News Along the Severn

July 2023

Water Quality Testing in July

Amidst the summer heat and Canadian smoke, SRA has been chugging away at our different projects and programs. From Floating Classrooms to Water Quality Monitoring, to site visits for prospective restoration projects to grant writing, there is never a dull moment around here.

This week we embarked on a new project - SAV seed harvesting with MD DNR. This once-in-a-year opportunity will collect Sago pondweed seeds for potential planting in the effort to grow our SAV population. We have also been working on a new oyster monitoring method with Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) using GoPros to take short videos of restoration sites. Our monitoring dives are scheduled for October 2-3rd where we will scuba dive the oyster restoration reefs to bring up samples to determine survival rates.

Executive Director's Corner

The Growing Season

Any gardener will tell you how this is the time of year when things really kick into high gear--weighty ripe tomatoes start to strain their branches, squash can take over the garden, flowers bloom and buzz with the ministrations of our favorite pollinators. Here at SRA summer is our growing season also. This summer we're engaging with more volunteers than ever before. We're writing (and winning) more grant applications than ever before. We're connecting with more supporters at special events than ever before. And we as an organization have more dedicated people working for the Severn than ever before. In addition to our regular staff of four, we have four interns working with SRA this summer, and will bring on a Chesapeake and Climate Conservation Corps member next month for a full year, thanks to funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Read on to learn more about our awesome summer team.

Natalie Brady

Anna Grace Keller

Havana Mullaly

Jason Schomig

From current high schoolers to recent college graduates, our young river stewards bring an energy and enthusiasm around the office that is palpable--and contagious. A few weeks ago we all gathered together to strategize about how best to deploy the fount of new talent toward the best outcomes for the river, and just like your neighbor's garden, we are growing that impact every day. We have extra hands for special events, tech-savvy minds for data analysis, and earnest spirits committed to doing all they can in a short while to help the Severn thrive. 

The team at SRA is fortunate to have enough space within our work to put the flourishing talent we are blessed with this summer to good use. Our interns' contributions to our work and the development of their careers in the conservation field is especially fruitful this growing season, and it is only possible because of the capacity given to us by YOU, our generous and supportive members.

Thank you!

Jesse Iliff

Executive Director

Dolphins in Annapolis!

Grants Awarded

SRA has recently been awarded several grants!

Chesapeake Bay Trust AACO Watershed Restoration grant - $35,000 for design of a restoration project in the Georgetown East neighborhood

BGE Green Grant - $4,000 - Operation Osprey to inventory the population on the Severn River

Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race - $2,000 - also for Operation Osprey

Eastport Civic Association - $1,250 for tools for invasive species removal events

Water Quality Update

Volunteer Dan Bornstein measures water clarity with a Secchi disk

Thanks to the drought, we're enjoying some great water quality in most of the Severn River (less rain = less stormwater pollution). Our water quality monitoring teams are tracking some great clarity, oxygen, and salinity levels for this time of year.

The best news to report is our Peach Orchard oyster restoration reef between the Rt. 50 and USNA Bridges. With a clarity measurement of 1.62 meters, this is an excellent reading from the SRA monitoring stations upriver from the USNA Bridge.

And, more good news for oyster restoration: dissolved oxygen on the bottom where oysters live, measured at 4.6 mg/L and an above average salinity reading of 12.2 parts per thousand (ppt). (Oysters start reproducing when salinity exceeds 10 ppt.) This was the best reading of the five restoration reefs SRA monitors every week.

Not so good news, however, inside Lake Ogleton. Clarity here was poor at all three monitoring stations. Clarity at the Bay Ridge Community Marina was the worst, clocking in at a dismal 0.39 meters. The Chesapeake Bay Program gives a failing clarity grade to any Secchi reading less than 0.60 meters. Salinity was high, pushing 12 ppt. Dissolved oxygen levels were moderately poor, as is typical for this time of year.

The Water Quality Monitoring program is sponsored in part by the Delaplaine Foundation. Thank you!

Volunteers In Action

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Seed Harvesting with DNR.

Marylanders Grow Oysters: Whitehall

Creek planting their year-old oysters.

Floating Classrooms: A Girl Scout troop enjoys our on-the-water environmental education program

Marylanders Grow Oysters: Severna Park - getting the family involved in planting!

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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