West & Rhode Rivers In Poor Shape

| April 14, 2012
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On Saturday, April 7that 10:00am, The West/Rhode Riverkeeper released their West and Rhode Rivers Report Card at Discovery Village in Shady Side.  Once again, poor grades dominated the Report Card, resulting in an average “D” grade. Following the release, Riverkeeper staff conducted a rain barrel workshop, and distributed free rain barrels to the two dozen members that attended. Rain barrels are one easy way to help capture stormwater runoff, a major contributor to the poor grades seen in the Report Card.

The Report Card utilizes data collected in 2011 from various sources, including West/Rhode Riverkeeper monitoring data, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The effort was done in collaboration with the University of Maryland’s Mid-Atlantic Tributary Report Card workgroup.  “Our West and Rhode Rivers Report Card is a summary of the current health of the rivers. We worked hard to make sure it is both scientifically credible and easy to understand,” said Chris Trumbauer, the West/Rhode Riverkeeper.

The best opportunity to improve the rivers’ grades is to fully implement the “pollution diet,” which would limit the amount of pollution entering each waterway in the Chesapeake Bay. “We have identified the problems our rivers face, and we have strategies to overcome them. We must insist that policies are put in place to allow these strategies to work,” says Trumbauer.

The release was held at Discovery Village in Shady Side, MD. The site is significant because it has a recently constructed rain garden to capture stormwater runoff, and is also within view of the Shady Cove Living Shoreline restoration project. More restoration actions like these will be required to improve the water quality of the West and Rhode Rivers. This year’s Report Card listed specific actions people can take to help improve water quality in a page entitled “Path to Clean and Healthy Rivers.”

The rain barrel workshop was conducted by Joe Ports, a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, serving with West/Rhode Riverkeeper. Rain barrels are an easy way to capture and control runoff from your rooftop. Over two dozen rain barrels were distributed for free to West/Rhode Riverkeeper members.

For more information about the West/Rode Riverkeeper, visit www.westrhoderiverkeeper.org.

The Report Card may be viewed online at: http://bit.ly/WRR_2012reportcard

PHOTO: Chris Trumbauer, River Keeper and Executive Director, releases the results of the report card. Credit: Kelly Myers

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