West/Rhode Riverkeeper’s Ongoing Projects to Help the River

by Joe Ports

Joe Ports is the restoration coordinator for the West/Rhode Riverkeeper. We are sharing this report with you with the permission of the Riverkeeper’s office. The riverkeeper’s office helps to target problems and help businesses and homeowners find solutions.

Ongoing Restoration Sites

Joe Ports lugs oysters for the ‘Maryland Grow Oysters’ program.

Camp Letts. After years of work, we are pleased to report that a large treatment wetland will be installed at YMCA Camp Letts in Edgewater.  Work began on November 26 and last about a month.  The project is located between the camp’s horse paddock and Selman Creek on the Rhode River.

The project will treat the sediment and horse waste that runs off the fields during rain events—before it reaches the river.  We are very excited about his project and would like to thank the Soil Conservation District, Camp Letts, and Kirk Mantay of the South River Federation for all their hard work to get this project started and as well as the Chesapeake Bay Trust for their hard work and funding.

Living Shoreline in Popham Creek. We have been working with a private landowner to get 410 feet of shoreline stabilized with a living shoreline.

Living shorelines involve adding stone breakwaters and constructing marsh behind that stone.  The county has just approved the project so we are in the home-stretch. Construction should be completed by the spring of 2013.

Living Shoreline in Bear Neck Creek. A new living shoreline will soon grace the shores near the mouth of Bear Neck Creek.  Thanks to a dedicated homeowner and a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust we are able to work to get a new living shoreline installed to protect an eroding property as well as the marsh that is planted up stream of the new property.

BGE Right-of-Way Stream Restoration. We have just secured enough funding to have a technical design created for a seriously-degraded stream located in a Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) transmission line right-of-way in Harwood.  The project will stop the current erosion on the site and provide excellent habitat for stream dwellers and many birds and small mammals.  We would like to thank BGE for their help in getting this project started as well as Constellation Energy and the Chesapeake Bay Trust for funding this crucial stage of the project.

Underwater Grass

Underwater grasses are growing at Discovery Village in Shady Side.

We are still hard at work keeping Redhead, a species of underwater grass, growing in the basement of our office building.  We have four tanks with very strong growth and four others that look like they are ready to take off soon.  We look forward to planting the grasses this spring!

Rhode River Oysters

We are having a great first year of the Marylanders Grow Oysters Program in the Rhode River.  We currently have 18 volunteers growing 83 cages of oysters.  These volunteers will continue to care for these oysters through the winter and the oysters will then be planted on a local reef to help add to the population.  If you are interested in participating in this program next year please contact Joe Ports at

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About Mitchelle Stephenson

I've gotta tell Mitchelle! Send your South County news tips, brag on your fab volunteers, talk traffic, police and fire or just say "howdy" to Mitchelle Stephenson, co-founding editor of the South River Source. Mitchelle@SouthRiverSource.com or reach me in person on mobile: 410-353-4706.

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