Miles-Wye Riverkeeper Elle Bassett taking samples for bacteria testing.

ShoreRivers is pleased to announce an expanded bacteria testing program for the 2019 swimming season. The strain of bacteria sampled, Enterococci, indicates pathogens that may cause human illness. This bacteria can originate from a variety of sources, including failing septic systems, sewer overflows or leaks, poultry and livestock operations, improper disposal from marine tanks, and pet waste. During significant rainfalls, the possibility always exists for elevated and unsafe bacteria levels. As a general precaution, it is recommended to avoid water contact for 48 hours after profuse rain events or any time if you have an open cut or wound. Always shower after swimming.

ShoreRivers will test popular swim sites weekly until Labor Day: five sites on the Choptank River, two sites in Eastern Bay, one site on the Wye River, two sites on the Miles River, twelve sites on the Chester River, and three sites on the Sassafras River. Sites include: Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park Beach, Oxford Strand, Bellevue Beach, Sailwinds Park Beach, Great Marsh Park, Claiborne Beach, Broad Cove, Drum Point Beach on Wye Island, Miles River Yacht Club, Tunis Mills Landing, Duck Neck, Morgan Creek, Rosin Creek, Chestertown Marina, Chester River Yacht and Country Club, Rolphs Wharf , Camp Pecometh, Langford Bay, Grays Inn Creek, Conquest Beach, Corsica River Yacht Club, Centreville Wharf, Georgetown Bridge, Dyer Creek, and Indian Acres.

Results will be posted on the SwimGuide website ( and smart phone app that allows users across the Chesapeake Bay region to check the health of local swimming beaches. Additionally, ShoreRivers’ Riverkeepers will post bacteria results on their social media pages. Follow the Chester Riverkeeper, Choptank Riverkeeper, Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, and Sassafras Riverkeeper on Facebook and Instagram for updates, or follow #SwimmableShoreRivers. Thank you to the following funders for supporting the continuation and expansion of this program: Royal Bank of Canada, Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, TriCycle and Run, Dorchester County, and community donations.

ShoreRivers Pumpout Boat provides free service on the Miles and Wye Rivers from May to October.

The ShoreRivers Pumpout Boat is a free service to the boating community that helps combat this harmful pollution. Local and visiting boaters are encouraged to take advantage of this service and do their part to keep our waterways clean. The boat services the busy St. Michaels Harbor and marinas and private docks on the Miles and Wye Rivers.

ShoreRivers launched this program in 2016 as a convenient way for boaters to properly dispose of concentrated marine waste without polluting our rivers. The Pumpout Boat is funded by the Department of Natural Resources, and operates in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which provides dockage for the vessel free dockage, storage, and use of their land-based pumpout station to off-load waste that is transferred to the updated St. Michaels Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Pumpout Boat Captain Jim Freeman states, “Both transients and locals rave about the convenience of using the pumpout boat because they don’t have to deal with the hassle of a crowded marina in order to pump-out their tanks. We can serve any boater on the Miles and Wye Rivers and can remove up to 300 gallons of waste from their vessel.”

More than 1,000 boats have receive pump-outs since the vessel began operating. This service is available Friday evenings and weekends (including holiday Mondays) through October. Boaters can contact the Pumpout Boat at 410.829.4352 or VHF channel 9 to arrange service. Captain Jim is also available at to answer questions or setup a regular schedule. ShoreRivers is looking forward to another productive year and hopes to break last year’s record of keeping 15,000 gallons of waste out of our rivers.

For more information about any of ShoreRivers’ water quality programs, please visit or call 443-385-0511. Here’s to a clean, safe summer enjoying our rivers!