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Sassafras River
2016 Report Card Unveiling

May 19th, 2016
Crow Winery

A nice crowd was on hand at Crow Winery for the 2016 Report Card unveiling (see the report card here). Sam Joiner and Marc Castelli followed with an outstanding presentation on "Commercial Fishing on the Sassafras - the value of high water quality".  Many of us were shocked at the number of different kinds of fish found in our Sassafras! Wine was available for purchase and there were light refreshments served, too.


Kayak paddle on Swantown Creek
to look at two restoration projects.

April 30th

The day was overcast and cool, but that didn't stop 21 people from as far away as Rockville, MD bringing 18 boats to the paddle on Saturday, April 30th.  We enjoyed a picnic on the beach on Swantown Creek in Shorewood Estates, then Emmett Duke and Jeff Russell talked about the two restoration projects on Swantown Creek that we've started.  Emmett had maps and pictures to help the discussion along.

See the trip report and pictures here.


Sassafras Sips at the Kitty Knight House

Friday, April 15th from 5-8pm

Join us at the Kitty Knight House as we host Happy Hour from 5-8 pm. All profits benefit the Sassafras River Association



Book Signing

Thursday, April 7th at 7:00PM

Join us on Thursday April 7th for a presentation and book signing by Kate Livie, author of Chesapeake Oysters: The Bay's Foundation and Future. This event will be held at the Kitty Knight House at 7 pm. Have dinner (at your own cost) at The Kitty Knight House beforehand and stay to learn more about the history and future of the eastern oyster and its role in the health of the Bay. SRA will provide dessert after the program and there will be books available for purchase and signing.


Chesapeake Bay Oysters book coverAbout the book
Crassostrea virginica, the eastern oyster. These humble bivalves are the living bones of the Chesapeake and the ecological and historical lifeblood of the region. When colonists first sailed these impossibly abundant shores, they described massive shoals of foot-long oysters. But the bottomless appetite of the Gilded Age and great fleets of skipjacks took their toll. Disease, environmental pressures and overconsumption decimated the population by the end of the twentieth century. While Virginia turned to bottom-leasing, passionate debate continues in Maryland among scientists and oystermen whether aquaculture or wild harvesting is the better way forward. Today, boutique oyster farming in the Bay is sustainably meeting the culinary demand of a new generation of connoisseurs. With careful research and interviews with experts, author Kate Livie presents this dynamic story and a glimpse of what the future may hold.


Kate LivieAbout the author
Kate Livie is a professional Chesapeake educator, writer and historian. An Eastern Shore native, Livie is passionate about the Chesapeake Bay’s culture, heritage and landscape. She currently serves as the director of education at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland, and writes for the Chesapeake Bay Journal and She lives with her husband in Chestertown, Maryland, and to date she owns thirteen oyster knives.


Project Clean Stream

Saturday, April 2nd

Here's the flier for the event

Wave: 12 years of saving the Sassafras! Leaves


Volunteers needed! Help clean up trash at sites throughout the Sassafras River watershed as part of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s annual Project Clean Stream. Last year, more than 5,000 volunteers from 6 states removed over 300,000 pounds of trash from the Bay’s waterways. SRA is assisting with the clean-up for the 12th year, and we need volunteers to help us do our part this year!

Click here the flier.

truck of trash
Sassafras Cleanup sites:
Cecil County- Mount Harmon Plantation –  Washington College

Ward’s Hill Road - Sue Shumaker <>


boatload of trashKent County- Fox Hole Landing – Janet Ruhl

Turner’s Creek Park - Carol Droge <>

Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area – Ellyn Vail <>



Happy Hour at the Kitty Knight House

Friday, March 18th from 5-8pm

Join us at the Kitty Knight House as we host Happy Hour from 5-8 pm. All profits benefit the Sassafras River Association



Farm Panel Discussion

Can Food Production and
a Clean Chesapeake Bay Coexist?

Here's a link to the YouTube video of the farm panel discussion:

On Thursday, February 25, a special event took place at Washington College in Chestertown.  Tri-sponsored by the Sassafras River Association, the Chester River Association, and the Washington College Center for Environment and Society, representatives from the agricultural community met on stage with representatives from scientific and environmental groups for a free ranging panel discussion entitled “Can Food Production and a Clean Chesapeake Bay Coexist?”

On stage were local farmers Trey Hill and Sean Jones, Mark Nardi from U.S. Geological Survey, Wye/Miles Riverkeeper Jeff Horstman, Mike Twining from Willard’s Agri-Service, and Kim Coble of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  The program was moderated by former U.S. Congressman Wayne Gilchrest.

After introductions by Michael Hardesty of Washington College, each participant was asked a question, which progressively set the stage for the ensuing discussion. The audience then became part of the action by writing and submitting questions pertaining to various aspects of food production and clean water. 

Over 350 people from three counties, including a fair number of Washington College students, were entertained and enlightened by the serious, informative, and occasionally humorous comments on stage.  Former Congressman Gilchrest, in his usual quiet and thoughtful manner, interjected cogent comments when appropriate.

Of course, the answer to the question in the title, as Kim Coble succinctly stated is, “Yes. We must all work together to see that they do.”    

Her conclusion was certainly not to say that all is well with the Bay or our rivers, but progress is being made.  Many farmers, particularly in Maryland, are incorporating Best Management Practices into their farming methods.  The Sassafras and Chester River Associations, as well as many other Baywide environmental groups, are advocating for clean water and educating citizens to be more aware of how their personal actions can affect the quality of our waters.

This event was the second “Farmer Forum” in as many years, and plans are already being made for another follow up in November of this year.












Amazon Smiles

Shop at Amazon Smiles and Amazon will make a donation to the Sassafras River Association! It's the same Amazon that we're all used to. No restrictions nor higher prices. This is Amazon's way of giving back. Click the link on our home page or on our donations page to get started.





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

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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