivers Federation! While it was once an effective stormwater management feature, Lake Marion is in desperate need of revitalization so it can continue to store and treat stormwater runoff for years to come.

Press Release

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