Ribbon Cutting for the Pines on the Severn Living Shoreline

A Ribbon Cutting was held September 22 to celebrate the Pines on the Severn community's new Living Shoreline on Chase Creek. Deteriorating bulkheads were replaced with natural materials to reduce erosion and provide habitat for a variety of species, including fish and crabs. 

Severn Riverkeeper Fred Kelly cited "institutional difficulties" as the cause for setbacks and long delays in obtaining permits to begin the restoration project. Finally an out-of-court settlement allowed the community to proceed, and in approximately two weeks time, the site was transformed.

See the photos and read the front page story from The Capital.

Legal Action to Save a Living Shoreline!

Yesterday, we filed an appeal in Circuit Court against the Maryland Department of the Environment for denying the Pines Community a permit to replace a bulkhead with a living shoreline in Chase Creek.

Living Shorelines create life-sustaining wetlands and bulkheads destroy them. Basic Biology 101.

If you follow the excellent series in the Capital Newspaper as to why the Bay and our rivers are improving so little after the expenditure of billions, you will read about the dysfunction of the very agencies who are supposed to be protecting our waterways.

MDE's denial of the living shoreline permit ignores the science, undercuts citizen efforts to improve water quality, and violates the Living Shoreline Protection Act of 2008.

Bureaucratic delays and denials have become a major impediment to restoration efforts. We will continue to challenge MDE, EPA, and the Corps of Engineers to follow their own mandates and issue the permits necessary to help us protect and restore our waterways.

The people of Anne Arundel County are in the process of creating a stormwater fund that will finally enable our Department of Public Works to stop the stormwater runoff that has been killing marine life and making swimming unsafe for decades.  

DPW will need permits from the very same agencies as did the citizens of the Pines. We intend to do all that we can to encourage these agencies to help us restore the Severn and the Bay, so that our families and children can once again feel safe swimming, fishing, and boating in our county waterways.    

Don't hesitate to help support us in this effort.


Fred Kelly
Severn Riverkeeper

Crystal Springs - Happy 4th of July!

We are celebrating the 4th of July by protecting your First Amendment right to freedom of speech regarding the Crystal Spring Development proposed for Forest Drive. When others were intimidated by the threat of a SLAPP lawsuit, Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, we stepped forward and agreed to house the Crystal Spring Legal Defense Fund.

New York Supreme Court Judge J. Nicholas Colabella stated that in reference to SLAPP Lawsuits: “Short of a gun to the head, a greater threat to First Amendment expression can scarcely be imagined!”

We did this to protect your right to express your opinion on this matter and our concern that the development was not being required to comply with the Forest Conservation Act. We believe that property owners have the right to develop their property, if done so in compliance with the law.

The developer’s attorney had sent a threatening letter to a number of citizens who had expressed their concerns in writing to Mayor Cohen about this development. One of the major concerns is that the development will unnecessarily remove “priority forest” in direct violation of the Forest Conservation Act.

Failure of the City to enforce the Forest Conservation Act would endanger Back Creek, Spa Creek, College Creek, and Weems Creek, all tributaries of the Severn.

It would also set an unfortunate precedent for Anne Arundel County and the remainder of the Severn River.

Happy 4th of July!

Forest Conservation Act Amendment

At our request, House Speaker Busch was kind enough to instruct the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources to amend the Forest Conservation Act to exempt stream restoration projects. The law had required private and corporate property owners to sign permanent easements against their property for the projects to receive permits. This essentially excluded stream restoration projects form corporate and private property.

The Forest Conservation Act of 2013 did in fact exempt stream restoration projects, but with the condition that the property owner now had to sign a "5 Year Maintenance Agreement".  This condition continues to make such projects unnecessarily difficult for obtaining the property owners consent. The law must again be amended, since private property owners are reluctant to sign such Maintenance Agreements, and they are totally unnecessary .