South West & Rhode Riverkeeper Jesse Iliff

South West & Rhode RIVERKEEPER® Jesse Iliff started in 2015 at the South River Federation. In 2019, South River Federation merged with the West/Rhode Riverkeeper to become Arundel Rivers Federation, home to the two Riverkeepers. Jesse Iliff, an attorney, attended University of Maryland, Carey School of Law, with a concentration in environmental law. While in law school, Jesse earned a Public Service Award for designing a pro bono project for environmental law students to assist in litigation regarding unsound wastewater treatment and retention practices by surface mining companies in West Virginia. Jesse also served as co-executive of the Maryland Environmental Law Society, designing and implementing conservation and fundraising programs for the student organization. In addition, Jesse completed an Asper Fellowship with the Anne Arundel County Office of Law’s natural resources division, and interned with the Office of the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit. Before joining the South River Federation, Jesse provided pro bono counsel and representation to several community groups and non-profit organizations through the Chesapeake Legal Alliance. (In 2020, The West-Rhode Riverkeeper position merged with the South Riverkeeper.)

Annual Scorecard

Since 2007, the Federation has compiled an annual South River Scorecard. Each year, the Scorecard presents data on 10 key indicators of River health, such as: water clarity, dissolved oxygen, underwater grasses, nutrients, and the abundance of aquatic life. Much of the data in the Scorecard has been collected by the South Riverkeeper, but the report also utilizes data from a variety of respected sources such as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. South River Report Card.

Water Quality

jesseiliffThe Federation prides itself on science-based restoration. To enhance their understanding of the river, the South RIVERKEEPER® collects a battery of water quality data from 21 different sites around the River on a weekly basis. The data collected includes: temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen by depth, salinity, water clarity, and nutrients. In addition, we have a corps of Riverwatchers, trained volunteers who collect regular data on non-tidal sections of the River and report it back to the RIVERKEEPER®. South River Data Map.

Bacteria Data

The South River Federation is a participant in Operation Clearwater, a bacteria testing program for community waterfront recreational areas on the South River that runs from May through Labor Day. The program provides waterfront communities on the South River with regular updates of the microbial water quality at their waterfront recreational areas.

The Swim Guide Mobile App

The South  RIVERKEEPER® participates in the The Swim Guide Mobile App, an online tool and smartphone app to display local bacteria monitoring data including the South River. The Swim Guide makes it easy to explore and enjoy the best beaches in the area.

Pumpout Boat “HoneyDipper”

Arundel Rivers Federation offers pump-out service for recreational boaters on the West, Rhode and South Rivers. This program is supported by a grant from Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Call to get your holding tank pumped out.

Oyster Restoration

Oysters are an important natural resource. They 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 rivers West/Rhode Riverkeeper partners with two programs, the Marylanders Grow Oysters Progam in the Rhode River and Project Oyster West River (POWeR) in the West River. With both of these programs they work to get the public involved in taking care of their own “mini oyster reef” where wildlife of all kinds thrive.