Sassafras River Association

General Membership Meeting
Thursday April 24th at 7:00 PM
at the Granary

Report Pollution

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River News

Check out the most recent Sassafras Update here!



Budds Landing Ravine Restoration Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Wednesday, May 14th @10 AM

Join SRA for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Budds Landing Ravine Restoration Project!

Come tour the project and learn about how it will help keep sediment and phosphorus out of the Sassafras River. Join SRA for lunch and discussion at the home of Ken and Sue Shumaker after the tour.

Please RSVP to

Directions from Cecilton, MD

Follow 282 East (Cecilton Warwick Road) out of Cecilton and take a right onto Wards Hill Road. Take a right onto Budds Landing Road, then the first right onto Megan Road. Megan Road dead ends into Scott Road, turn left and follow Scott Road until it dead ends at the cul-de-sac. The project site is on the right. 


Moonlight Serenade

Sue Matthews in concert


the Robert Redd Quartet

Friday, October 18th

Thanks to all who attended this wonderful event!

We had a great time celebrating the Sassafras River and the Hunter's Moon! Click on the photo below to see a photo album of the concert.

Sue Matthews



FREE Soil Testing and Composting Workshop

Friday, October 11, 2013 @7PM

Kentmore Park
The Home of Jack and Sue Edson
28759 Valley Road
Kennedyville, MD 21645

Thanks to all who participated! Look for our next Soil Test Workshop- coming Fall 2014!

With a soil test, you can learn exactly what your soil needs to be healthy, and avoid both over-fertilization of your lawn and excess fertilizer runoff into the Sassafras River.

Karen Gartley, Director of the Soil Testing Program at the University of Delaware, will be analyzing your soil test results and will be available at the workshop to discuss them.




Sassafest Logo

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Thanks to everyone that joined us at the 4th Annual Sassafest River Jam on Sunday, June 23, 2013. Despite the rain, we had a great turnout and loads of fun! Bay Country Gentlemen and Chester River Runoff kept us entertained, the Grill Meister stuffed us full of delicious BBQ, and the Kitty Knight House and Twin Lakes quenched our thirst. We even had a special visitor from Baltimore-the Ravens Mascot, Poe! A Big Thanks to all our exhibitors and vendors (especially the vendors who stuck it out in the rain!); we look forward to having you back next year!

Thank you to all our sponsors- you made this event possible!

Georgetown Yacht Basin

Angelica Nurseries

Chester River Hospital Center

Dixon Valve and Coupling

Dukes-Moore Insurance Agency

FAM&M Insurance

Gillespie & Sons, Inc.

LaMotte Company

Monsanto Company

Peoples Bank

Radcliffe Corporate Services

Tri-Gas and Oil





SRA Membership Meeting April 30, 2013 7-8:30 PM

Thanks to all who attended! If you could not attend the meeting, but are interested in learning about how to get your yard certified bay-wise, give the SRA office a call at (410) 275-1400.

We know from the Sassafras Watershed Action Plan that nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment are the 3 primary pollutants on the Sassafras! Sewage treatment plants, septic systems, urban/suburban runoff, agriculture and emissions from automobiles and power plants are all sources of pollution.
In a typical year, heavy spring rains wash these pollutants into the Sassafras where they contribute to algal blooms. Once the algae blooms die, the oxygen in the water is reduced enough to create dead zones. This negatively affects rockfish, crabs, oysters, and other creatures in the Chesapeake Bay.
Sabine Harvey, Master Gardener for the Maryland Bay-Wise Program, teaches home- and landowners ways to promote better water quality by decreasing the amount of pollutants running into the Sassafras. Sabine will tell us about three ways to get your yard or landscape certified Bay-Wise: Landscapes with Lawns, Landscapes without Lawns, and Vegetable Gardens.



A Chilly Paddle Over to the Heron Rookery- Check out the video for the March 23 trip!



Click here to check out one of the Waterkeeper® Alliance's Featured Waterkeepers, our very own Sassafras Riverkeeper®, Captain Emmett Duke!



*Thank you for your support at the 2/19 Cecil County public hearing on SB 236!*

On 2/19 SRA staff, board members, members, and friends represented the Sassafras River at the Cecil County Council public hearing on the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act, or SB 236Sassafras Riverkeeper® Emmett Duke, SRA Board President Ken Shumaker, and the Honorable Wayne Gilchrest gave statements at the hearing. SRA Agricultural Outreach Coordinator Josh Thompson also gave a rebuttal to a statement made earlier in the evening regarding septic systems. Two of the transcripts can be read here:

Emmett Duke, Sassafras Riverkeeper®

Ken Shumaker, SRA Board President

To comply with SB 236, Cecil County submitted a "tier map" to the state in December 2012. The Maryland Department of Planning responded with comments explaining how the map does not comply with the law or Cecil County's Comprehensive Plan. You can view the comments here.

In the Sassafras watershed, the map designates Priority Preservation Areas, Rural Legacy Areas, and areas zoned for resource protection as Tier III, which would allow major subdivisions on septic systems for the entire area.This is a threat to  the health of the Sassafras River because it would lead to increased development on septics and more nitrogen pollution to the tributaries and river. 

At the hearing, we explained that if the current map is not withdrawn and replaced by one that conforms to the Comprehensive Plan and existing protected lands, the map would result in an increase in nutrient pollution to the Sassafras, and ultimately add to pollution of the Chesapeake Bay.

Thank you to everyone who attended the hearing, spoke at the hearing, and/or submitted comments to the Council letting them know you support a revised map that will protect open space and agriculture along the Sassafras and the water quality of the tributaries and river itself!

We will continue to update you on this issue as it progresses- check back soon for updates!


SRA on YouTube

Check out two new videos of SRA on YouTube! The first video is a "how to build a rain barrel" instructional video produced at the SRA rain barrel workshop this past Fall. With the help of Eric Ayers and VPG Studios, Ag Outreach Coordinator Josh Thompson goes through the materials and steps required to build a rain barrel you can use at your home.

The second video once again stars Ag Outreach Coordinator Josh Thompson as he describes how the Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund has funded SRA projects. Recorded by DNR, this video is worth checking out if you'd like to learn more about SRA projects and the funders who support  us. 


Hot off the press! Chesapeake Bay Crab Challenge children's book featuring the Sassafras RIVERKEEPER!

Stop by Sassafras River Association's office to pick up a copy of the newly published Chesapeake Bay Crab Challenge, an illustrated children's book featuring the Sassafras Riverkeeper! The $10 book describes a boy's journey searching for his lost pet crab throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, including Chesapeake Beach, Chestertown, Chesapeake City, and even on the Sassafras RIVERKEEPER boat on the Sassafras River.

Stop by the office 9am-5pm to get your copy! The SRA office is located at 7479 Augustine Herman Highway, Georgetown, MD

Breaking Ground on the Crawford Farm Vertical Flow Treatment Wetland

On October 3, 2012 SRA broke ground on the vertical flow treatment wetland on the Crawford Farm in Cecil County. This innovative wetland is located downstream from a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) and is designed to capture sediment and remove nutrients before directing the flow back to the natural stream.
The practice will be the first of its kind to capture and treat both surface
stormwater from the CAFO and groundwater from surrounding crop
fields. It is our firm belief that this innovative practice will, through
rigorous monitoring, be proven effective and then replicated across the
Chesapeake Bay region in an effort to meet Bay Program water quality
goals. The project is made possible through funding from the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust and 2013
Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.

Cecil County Residents: Funding Now Available for Septic Upgrades

Septic Traditional septic systems do not remove nitrogen and deliver about 30 pounds of nitrogen per year to groundwater - new systems can cut nitrogen loads in half. Residents of Cecil County are currently eligible to receive funding for septic system upgrades to a nitrogen removing system. Anyone interested in upgrading their septic may be eligible to apply, and funding is available to those with failing systems both in and out of the critical area (land within 1,000 feet of tidal waters), as well non-failing systems within the critical area.

The Bay Restoration Fund provides money to counties to help Marylanders install nitrogen removing systems, and these funds are generated through local flush taxes. Without this funding, installation of a nitrogen removing system would typically cost a homeowner approximately $15,000. The Bay Restoration Fund is on going. Contact Cecil County's Department of Health to inquire about upgrading your septic system, and to apply for funding.

To view some frequently asked questions about the Bay Restoration Fund and septic upgrades, click here.

To print an application form, click here.

Cecil County: Frederick von Staden, Acting Director of Environmental Health 410-996-5160 or

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