Featured Organization

West & Rhode Riverkeeper®

The West & Rhode Riverkeeper is the only citizen-based organization whose only job is to protect and preserve the West and Rhode Rivers, two conjoined tidal estuaries covering about 30 square miles of southern Anne Arundel County. We achieve progress toward our goal of fishable, swimmable, crab-able and kayak-able waterways by working together with communities to enforce environmental law, promote restoration, and advocate for intelligent environmental policy.

We are a licensed member of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, an umbrella group of 19 independent organizations, each serving a unique waterway, and Waterkeeper Alliance®, an international movement of on-the-water advocates who patrol and protect over 100,000 miles of rivers, streams and coastlines of six continents around the globe.

Our Programs

Water Quality Monitoring

West & Rhode Riverkeeper operates a volunteer water quality monitoring program to accurately assess the condition of our rivers during the underwater grass growing season. We sample weekly for important indicators of river health, such as dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, salinity, and water clarity. We also monitor bacteria levels in the summer months.

Pump-Out Boat

West & Rhode Riverkeeper offers this service during the boating season, pumping out boats' holding tanks to keep our waterways clean.

River Patrols

West & Rhode Riverkeeper patrols our Rivers to look for sources of pollution, critical area violations, and other illegal activity which can harm our environment. We also occasionally take to the sky to observe our rivers from small planes. We urge residents on our rivers to be our eyes and ears too and let us know if they see troubling situations.

Watershed Assessments

We have recently conducted Watershed Assessments for the West and Rhode Rivers. These Assessments, in which we partnered with the Center for Watershed Protection, help us develop a game plan to take specific actions to improve the rivers' health. We walked the streams, neighborhoods, schools, and boatyards all across the watershed to do an assessment of the current conditions and potential for restoration.

Oyster Restoration

Oysters filter the water and oyster reefs provide habitat for other aquatic life. Sadly, the number of oysters in the Bay is near 1% of the historic levels.  To help bring more oysters to our rivers, West/Rhode Riverkeeper partners with two programs, the Marylanders Grow Oysters Program in the Rhode River and Project Oyster West River (POWeR) in the West River.  

Septic System Upgrades

Septic Systems, especially those in the Critical Area, can be a significant source of nitrogen pollution when they are failing or are not maintained in good condition. Conventional septic systems deliver a large portion of the nitrogen into the groundwater and ultimately into our rivers. New nitrogen-reducing systems can dramatically reduce the amount of nitrogen pollution coming from a septic system.

Get the Dirt Out

Construction sites are one potential source of sediment pollution. During a significant rainfall, a poorly maintained construction site can release muddy water into our streams, creeks, and rivers. West & Rhode Riverkeeper is committed to monitoring construction sites to make sure that they are taking the necessary precautions to protect our rivers from sediment pollution.


“ChesaTreks” adventures are a fun way to explore the Chesapeake Bay with the West & Rhode Riverkeeper. We host new adventures every month, each one calculated to highlight an environmental or historical treasure. We bring along an expert to enlighten a small group, take a tour by boat or kayak, and then savor the experience with conversation over some local food and drink.

Shoreline Restoration

West & Rhode Riverkeeper works with a number of private landowners and community groups to build living shorelines. Living shorelines stop erosion while also absorbing nutrients from the water and providing beneficial habitat. Living shorelines commonly consist of placing minimal stone structures in the water in front of the property and filling the area between the land and stone with coarse sand fill and marsh grasses. 

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