Chris Trumbauer Departs West/Rhode Riverkeeper for Annapolis Office of Hatcher Group

So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!

So says the West Rhode Riverkeeper’s office to Riverkeeper Chris Trumbauer, whose last day is Friday, Nov. 1. He’ll head to the Hatcher Group, a public relations firm specializing in environmental and nonprofit services headquartered in Annapolis. Trumbauer also serves on the Anne Arundel County Council, representing District 6, which he will continue to do.

We checked in earlier this week to see what Trumbauer was thinking as he packed up his belongings to depart his office at Discovery Village in Shady Side.

“It’s funny, I was looking at this old newsletter,” he said, as he handed over the West/Rhode Riverkeeper’s Summer 2008 edition.

In it, Terence Smith, then-chairman, had interviewed the newly-hired Trumbauer, who had come to the Riverkeeper’s office after working as biologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

Chris Trumbauer in his West River office earlier this week.

Chris Trumbauer in his West River office earlier this week.

Smith asked Trumbauer where he hoped the organization would be in five years’ time:

“I envision some major restoration projects completed, and even more underway. A large coalition of citizen monitors will regularaly test the water and report their results to help track river health. When developers are in the planning stages of a project, they’ll call us to get our input.”

Looking back, Trumbauer said that he is happy that his vision for the future from five years ago aligned with the work the Riverkeeper’s office has done during that time. He pointed to Shady Cove Restoration area, which is their biggest project to date. In addition, he said that the water quality monitoring efforts, the report card and the organization’s general stewardship of the river have been big accomplishments.

“Back when I started, I was in the first week of the job and I got a call from Dr. Jana Davis at the Chesapeake Bay Trust, telling me that the grant cycle was ending on Friday and we needed to get an application in. It was the first week, I was just getting my email set up and I had to put a grant application together,” he said.

But Trumbauer said that he worked hard and put in the application by the Friday deadline. It turned into a $90,000 grant, which laid the foundation for a lot of the work that the Riverkeeper’s office and even the county have benefited from ever since.

“We hired a consultant to walk the shoreline and make a list,” Trumbauer said. “That work has become the backbone of our restoration efforts. Everything we do comes off that list.”

He said that they also gave the county assessment office the information to use.

But, even though Trumbauer said that he has been proud of the work, he felt that five years was a good run and when the Hatcher Group presented him with a job in Annapolis, he was interested.

“I’ve worked with them on several things,” Trumbauer said. “And right now is a great time for a transition.”

He said that the Riverkeeper’s office has a good board of directors, a good strategic plan in place, and they are doing well in their fundraising, which helps to keep the organization sustainable into the future—and as they transition to a new riverkeeper.

Trumbauer said that Bob Gallagher, who founded the West/Rhode Riverkeeper’s operation—and was the original riverkeeper—will resume his old job as riverkeeper while they search for a replacement for Trumbauer.

“It’s a good time for someone else to come in and take it to the next level,” Trumbauer said. “And I’ll still come to West/Rhode Riverkeeper events.”

We’ll see you there, Chris. Best of luck in your new endeavors.

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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. or reach me in person on mobile: 410-353-4706.


  1. West Rhode Riverkeeper Names Jeff Holland as New Riverkeeper and Executive Director | South River Source - December 6, 2013

    […] The West/Rhode Riverkeeper was established in 2005 by Bob Gallagher, who was the first Riverkeeper. In 2008, they hired Chris Trumbauer as riverkeeper. Trumbauer left in early November to work in Annapolis at the Hatcher Group, an environmental consulting firm. We outlined Chris’ West/Rhode Riverkeeper accomplishments in a story here. […]

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