Riverkeepers offer training for new and returning creekwatchers

EASTON – On April 3 from 5-7 p.m. at the Talbot County Free Library, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) will offer information and training for their Creekwatchers program. MRC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and celebration of the waterways that comprise the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, Miles River, and Wye River watersheds. Volunteer citizen scientists known as Creekwatchers are an invaluable component of MRC’s efforts to monitor health and trends in our local rivers.

The Creekwatchers water quality monitoring program has grown to over 50 volunteers who test various parameters at approximately 115 sites on nine rivers. These citizen scientists measure salinity, temperature, water clarity, and dissolved oxygen. They test for nitrogen, phosphorous, and chlorophyll a concentrations. Data collected by Creekwatchers is used to compile MRC’s annual Midshore Rivers Report Card, which in turn assists MRC in grant applications, advocacy, and outreach efforts.

The data is also used by the National Oceanic and Aeronautical Administration (NOAA) and other agencies that study river health. The 2016 Report Card will be released on April 21, 2017 at the State of the Rivers Party to be held at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels from 5-7 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

New this year is the addition of monitoring and planting submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). Throughout the Chesapeake Bay, SAV has been making an unprecedented comeback. Last fall, volunteers from MRC, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Anne Arundel Community College harvested widgeon grass that was processed and stored over the winter to be dispersed in the Miles River this spring. MRC is conducting harvesting and planting events, mapping SAV beds on the upper reaches of smaller tributaries, and identifying species composition of beds throughout our rivers.

The Creekwatcher training event is free and open to the public. A light supper will be served. For more information, visit midshoreriverkeeper.org or contact Tasha at 443-385-0511 or keitasha@midshoreriverkeeper.org.

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