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Assateague Coastal Trust is the WATERKEEPER Alliance licensed organization for the coastal watershed of lower Delmarva.  We are part of a global network of non-profit organizations fighting for every community’s right to water that is fishable and swimmable.
Lower Shore Safe Wells Initiative Detects Nitrate In Residents' Private Wells
In 2021 ACT partnered with a team of environmental policy advocates, community members, and public health scientists on the Lower Shore Safe Well Water Initiative,  to protect public health by engaging residents of Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties in community science focused on drinking water quality in the region.

Overall, 127 residents tested their private wells for nitrate. Nearly one-fifth of wells had nitrate levels that may be hazardous to health. These results complement a report published by Center For Progressive Reform (CPR) in 2020, which found that four percent of private wells in Wicomico and Worcester counties had nitrate levels above the federal standard of 10 milligrams per liter.  

The initiative’s findings illustrate the importance of annual well water testing, but evidence suggests this isn’t happening. In a survey completed by participants prior to testing their wells, few reported testing their wells annually. Meanwhile, nearly a third of participants indicated that they had never tested their wells. In a follow-up survey after testing concluded, more than a third of respondents said that the cost of testing and remediation was a barrier to regular testing. 

ACT is supporting 2022 Maryland legislation (HB250), introduced by CPR, that will establish a Private Well Safety Program that would provide roughly 830,000 Marylanders who get their drinking water from a private well with the necessary resources and information to monitor and safeguard their household drinking water, and ultimately protect their and their family’s health.The bill is currently being debated in committee and if it moves to the House of Delegates for a vote, we will send out an ACTion Alert to our members asking to contact the Eastern Shore Delegates for support.

The annual 2022 MD Environmental Legislative Summit was held virtually on January 25th. To view a full recording of the annual 2022 Environmental Legislative Summit, click HERE

EarthCare LLC- BIOGAS facility in Wicomico loses its funding through the Maryland Department of Agriculture

ACT Coastkeeper Gabby Ross, with partner Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP) and community leaders prepared this month to oppose a purported 'waste to energy' facility in Wicomico County that would have been located in an underserved community, and would have allowed hundreds of truckloads of poultry manure, poultry processing waste, and other polluting waste products to be transported on their streets.  ACT Board member, and Wicomico County NAACP Environmental Justice Chief, Monica Brooks lead a community effort to oppose the location of the facility off Owens Branch Road near Salisbury.

Just prior to a public hearing in Wicomico County to discuss a permit for the EarthCare Biogas facility, the Maryland Department of Agriculture pulled the $2 million grant of taxpayer dollars to fund the project. 

ACT is opposed to the construction of these types of facilities on the lower Eastern Shore as they are not a solution to the excess chicken manure problem.  BioGas facilities not only create their own waste that can pollute air and water, but too often they are proposed for construction in communities that are already stressed by environmental pollution or proposed for locations that are too near sensitive marshes and waterways. 
You can learn more about why BioGas is a false solution HERE.

ACT, with partner Food and Water Watch and other allies, is working on the Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2022 HB011 to address the concerns that incineration and ‘bio gas’ anaerobic digestion should not be promoted as sustainable and renewable energy sources in the Maryland Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS.)

ACT Urges Favorable Vote For Pesticide Regulation by MDE

Last week ACT submitted written and oral testimony in favor of The Maryland Pesticide Regulation-Transfer to Dept. of Environmental Bill: SB268   This legislation would move the authority to regulate pesticides from the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)—the agency with scientific expertise charged with the oversight of toxic substances. 

ACT's Watershed Specialist, Billy Weiland, gave oral testimony in front of the Maryland Senate Education/Health/Environment Committee to support the proposed bill, calling for more transparency and accountability in the application of pesticides which can often affect residential neighborhoods located next to agricultural fields or subject to mosquito spraying, and can also damage the ecosystems of our waterways. 

To view ACT’s written testimony, click HERE

MDE Opens New Public Information Portal (still in progress)

Your Assateague Coastkeeper says: "This website needs to be bookmarked for my fellow advocates!"

MDE recently updated the Open MDE portal that they built in response to a transparency bill that was filed last year. Here is the new webpage. Bookmark it! ✔️

Why Is Offshore Wind So Confusing? Fact Based Discussion Available on ACT Website

Understanding how the wind industry and government are developing our offshore areas can be confusing and there is a lot of misinformation on social media. Recently two experts in the energy field, Bonnie Ram and Tom Webler, recorded a presentation to help explain the offshore wind development process and help the layperson better understand the permitting timeline and opportunities for the public to engage.

ACT has been working with Bonnie and Tom (who are not affiliated with any government agency or wind developer) to bring together more of these fact-based 'information exchanges' with the public.

Learn more HERE and listen to the first of several podcasts about offshore wind and our energy needs. 

Assateague COASTKEEPER Gabby Ross, is an on-the-water advocate who patrols and protects the Maryland and Northern Virginia Eastern Shore coastal bays, standing up to polluters, and granting everyone’s right to clean water. Working arm in arm with diverse community partners, our Coastkeeper protects and defends the health of Delmarva’s coastal waters through advocacy, education, science, and the enforcement of just and equitable clean water laws. Follow her on Facebook HERE.

EnviroDIY Workshop April 14-15

Want to learn more about real time water quality monitoring and data collection? ACT and Shore Rivers have been actively working with Stroud Water Research Center over the past year on the Pocomoke and Choptank Rivers. As part of Stroud’s study, which aims to better understand sediment connectivity between rivers and estuaries using microbial signatures to source track particles, a total of 8 data stations were deployed on the Pocomoke and Choptank Rivers in October 2021. These stations collect an array of water quality parameters in real time and report the observations to an online data portal at The ability to capture data in this way helps produce a powerful dataset that can lend significantly to further study of water quality.

Recently we were able to identify a spike in conductivity at the Snow Hill station site on January 31st, which we have attributed to salt runoff during the snow melt at that time!

On April 14th and 15th, Stroud is hosting a 2 day workshop at Shore Rivers in Easton. The workshop will run each day from 9 am – 4 pm, and will cover topics such as programing, building, installation, and maintenance of the same data station setup currently being used on the Pocomoke and Choptank Rivers! Day one will focus on programming, data sensors, and the online data portal Monitor My Watershed. Day two will focus on deployment techniques, troubleshooting, and data management. 

Registration is now open. Register HERE.

An itinerary of the 2 day workshop is available HERE.

If you have further questions regarding the workshop or the project, please contact ACT’s Billy Weiland at

Register Now

Scott Ensign And Jinjun Of The Stroud Water Research Center Joined Billy Weiland On The Pocomoke River This Month

On February 9th, ACT and personnel from Stroud Water Research Center made a sampling run in the Coastkeeper boat from Shelltown to Snow Hill as part of a study being led by Stroud. The three year project aims to better understand sediment connectivity in river and estuary systems by using sediment microbial signatures.

ACT’s 23rd Annual Native Plant Sale

There’s snow on the ground, but it’s prime time to start planning those gardens for the Spring months ahead. ACT is excited to bring our annual Native Plant Sale back to the community for the 23rd year!

This year’s plant sale will be held on Saturday, May 7th from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm.

An eclectic mix of native sun and shade pollinators will be offered, including some new additions like culver root (Veronicastrum virginicum), eastern wood fern (Dryopteris marginalis), and tall larkspur (Delphinium exaltatum). 

We’ll also have lots of herbs, and tomato and pepper verities grown by local organic guru, Dave Wiley of Herbs, Spice, and Everything Nice. 

Our online plant sale store will be live soon! Be sure to continue checking our website to see all the plants we’ll have available in May. 

Look for a follow up email in the coming months with additional information about online ordering, pickup times, and vendor tabling on May 7th.

Coast Kids

Screech Owl Nesting boxes found new homes in January as part of the Coast Kids’ Coast Kits that were mailed out to participating members. The boxes, once assembled, will serve as important nesting quarters for area screech owls. Nesting boxes for native bird species can help small populations as development continues to take up the woodlands throughout Delmarva that serve as critical habitat. 

Oil Spill Clean-Up Course: Oil Spills are one of the worst environmental disasters. On Sunday, February 27th Coast Kids will learn about the impact of oil spills on animals and plants. The focus for the afternoon will be on exploring several methods to contain and clean up an oil spill through an interactive experiment. This event will be indoors at the ACT office. Details and registration are available HERE.




Through the window or between the whirls of cedar,

a keen eye

a willingness to adventure for something a little different.

It can create those spaces in Nature we all are seeking.

It’s always been there.

Not hiding, but waiting.

Waiting for the passerby,

the friend turned stranger

to look on and adore

such a magnificent scene.

Against the backdrop of a white landscape.

Covered in snow.

Secrets that are only revealed when we offer it our greatest debt,


To know its intricacies

To have walked through the drifts and with the cold

To know what it is that binds us to what we seek but often cannot find

To restore a balance.


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