News Along the Severn

December 2023

A mid-November sunrise on the Severn River

A Beautiful Sunrise on the Severn River taken by Board Member Ted Delaplaine

As we come to a close on 2023, SRA is grateful for the support of our donors that we leverage into making a real impact on the Severn River. Our big accomplishment this year was the hiring of a full time Restoration Manager. Dr. Ben Fertig hit the ground running and conducted numerous site visits and community meetings which led to submitting 12 grant applications totaling $1.3M for projects around the Severn! These projects vary from stormwater mitigation to living shorelines. And he will most certainly be busy with managing these awarded grants next year. We are very happy to have Dr. Fertig, and the river is too.

Read on for recent happenings around the SRA office, and a peek from our ED into next year's priorities. Happy Holidays!

Executive Director's Corner

The end of the year is always a time of reflection on the year behind and contemplation of the year ahead. Here at the Severn River Association, 2023 brought Dr. Ben Fertig to our team to dramatically accelerate our restoration work. We also netted a capable and enthusiastic young environmental professional in Grace Weeks, who will be with us until next August, and who has been a tremendous asset all summer and fall. Our new team members on staff have integrated seamlessly with Tom Guay, Sarah Winchester and myself to establish SRA as the clean water powerhouse that the Severn deserves.

We wrap up 2023 with the filing of 9 grant applications to transform degraded areas of our river into water quality machines working 24/7 for the Severn. We mapped out a science-based, stakeholder-informed restoration action plan for the entire river for years to come. We secured grant funding for new education and outreach work to train more people in our watershed on how to be better stewards of our river and its wildlife. Through summer camps, speaking engagements, community meetings on restoration projects, and advocacy campaigns, we connected with more people than ever before. And we worked with our state and federal legislators to deliver more funding and better protection to our river in 2024 and beyond. 

We couldn’t have done this without the help of our donors and volunteers. Your contributions have helped us get to where we are today, and we’re grateful for your ongoing support. Thank you for being a part of the Severn River Association community. 

In 2023 SRA came of age as a well-staffed, passionate, professional and cohesive team, fully committed to our mission to connect the people who live, work and play on the Severn River to restore and protect it for all of our communities. In 2023, we accelerated the pace toward achieving our vision of a thriving Severn River, from a walk to a run. Together with you and the rest of our community in 2024, we will fly.

Yours for the Severn,

Yours for the Severn,

Jesse Iliff

Executive Director

[email protected]

Innovative Oyster Planting

Video footage still from the Trace's Hollow oyster restoration reef

Amazing news on the oyster restoration front: thanks to a new grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance, we're thrilled to share the details of our groundbreaking project on deploying oyster larvae in the Severn River. Instead of using spat-on-shell, we will be placing larvae directly on the oyster reef for restoration (“direct setting”). This will be accomplished through a battery-operated pump-based larval transport mechanism with the potential to revolutionize oyster restoration efforts.

Read More

Business Sponsors

Business owners have the opportunity to show their concern for the Severn River by supporting SRA as a business sponsor. If you want to show them how their support is valued, please join us in thanking them!





More Oyster News! Underwater Photos

A busy reef on Traces Hollow

A shot on Weems Creek reef

Thanks to a novel program that uses GoPro cameras to study oysters on our restoration reefs, we now have a series of stunning visuals of life on several oyster bars in the Severn River.  

Read More about Videoing Oyster Reefs!

SRA's New Blogs

An osprey in his nest about to take flight

Water Quality Monitoring Volunteer measures the clarity of the river

Each summer SRA engages dozens of volunteers and emerging student conservationists in field science on the Severn. Check out these blogs from Program Officer Tom Guay to learn more about osprey habitat and water quality conditions from summer 2023.

Operation Osprey Blog
WQM Blog

Our important work is only possible due to the generous support of people like you. If you are a current donor - THANK YOU! We welcome your support any time of the year. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining the movement today. Any size donation makes you a member.


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