From my friend Cyrus Buffum:
It’s official, there is a Charleston Waterkeeper!
On September 16, 2008 the Waterkeeper Alliance Board of Directors approved Charleston Waterkeeper as the newest member of the Waterkeeper family. The Chairman of the Board, Robert Kennedy, Jr., and the rest of the Board Members approved two other programs: the Choptank Riverkeeper in Maryland and the Loreto Baykeeper in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The addition of these three programs brings the Waterkeeper Alliance total to 182 programs internationally.
We at Charleston Waterkeeper want to congratulate the other programs as we know first hand the hard work that has gone into the establishment of their organizations. The many conversations I’ve had with individuals throughout the community have provided me with the advice, guidance, insight, and support needed to get this far. I want to thank everyone for all of their help over the past few months in making this program a reality…now, the fun (and work) really starts!
If the past couple of weeks are any indicator of what the next few weeks will hold, things will be incredibly busy and incredibly fun. Jumping in head first, the “official” Charleston Waterkeeper served as the site coordinator for an international coastal cleanup effort this weekend. This past Saturday the SC Sea Grant Consortium and SCDNR held its 20th annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep. I was responsible for coordinating the Folly Beach cleanup effort and did my best to assure that it was a successful day. In short, it absolutely was! For more information about the cleanup efforts made by all the volunteers on Folly this weekend, check out the Charleston Waterkeeper blog.
Additionally, a couple of weeks ago 60 conservationists gathered in Columbia, SC for the annual Common Agenda meeting, hosted by Conservation Voters of South Carolina Education Fund. The proposed (at that time) Charleston Waterkeeper program was one of 26 organizations represented at the meeting, collaborating to establish conservation priorities for the upcoming legislative year. Two other Waterkeeper organizations were present, the Waccamaw Riverkeeper and the Catawba Riverkeeper. The final list of 2009 legislative priorities includes:
Water Use (Water withdrawal permitting legislation)
Energy Efficiency (Energy savings target, Modernized building codes)
Conservation Bank (Increased land protection funding)
Renewable Energy (Portfolio Standard, Infrastructure Fund, Solar Access)
Water Quality & Conservation (tiered water rates, stream buffers, clean up polluted waters)
Clean, Healthy Air (Clean up diesel particulate pollution from ships/trucks)
As you can see, water was a huge priority in this year’s meeting. The establishment of Charleston Waterkeeper will assure that our community will have a voice regarding our water issues.
The next steps for Charleston Waterkeeper will be to begin building a membership base, raising funds, and establishing priorities for Charleston’s waterways. Over the next week or so we will be finalizing our membership campaign and will invite you all to take part. After this email, Charleston Waterkeeper will be corresponding using its new email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, so feel free to begin using that email address to contact us. Also, please visit www.charlestonwaterkeeper.blogspot.com for updated information, pertinent articles, and news regarding Charleston’s water quality.
Thank you all for your continual support!
Proud member of Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc.
Take PRIDE, take RESPONSIBILITY, take ACTION