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Call your elected officials to support the 5 pieces of legislation for 2018 that would directly impact the South River:


House Bill 766/SB610: Will update the 27-year-old law to: 1. Clearly define “priority” forests, 2. Clarify what justifies clearing priority forests, 3. Require that an acre of forest be replanted for each acre of priority forest cut down, 4. Clarify that forest protection planning must come early in the development process, 5. Authorize and encourage better spending of fee-in lieu money so state, local and nonprofit agencies and groups that already replant trees can use some of those fees.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Forests provide innumerable benefits to water quality, air quality, and habitat in our State. This legislation will help ensure that those benefits do not continue to shrink along with Maryland’s dwindling forest cover. At least 14 to 22 acres of forest are cut down or lost each day in Maryland—equal to at least 10 football fields of trees. That’s 5,000 to 8,000 acres each year. Tell your elected officials  to vote FOR HB766 and SB610 and conserve the forests that are a vital protection and filter for the South River. 

Welcome to Bob O’Dell, the Federation’s Newest Board Member

Over 40 years ago Bob was introduced to the Chesapeake Bay and has been passionate about its beauty and welfare ever since. After he and his wife, Lynn, moved to Hillsmere Shores in 2009, he soon learned about the Marylanders Grow Oysters project and volunteered to keep oyster cages on their own dock, and now has recruited other neighbors on their street to participate as well. In addition, he has long been a volunteer for the Federation, participating in the river snapshot days and in stream cleanup.

Why did you move to Annapolis?

I wanted to live close to the water because I had grown up on the water. Annapolis is very appealing, everything about it.

As a residential builder, how have you seen your industry change in regards to the environment?

The permitting is so much more stringent now. The permitting office really scrutinizes what you are going to do and requires you to manage your stormwater in ways they never did before. Definitely, everyone is more concerned about the environment now.  Back in the 70’s we didn’t even put in silt fences.  We didn’t have any consideration for sediment run-off when we were building.  When backfilling, people even used to bury the construction trash on site. No one would do that today.

Health Department Stream Restoration

South River Federation is excited to start on our next major stormwater project that will help stop harmful sediment from reaching Broad Creek, our 2nd most polluted tributary on the South River. Currently, the streams at the base of the large hill that runs behind Anne Arundel Department of Health (off Truman Parkway) are eroding at an alarming pace.

The General Assembly session started on January 10, and your South RIVERKEEPER® has already begun working on four important bills for this year.

  • Forest Conservation Act: The Forest Conservation Act was passed in 1991. Since then, very little of the law has changed, but as we all know, the landscape in our watershed (and our State) has changed a great deal. This year's push will be to clarify the definition of "priority forest" in the law, require more reforestation for clearing of priority forest, provide flexibility to local governments' use of fee-in-lieu funds, and require updates to the 1997 Technical Manual. This approach is narrower than last year's across-the-board reforestation attempt, and if passed will protect a great deal more of our best forests in the State.

  • Polystyrene Foam Ban: Better known as Styrofoam, polystyrene foam is a dangerous plastic, for our waterways and for our health. Foam breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces as it passes through the waste stream and into our River, eventually winding up in our fish and shellfish. Along the way, foam soaks up almost 10x more toxins than other plastics, and allows these toxins to bio-accumulate in aquatic life and ourselves when we eat seafood. Our trash trap in Crab Creek has captured over a thousand pieces of foam since installation in June 2017. With the ready availability of eco-friendly and cost-comparable alternatives, the time to ban foam is now.

  • Erosion & Sediment Control Reporting: A law is only as good as its enforcement. In FY 2016, Anne Arundel County required 11 staff to conduct 9380 erosion and sediment control inspections, which found 928 violations. Yet only 133 of these violations received a penalty. This bill requires all local jurisdictions with authority to enforce State sediment and erosion control laws (like Anne Arundel County) to provide annual public reporting on their enforcement efforts. Currently, this information is not widely available, and contains only sparse enforcement data. We expect the requirement to publicly report on violation numbers, enforcement efforts, and staffing needs will incentivize local governments to generate the political will and necessary resources for robust enforcement of our environmental laws, and help keep the River clean.

  • Septic Systems: Over 40,000 septic systems in Anne Arundel County contribute over a million pounds of nitrogen to our waterways every year. The River is impaired for fecal coliform and nitrogen. Many other jurisdictions throughout the State suffer similar septic system pollution. This year SRF and others are pushing a bill that would require any new septic systems installed within 1000 ft of a nitrogen-impaired stream to use Best-Available Technology. This requirement will cut the nitrogen load from conventional septic systems in half, from about 23 pounds per year to 11, protecting our streams, rivers, the Bay, and our groundwater from nitrogen pollution.

As the session continues and the bills make their way through committees and floor votes, we will be sending action alerts and asking for your help to see that these important legislative priorities succeed. Thank you for your ongoing engagement and support!

November 30, 2017
The Board of Directors of the South River Federation is pleased to announce that Elizabeth (Liz) Buxton has been named its new Executive Director.The Federation has grown rapidly in the last five years, increasing its accomplishments within the watershed and expanding community support. 
“We feel very fortunate to have found a leader with extensive experience in directing and managing environmental non-profits to lead the Federation during this exciting growth phase,” said Tom Reinert, South River Federation Board Chair. 
Liz brings 15 years of experience leading several Maryland non-profit conservation organizations including Maryland Environmental Trust, Scenic Maryland and Valleys Planning Council in Towson. She also served as a cultural resource consultant for Maryland State Highways Administration. Liz most recently served as Executive Director of Bluegrass Land Conservancy in Kentucky, where she oversaw the merger of two regional land trusts. A graduate of the College of Charleston in South Carolina, she earned a B.A. in Fine Arts with a concentration in Architectural History and Preservation. 
“I am thrilled to return to Maryland to lead the Federation's effort to restore and celebrate the South River”, Buxton said. “I look forward to working with the community to build on the Federation’s past successes and continue to expand its programs to improve water quality with science-driven projects and education. I am honored to serve as the next executive director of such an effective, high impact organization”. 
With more than 20 years working in the environmental non-profit management field, Liz has demonstrated success in several key areas including strategic planning, fundraising, financial management, volunteer engagement, and special event planning. During her tenure as Director of Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), Liz facilitated the permanent protection of 12,800 acres of open space with over 100 conservation easements.
Throughout her career, she has always been focused on enhancing and protecting natural, historic and scenic resources for present and future generations. Liz has a working knowledge of both land and water conservation issues including Watershed Improvement Plans, easements and the long-term stewardship of natural and water resources. 
A native of the Tidewater region of Virginia, Liz calls Maryland home and will reside in the Annapolis area with her family and dog, Raven. She plays competitive tennis and enjoys hiking, sailing and all things water related. Liz’s first day on the job will be January 2, 2018.