Good news from our sister group in Georgia, as John Quarterman is now officially Suwannee Riverkeeper. The Waterkeeper Alliance has acted wisely and OSFR commends their choice, which gives our rivers more protection, and our protectors more strength. OSFR offers congratulations and sends best wishes for WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.l
the WATERKEEPER® Alliance Member for the Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha, and Suwannee Rivers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WWALS becomes Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
Contacts: John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®:
[email protected], 850-290-2350, suwanneeriverkeeper.orgMaia Raposo, Director of Communications & Marketing, Waterkeeper Alliance: [email protected]; 212.747.0622 ext. 116
Hahira, Georgia; December 30, 2016 ;
– The Waterkeeper Alliance Board of Directors has approved its Affiliate WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. to become a Member. The newly appointed Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®, John S. Quarterman, will work to protect and preserve the Suwannee River Basin by combining his firsthand knowledge of the waterways with an unwavering commitment to the rights of the community and to the rule of law.
“Waterkeeper Alliance is thrilled to have Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® to be the eyes, ears, and voice for this vital watershed and community,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Every community deserves to have swimmable, drinkable and fishable water, and John S. Quarterman is the right leader to fight for clean water in the region.”
The Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® will be a full-time advocate for the Suwannee River and its tributaries, including the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee Rivers in Georgia and Florida, protecting and restoring water quality through community action and enforcement. Quarterman stated, “Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®’s aim is to provide strong advocacy that will result in an improved quality of life for all citizens, whether they rely on it for drinking water or recreation or whether they simply value the Suwannee River Basin’s continued well-being.”
“Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® will have an incredibly important job,” added Marc Yaggi, Executive Director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Waterkeepers defend their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water, from law-breaking polluters to irresponsible government officials. Until our public agencies have the means necessary to protect us from polluters, and the will to enforce the law, there will always be a great need for people like John S. Quarterman to fight for our right to clean water.”
“Congratulations! This additional name of Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® will help WWALS in the fight to keep our waterways safe, clean, and accessible,” said Tim Carroll, Valdosta City Council District 5.
The Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® will work on watershed-related issues from the headwaters of the Little and Alapaha Rivers in Turner County, Georgia, and of the Suwannee River in the Okefenokee Swamp to Suwannee, Florida, at the Gulf of Mexico. Seven-hundred–year floods in 2009 and 2013 with deadfalls, road closings, and sewage overflows that spanned many counties in Georgia and Florida caused Quarterman and other local people in 2012 to form WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. as an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity to assist local people, governments, and organizations with these and other issues.
“Especially with the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan trying to track Floridan Aquifer issues across the Georgia-Florida state line, and with water use concerns for the current agricultural and projected industrial growth, the Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® name will amplify the efforts WWALS has already been making to conserve both water and finances in the north Florida-south Georgia Suwannee River Basin,” said WWALS member Dennis J. Price, P.G. of Hamilton County, Florida.
In the absence of major single-source pollution, water conservation work in the Suwannee River Basin is mostly helping organize coordination among many people and organizations. Water does not stop at state lines, so the most local issues can require coordination at national and even international scale. Sometimes more direct action is necessary, as in the four-month Florida legal case WWALS vs. Sabal Trail & FDEP against the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline. Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® invites everyone in the Suwannee River Basin to help conserve swimmable, boatable, fishable rivers, and drinkable water in the Floridan Aquifer, by working with the Water Trails and other committees, by paddling on outings, and in advocacy for conservation and stewardship through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities.
“I and the Suwannee-St, Johns Group of Sierra Club Florida have worked with WWALS Watershed Coalition for some time now, and we look forward to long, continued collaboration with Suwannee Riverkeeper,” said Maryvonne Devensky, Vice Chair/Outings/ICO, Suwannee-St. Johns Group of Sierra Club Florida.
About Waterkeeper Alliance: Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 300 Waterkeeper organizations around the world and focusing citizen advocacy on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeepers patrol and protect more than 2.4 million square miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. www.waterkeeper.org.