Assateague Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips

Assateague COASTKEEPER® Kathy Phillips, is an on-the-water advocate who patrols and protects the Maryland and Northern Virginia Eastern Shore coastal bays, standing up to polluters, and granting everyone’s right to clean water. The Coastkeeper provides a voice for waterways when they cannot speak for themselves…to defend their right to be clean and healthy, swimmable and fishable. The Assateague COASTKEEPER, a program of Assateague Coastal Trust, began in 2002. Kathy Phillips is Assateague Coastal Trust’s Executive Director.

Coastkeeper boat samplingThe Coastkeeper is an in-the-trenches advocate for the health of the coastal bays and the communities who depend on them; making sure existing laws to protect water quality are fully enforced, pressing for the enactment of stronger measures to safeguard our marshes, creeks and bays, and standing up to polluters and policymakers to hold them accountable for their actions.

Throughout the year, Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT) and the Assateague Coastkeeper, a program of Assateague Coastal Trust, embark on various campaigns to raise public awareness on matters of concern to our watershed. Read more here.

AssateagueCoastkeeper.org

Facebook.com/Assateague.coastkeeper

Twitter.com/Coastkeeper

Instagram.com/coastkeeper

Advocacy

The COASTKEEPER® is an in-the-trenches advocate for the health of the coastal bays and the communities who depend on them; making sure existing laws to protect water quality are fully enforced, pressing for the enactment of stronger measures to safeguard our marshes, creeks and bays, and standing up to polluters and policymakers to hold them accountable for their actions.

The Pure Farms, Pure Waters campaign calls attention to the destructive pollution practices of industrialized meat production, ensures compliance with environmental laws, and supports the traditional family farms that industrial practices endanger.

Protect Our Coast campaign works to stop offshore oil and gas drilling. In 2015-2016, ACT led the successful effort in Maryland and Delaware to generate opposition to the federal government’s proposal to open the mid- and south-Atlantic coastal waters to offshore oil and gas development. They also were instrumental in getting all coastal municipalities in MD and DE to pass resolutions opposing seismic surveys and offshore drilling. Efforts to stop seismic surveys and oil and gas drilling continue because federal efforts to open up the Atlantic coast have been renewed under the current administration.

Patrolling

The COASTKEEPER® is an on-the-water monitor who patrols the watershed by boat in search of evidence of pollution or other water quality problems such as dredging, illegal buffer clearing, or illicit discharges to our water. Regular aerial monitoring of the coastal watershed complements the COASTKEEPER® boat patrol program. The COASTKEEPER® also reaches out to and engages citizens to provide additional eyes, ears and even noses to identify and report pollution sources.

Watershed Monitoring

The COASTKEEPER® conducts a water quality monitoring program from May to September. She samples weekly for important indicators of bay water health, such as dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, salinity, and water clarity. It is critical to monitor for water quality in order to accurately assess the condition of the waterways in our watershed. 

Harmful bacteria can be found in our waterways after heavy rains. These bacteria pose a human health risk, and COASTKEEPER® monitors bacteria levels to inform our community of that risk. She conducts weekly bacteria monitoring between Memorial Day and Labor Day and posts these results on the website each Friday. Results are also posted on The Swim Guide mobile phone app.

Public Education

The COASTKEEPER® is an on-the-ground educator who informs the public about environmentally friendly practices they can employ to prevent adverse impacts on the land and waters, and also keeps the public informed about legislative or policy making decisions that may have environmentally protective or adverse impacts on the watershed. The COASTKEEPER® works with the community to help us help ourselves.