Chesapeake Bay Field Office
Northeast Region


Protecting a Gem: the South River Greenway Project
In the heart of fast developing Anne Arundel County, Maryland lies a natural jewel. Nestled between busy communities and close to both Baltimore and Washington D.C., are two of the largest remaining contiguous forests in the county. Land use includes farms, subdivisions, extensive wetlands and several thousand acres of undisturbed forest vital to the South River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay

Why is the South River Greenway important?
The forests and wetlands here harbor a large diversity of migratory birds; including species of high conservation concern like the Kentucky warbler, Louisiana waterthrush, wood thrush, worm-eating warbler and prairie warbler; amphibians including the wood frog; and many types of reptiles, and mammals. The watershed also contains many historical relics. A Native American burial ground is located near one of the streams as well as remains of a colonial wharf.   

Due to its location within an easy commute to major metropolitan areas, forested tracts within the Greenway are under intense development pressure. Seventy-five percent of the undeveloped forests have highly erodible soils, meaning small disturbances result in large amounts of sediment transported into the South River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

The South River Greenway Project
A movement to preserve and restore land in the South River watershed has been quietly building over a couple of years. Groups including The Scenic Rivers Land Trust, The South River Federation, The Trust For Public Land, Biophilia Foundation, Anne Arundel County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chesapeake Bay Field Office have joined together to protect the wildlife, forests, wetlands and streams in the South River watershed.

The South River Greenway Project is a comprehensive long term watershed protection, restoration and community outreach initiative. The long term goal is to protect 6000 acres of land half of which is already publicly owned or under some kind of protection. In addition, the project will address erosion on many miles of streams, restore upland wildlife habitat, open one blockage to migratory fish, and provide citizens with opportunities to access natural areas and to help with watershed restoration projects. Anne Arundel County the Greenway a priority and will soon own newly 900 acres of forest and wetland that will become the Bacon ridge Natural area Park.

The South River Greenway is just one example of how the Chesapeake Bay Field Office is taking a comprehensive approach to protect and restore habitat, while connecting people with nature. This principle incorporates natural resources, environmental quality and human health, ensuring the future of conservation in America.

The South River Greenway Project will:

Permanently protect forests, streams, wetlands, and farms

Restore streams, forests, wetlands, and other habitats

Provide access on public land and opportunities for citizen involvement

Reduce sediment and nutrient runoff into South River and Chesapeake Bay

Inventory wildlife and plant populations


For more information contact:
Rich Mason
Chesapeake Bay Field Office



Last updated: January 6, 2011