Building on a decades-long legacy, ShoreRivers has grown its grassroots foundation in local communities, reduced pollution in Eastern Shore waterways, and elevated the organization’s voice at state and regional levels in Chesapeake Bay policy and regulatory issues. ShoreRivers is now one of the preeminent voices for clean water in the Delmarva region, using this leverage and expertise to implement innovative agricultural practices, produce high quality environmental education programming in public schools, and enforce clean water laws for the benefit of every citizen.
With these successes as a springboard, it is with gratitude and a salutation that the Governing Board of ShoreRivers announces the retirement of Executive Director Jeffrey Horstman at the end of 2020. Since 2010, Horstman has served in several capacities, including as a board member, the Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, executive director of one of ShoreRivers’ legacy organizations, and ultimately as executive director of ShoreRivers. In that time, he has led the organization to become a regional powerhouse for professional, impactful environmental work.
With Horstman’s retirement at the end of the year, the board is proud to announce a unanimous vote to promote Deputy Director Isabel Hardesty to executive director in 2021. Under Hardesty’s pivotal leadership, ShoreRivers will continue to advocate tirelessly for clean water with an inclusive vision of the future.
Hardesty has been with the organization for almost ten years. Her experiences as policy director, Chester Riverkeeper, regional director, and deputy director provide a breadth of knowledge and deep understanding of the organization that will ensure a smooth leadership transition and uninterrupted progress toward the organization’s goals.
“We have all worked hard to develop an organization that is now the foremost expert for water quality on the Delmarva,” says Hardesty. “I am energized by the prospect of leading ShoreRivers as we continue to thrive and advance our mission to protect and restore our rivers.”
Hardesty previously worked for Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC, before joining the Chester River Association in 2011. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Bucknell University and a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University.
“It is with full confidence and a positive outlook toward ShoreRivers’ future that I retire from the role that has brought me great joy and fulfillment,” says Horstman. “Isabel is a natural choice to lead ShoreRivers in this next phase as we continue working for healthy rivers.”
ShoreRivers focuses on the waterways of the Chester, Choptank, Sassafras, Miles, and Wye Rivers, Eastern Bay, and the Bayside Creeks. The main office is located in Easton with regional offices in Chestertown and Galena. A dedicated staff of educators, scientists, restoration specialists, and advocates focuses on policies and projects that improve the health of our rivers. ShoreRivers was created in 2017 when the Chester River Association, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, and Sassafras River Association merged.
ShoreRivers’ four Riverkeepers represent a large geographic region of the Delmarva, with activities that include water quality monitoring, bacteria monitoring, on-the-ground restoration, community engagement, and non-partisan political advocacy. The ShoreRivers Agricultural Department has grown into a regional driving force for installing innovative projects on farms and for cultivating productive collaborations with the agricultural community. The ShoreRivers Education Department provides quality professional development opportunities for teachers and classroom lessons for students (currently in virtual settings) to grow the next generation of environmental stewards. And in recognition of the role ShoreRivers should play in the national movement for greater diversity and equity, the newly-created Community Engagement Department leads the organization’s efforts in developing a strong and diverse ambassador base for mobilizing grassroots behavior changes and inspiring civic engagement.