Miles-Wye riverkeeper returns home – becomes the South, West and Rhode riverkeeper

Arundel Rivers Federation (Arundel Rivers) announced the hiring of Anne Arundel County native, Elle Bassett, as the new South, West, and Rhode riverkeeper.

Jesse Iliff, the former South, West and Rhode riverkeeper, left to become the executive director of the Severn River Association in March.

As riverkeeper, according to Arundel Rivers, Bassett will be the eyes, ears, and voice for the South, West, and Rhode rivers – she’ll be responsible for water quality monitoring, identifying sources of pollution, advocating for river protection and restoration, as well as environmental education and community engagement.

Gingerville Creek, Edgewater, Md. File photo.

Bassett grew up along the South River and spent the past 10 years working to advance clean water solutions on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She was an education and outreach coordinator before becoming the Miles-Wye Riverkeeper for ShoreRivers in 2018. She worked to connect communities to the water by inviting people of all ages to join her for water quality monitoring, sea grass planting and restoration of oyster reefs.

“Being a riverkeeper is a dream job, but being the riverkeeper for my home river is a home run,” said Bassett. “I’m excited to bring all the skills I’ve learned over my ten years with ShoreRivers back to this side of the Chesapeake Bay and start working with my hometown communities to protect our rivers together.”

Arundel Rivers’ Executive Director, Matt Johnston, stated, “Elle will transform everything we do for our rivers. She will bring new communities and residents of our watersheds to our rivers so that we all may take part in this fight for clean water. As one of those watershed residents, I am thrilled to have Elle as my riverkeeper.”

ShoreRivers’ Executive Director, Isabel Hardesty, commented, “While we are certainly sad to see Elle leave, we are excited about this new opportunity for her and Arundel Rivers. Our organizations have always worked together in Annapolis to fight for clean water, and now one of the strongest voices in that fight will be working just steps from the State House. I’m excited to see what we will accomplish together in the years ahead.”

Donna L. Cole is an award-winning multimedia and investigative reporter. She focuses on the people, places and natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay area.

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