Patuxent Riverkeeper Fred Tutman

Patuxent Riverkeeper Fred Tutman was born and raised along the Patuxent River as were seven generations of his ancestors before him. In 2004, Fred founded Patuxent Riverkeeper to be a grassroots community advocate for clean water in Maryland’s longest and deepest intrastate waterway. He is among the longest serving Waterkeepers in the Chesapeake region and the only African-American Waterkeeper in the nation. He lives on an active farm located near the Patuxent that has been his family’s ancestral home for nearly a century. Prior to founding Patuxent Riverkeeper in 2004, Fred operated a business that provided professional media and mass communication services internationally. After a late life sojourn into law school, Fred is now an adjunct instructor at historic St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he teaches an upper level course in Environmental Law and Policy. He is an avid kayaker, backpacker and adventurer. In his spare time he explores the Patuxent River by kayak, blacksmiths, writes and works on his farm.

Patuxent Riverkeeper’s mission is to conserve, protect and replenish Maryland’s longest and deepest intrastate waterway. Through strategic advocacy, restoration and education, our goal is long-term sustainability for the ecosystem of the entire Patuxent River basin and the people who rely on its future.

2018 Discussion with Fred Tutman on race and the environment, Environmental Justice, and the Patuxent River

Patuxent Riverkeeper’s work:


Storm water Regulatory Reform: Seek stiffer enforcement, better laws and improved design for cleaner development

Wastewater Plant Enforcement: Monitor upgrades and compliance for major and minor sewage sources

Contaminants: Prevent wholesale pollution of waterways through monitoring and litigation


Land Preservation: Preserve open spaces, farmlands and stream buffers

Waterway Patrols and Complaint Resolution:  Engage in direct involvement and advocacy on the waterway

Watershed Management, Planning and Sustainability: Promote a comprehensive plan to clean up the river and encourage practices that prevent pollution and degradation


Annual Patuxent Cleanup: Support and expand local efforts to restore and beautify the river

Patuxent Roughnecks: A dedicated group of volunteers who restore and maintain fish passage and free-flowing river

Improve public access for paddling and low-impact recreation

Speak at venues across sectors to raise awareness