A Riverkeeper is a full-time advocate for a body of water and its surrounding community. Each Riverkeeper is an affiliate of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a grassroots advocacy organization founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Although most Waterkeepers are Riverkeepers, there are also Baykeepers, Harborkeepers, Coastkeepers and Lakekeepers. Internationally, there are a total of 162 non-profit, privately-funded Waterkeeper programs. Here in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we have 14, with 5 in Anne Arundel County alone: Baltimore Harborkeeper, and Patuxent, Severn, South and West/Rhode Riverkeepers.
These skilled environmentalists are equal parts scientist, lawyer, investigator, educator and advocate. They advocate compliance with environmental laws, respond to citizen complaints, identify problems that affect their waterbodies and devise appropriate remedies to address these problems.
Each Riverkeeper has a boat -- ranging in size from a canoe to a research vessel -- to patrol his or her waterway. In fact, Riverkeepers spend much of their time out on the water, monitoring water quality, surveying the shoreline or talking with citizens. To find out how to contact your local Riverkeeper, visit the Waterkeeper Alliance webpage, http://www.waterkeeper.org.
- Chris Trumbauer
Photograph of Drew Koslow, South