Fred Tutman is one of the longest serving riverkeepers in the Chesapeake region and the only African American riverkeeper in the United States. He is a grassroots community advocate for clean water in Maryland’s longest and deepest intrastate waterway. He holds the title of Patuxent Riverkeeper, which is also the name of the organization that he founded in 2004. He was recently featured in the national magazine, Waterkeepers, and explained that, “In some ways, Patuxent Riverkeeper is a cross-cultural bridge between the have and the have-nots in this watershed, ﬁghting some of the most controversial battles and, frankly, the hardest to fund.”
In the same piece, Eagle Harbor, MD Mayor James Crudup spoke to Tutman’s significant impact on his small community. “Before Fred we didn’t have anyone that we could turn to and ﬁnd out what was going on in regard to the town’s waterfront. Recently he was very instrumental in our receiving grants from the Department of Environmental Resources, including a $100,000 grant to help creek ﬂooding and erosion.” Over 16 years, Patuxent Riverkeeper has litigated 19 cases and prevailed in eight of them, winning nearly a half-billion dollars in judicial penalties, ﬁnes and reparations from polluters. Tutman is known as a thoughtful listener, skilled strategist, and dogged fighter for what’s right.
Fred also lives and works on an active farm located near the Patuxent that has been his family’s ancestral home for nearly a century. Prior to river keeping, Tutman spent nearly three decades as a media producer and consultant on telecommunications assignments across the globe. In 2020, he was named a Taking Nature Black National Environmental Champion.