South West & Rhode Riverkeeper Elle Bassett

South West & Rhode RIVERKEEPER® Elle Bassett grew up on the South River in Annapolis and has a passion for being outdoors and introducing others to their local rivers. Elle become the South, West & Rhode Riverkeeper in 2022. Elle is dedicated to the protection and restoration of rivers. Elle grew up along the South River. She was an education and outreach coordinator before becoming the Miles-Wye Riverkeeper for ShoreRivers in 2018. Over her career, she has worked to connect communities and youth to the water by inviting residents to join her on the rivers to monitor water quality, plant sea grasses, and restore oyster reefs. Elle attended Washington College for her undergrad and has a Masters in environmental education. She is a certified “Natural Leader” by the Children & Nature Network and has previously worked with the Chesapeake Bay Trust and NOAA.

Jesse Iliff served as South, West & Rhode Riverkeeper from 2015 to 2022.

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

The 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.