Assateague Coastal Trust
ACT To Protect Our Coastal Bays
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The Assateague Coastkeeper

Meet Our Coastkeeper

Kathy Phillips, The Assateague Coastkeeper®, 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.


The Coastkeeper® is an in-the-trenches advocate for the health of the coastal bays and the communities who depend on them; making sure existing laws to protect water quality are fully enforced, pressing for the enactment of stronger measures to safeguard our marshes, creeks and bays, and standing up to polluters and policymakers to hold them accountable for their actions.


The Coastkeeper® is an on-the-water monitor who patrols the watershed by boat in search of evidence of pollution or other water quality problems such as dredging, illegal buffer clearing, or illicit discharges to our water. Regular aerial monitoring of the coastal watershed complements the Coastkeeper® boat patrol program. The Coastkeeper® also reaches out to and engages citizens to provide additional eyes, ears and even noses to identify and report pollution sources.

Watershed Monitoring

The Coastkeeper® conducts a water quality monitoring program from May to September. She samples weekly for important indicators of bay water health, such as dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, salinity, and water clarity. It is critical to monitor for water quality in order to accurately assess the condition of the waterways in our watershed.

Harmful bacteria can be found in our waterways after heavy rains. These bacteria pose a human health risk, and Coastkeeper® monitors bacteria levels to inform our community of that risk. She conducts weekly bacteria monitoring between Memorial Day and Labor Day and posts these results on the website each Friday.

Public Education

The Coastkeeper® is an on-the-ground educator who informs the public about environmentally friendly practices they can employ to prevent adverse impacts on the land and waters, and also keeps the public informed about legislative or policy making decisions that may have environmentally protective or adverse impacts on the watershed. The Coastkeeper® works with the community to help us help ourselves.