2021 Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER Year End Review and Appeal

First and foremost we wish all of you and your family members continued good health and peace during these challenging times. Thank you for supporting our efforts to protect and restore the Gunpowder and Bush River watersheds! Clean water is everyone’s right and a shared resource that must be protected for all.

Your support in 2021 resulted in:

A precedent setting favorable decision by Harford County Circuit Court that agreed with our arguments that the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) issued a wetlands and waterways permit without providing adequate public comment opportunity to Riverkeeper and the public. MDE failed to allow public comment on the permit’s Anti-Degradation Analysis and Socio-Economic Justification, a crucial part of the permit and core to MDE’s decision making. Riverkeeper successfully argued that this was a foreclosure of our statutory right to review and provide public comment on MDE’s wetland permitting decisions. The remand allowed Riverkeeper and the public to submit additional comments to MDE that were critical and opposed to MDE’s decision to allow Abingdon Woods, 330-acres of forested streams and wetlands, to be converted to a 2 million square foot business park. In all, the remand allowed for 78 additional comments to be received by MDE on this matter from local nonprofits, Homeowner’s Associations and affected residents.

To protect high quality waters in the Gunpowder and Bush River watersheds we were forced to file a Petition for Judicial Review on the MDE Wetlands and Waterways Permit that would allow for 250,000 square feet of impact to sensitive lands and waterways along the I-95 Extended Toll Lanes because MDE failed to require MDTA to undergo an Anti-Degradation Analysis and Socio-Economic Justification of the long term construction project until after its completion.

In 2021, we launched Swim Guide, an online tool and smartphone app to display localized bacteria monitoring data for Harford and Baltimore County streams, rivers and tidal waters. The Swim Guide will allow people to find safe beaches and swimming areas to recreate and enjoy their waterways in one easy place. The Swim Guide will serve as an important outreach guide to recreational activities and will feature photographs and historical data about the locations, as well as a way to report pollution concerns back to the Riverkeeper, which will help people make informed decisions about whether to swim or paddle.

You can help us do more in 2022 to address these environmental threats:

Provide capacity in our appeal against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on MDE’s PCB Pollution diet for the Gunpowder and Bird rivers that violates the Clean Water Act by failing to set pollution limits for sediment, the major source of PCBs in the Gunpowder and Bird Rivers. This pollution diet contains no clean up or PCB reduction strategy and results in fish consumption advisories for up to 49 years on the Gunpowder and 93 years on the Bird.

Support our complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to vacate EPA’s rewritten “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule – known as the Navigable Waters Protection rule that rolled back federal oversight of up to half the country’s wetlands and around a sixth of its streams. Harford and Baltimore Counties have approx. 3,345 miles of streams.

We need your financial support to maintain and enhance our River protection, monitoring, education and outreach efforts.

The Terry Newendorp Environmental Scholarship is a gift that was established by an avid fisherman and conservationist who with generosity and foresight knew that “protection of the Gunpowder River had to come from future generations.” In the past three years, we have disbursed $10,000 in Environmental Scholarships to assist college-bound high school seniors who will be entering a two year or four year course of study, excel in their coursework and volunteerism and have a strong connection to the Gunpowder River.

In its second year, the Clear Choices Clean Water program in Harford County increased awareness of our impacts to local rivers and streams – and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. You can still make an environmental pledge by visiting

Please consider a year-end donation of support to amplify our advocacy.

You may donate at: https://gunpowderriverkeeper.networkforgood.com/projects/130365-everyday-giving or by sending a check to Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER®, P.O. BOX 156 Monkton, MD 21111

Thank you for your support,

Theaux M. Le Gardeur

GRK is comprised of an Executive Director/RIVERKEEPER, nine board members and 23 committee members. Please let us know if you’d like to be more involved.

Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER® acknowledges that we protect land, water, sensitive species, and communities in the traditional territory of many nations including the Algonquin, the Susquehannock and the Delaware peoples.

Sensitive Species
Eastern Brook Trout are key indicator species of cold water stream water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and are present in the Little Gunpowder Falls Watershed.

GRK is a 501(c)(3) non-profit categorized by the IRS under Natural Resource Conservation and Protection. Your charitable contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. A copy of the current financial statement of GRK is available by writing P.O. BOX 156 Monkton, MD 21111 or calling 410-967-3526. Documents submitted under the Maryland Solicitations Act are also available, for the cost of postage and copies, from: The MD Sec. of State, State House, Annapolis MD 21401 (410) 974-5534

Spread the love