RELEASE: Green Truck hosts fundraiser for ORK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05/13/2024
Contact: Meaghan Walsh Gerard
Communications and Administrative Director
meaghan@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org

GREEN TRUCK PUB HOSTS FUNDRAISER FOR OGEECHEE RIVERKEEPER
The business will match donations on June 18 

Green Truck Neighborhood Pub is partnering with Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK) for Membership Month by hosting a Community Night on Tuesday, June 18. From 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Green Truck will match donations made to ORK that day and donate a portion of total sales. ORK staff will be on hand to answer questions and share information about the organization’s work. 

“As a local, sustainable business, we are proud to support an organization working for clean waters in our communities,” owner Whitney Shephard says. “This is a really simple way for neighbors to help neighbors. Just come in for dinner, and make a donation while you’re here. That’s it.”

“Green Truck Pub is a perfect real-world example,” says Damon Mullis, ORK executive director and riverkeeper. “They are an environmentally-conscious, sustainable, award-winning, and successful neighborhood business. Plus they offer great food and beer.”

View the event

ORK will have a table with information about its efforts to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality in the basin, with an emphasis on the local Protect The Vernon project. Staff will also be on hand to answer questions, share volunteer opportunities, and more. 

Membership numbers are crucial to ORK’s legislative efforts, grant applications, legal challenges, and more. The annual membership drive underlines the importance of demonstrating constituent support of ORK’s work. 

Event details: https://www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org/events/green-truck-membership-night/

About Ogeechee Riverkeeper: Ogeechee Riverkeeper 501(c)(3) works to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin, which includes all of the streams flowing out to Ossabaw Sound and St. Catherine’s Sound. The Canoochee River is about 108 miles long and the Ogeechee River itself is approximately 245 miles long. The Ogeechee River system drains more than 5,500 square miles across 21 counties in Georgia. More at ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.

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RELEASE: ORK celebrates the signing of HB 1223

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05/10/2024
Contact: Meaghan Walsh Gerard
Communications and Administrative Director
meaghan@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org

SIGNING OF BILL IS FIRST STEP PROTECTING GEORGIA’S WATERWAYS FROM ‘SOIL AMENDMENTS’

HB 1223 received overwhelming bipartisan support

Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK), a leading environmental advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Georgia’s waterways, celebrates the signing of House Bill 1223 into law. This legislation represents a small but crucial step forward in safeguarding the health and vitality of Georgia’s rivers, streams, and wetlands.

“We commend the Georgia leadership for recognizing the need for this law,” said Damon Mullis, riverkeeper and executive director of ORK. “HB 1223 will not only benefit our farmers by promoting healthier soil practices, but it will also safeguard our waterways from potential harm. However, this is just the first step in regulating so-called ‘soil amendments’ that pose a threat to clean water.”

HB 1223, supported by environmental groups across the state, bolsters protections for Georgia’s water resources by strengthening regulations related to companies providing ‘soil amendments’. It requires transparency on the contents of the amendments and provides some measures of enforcement. Local county officials recently impacted by the surge of sludge were frustrated by soil improvement practices as they lacked regulatory power to address the issue. Even with the new law, soil amendments will still fall under the jurisdiction of the state agriculture department, however, the department has committed to being more engaged in regulating the practice.

ORK has been a vocal advocate for strong environmental policies and has actively engaged stakeholders in promoting sustainable water management practices. Carly Nielsen, ORK’s Upper Watershed Representative, has been tracking affected sites, monitoring nearby waterways, and attending county meetings. “We believe that clean water is essential for the well-being of rural communities, affected wildlife, and healthy ecosystems,” said Nielsen. “The signing of this law is a testament to what can be achieved when community members, environmental groups, and policymakers collaborate for the common good.”

About Ogeechee Riverkeeper: Ogeechee Riverkeeper 501(c)(3) works to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin, which includes all of the streams flowing out to Ossabaw Sound and St. Catherine’s Sound. The Canoochee River is about 108 miles long and the Ogeechee River itself is approximately 245 miles long. The Ogeechee River system drains more than 5,500 square miles across 21 counties in Georgia. More at ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.

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PDF of release – Signing of HB 1223

ORK attends Clean 13 Celebration

MEDIA ADVISORY
05/08/2024
Contact: Meaghan Walsh Gerard
Communications and Administrative Director
meaghan@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org

OGEECHEE RIVERKEEPER ATTENDS CLEAN 13 CELEBRATION
The event is hosted by Georgia Water Coalition 

April 30, 2024 – 2024 Clean 13 Celebration by the Georgia Water Coalition | photo by Erik Voss

Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK) attended the Clean 13 Celebration on April 30, 2024. The regular event is hosted by Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) to celebrate the state’s clean water heroes. GWC publishes this list not only to recognize these positive efforts on behalf of Georgia’s water but also as a call to action for our state’s leaders and citizens to review these success stories, borrow from them and emulate them. 

GWC is a consortium of more than 285 conservation and environmental organizations, hunting and fishing groups, businesses, and faith-based organizations that have been working to protect Georgia’s water since 2002. Collectively, these organizations represent thousands of Georgians.

ORK staff visits with Clean 13 heroes | photo by Erik Voss

ORK helped to celebrate Meredith Devendorf Belford and the protection of thousands of acres of land in Liberty County from development. Most recently, 430 acres was set aside as a nature center for public use and the rest preserved as a living laboratory for scientists and researchers to inform future land use policies and decisions to better protect the highly productive, but fragile, coastal ecosystem.The acreage includes marsh as well as maritime and upland forest along the Medway and North Newport Rivers.

April 30, 2024 – 2024 Clean 13 Celebration by the Georgia Water Coalition | photo by Erik Voss

ORK attendees: Damon Mullis – Riverkeeper and Executive Director
Kris Howard – Science and Policy Manager
Carly Nielsen – Upper Watershed Representative

Clean 13 report: https://www.gawater.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Clean-13-2023.pdf

About Ogeechee Riverkeeper: Ogeechee Riverkeeper 501(c)(3) works to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin, which includes all of the streams flowing out to Ossabaw Sound and St. Catherine’s Sound. The Canoochee River is about 108 miles long and the Ogeechee River itself is approximately 245 miles long. The Ogeechee River system drains more than 5,500 square miles across 21 counties in Georgia. More at ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.

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RELEASE: ORK meets with EPA in Washington, D.C.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04/24/2024
Contact: Meaghan Walsh Gerard
Communications and Administrative Director
meaghan@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org

OGEECHEE RIVERKEEPER MEETS WITH EPA IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
ORK is advocating for regulations for PFAS 

Damon Mullis, executive director and riverkeeper for Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK), traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to engage with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and legislators regarding the critical issue of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) regulation. Mullis expressed gratitude for the recent efforts made by the EPA and lawmakers in establishing new regulations concerning PFAS levels in drinking water.

During his visit, Mullis commended the EPA and legislators for taking the initial steps in addressing PFAS contamination. He emphasized the significance of these regulations as a foundational measure in safeguarding public health. However, Mullis underscored the urgent need for further action, particularly in the areas of fish tissue consumption guidance and the elimination of PFAS from sources such as sludge used for fertilizers.

PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals commonly found in various household and industrial products. These persistent chemicals bioaccumulate and pose a significant danger to human health and the environment due to their potential toxicity. PFAS have been linked to adverse health effects, including cancer, immune system disorders, and developmental issues. Their widespread use and persistence in the environment make them a pressing concern for communities worldwide, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive regulation and mitigation efforts to reduce exposure and protect public health.

In a statement regarding his visit, Mullis stated, “I was in D.C. last week to thank EPA and legislators for putting out new rules on acceptable levels of PFAS in drinking water. I applauded this important first step but also reminded them that fish tissue consumption guidance is needed.”

In 2018, ORK discovered PFAS was present in fish in the Ogeechee River. Since then, ORK has been working to track potential sources, press for fish consumption guidelines, and advocate for regulations around chemical uses and discharges into waterways.

The new regulations and guidance are available here: https://www.epa.gov/sdwa/and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas

The EPA’s press release is available here: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/biden-harris-administration-finalizes-first-ever-national-drinking-water-standard

About Ogeechee Riverkeeper: Ogeechee Riverkeeper 501(c)(3) works to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin, which includes all of the streams flowing out to Ossabaw Sound and St. Catherine’s Sound. The Canoochee River is about 108 miles long and the Ogeechee River itself is approximately 245 miles long. The Ogeechee River system drains more than 5,500 square miles across 21 counties in Georgia. More at ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.

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PFAS EPA Wash DC – 04.2024 – Press Release

 

RELEASE: Canoochee Paddle Race – A Celebration of Community and Conservation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
03/05/2024
Contact: Meaghan Walsh Gerard
Communications and Administrative Director
meaghan@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org

CANOOCHEE PADDLE RACE: A CELEBRATION OF COMMUNITY AND CONSERVATION
ORK to host an annual party on the water to celebrate the outdoors

Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK) will host an action-packed event aimed at celebrating the beauty of the environment and promoting conservation efforts in the region. Paddlers will traverse seven miles of the Canoochee, from Brewton Bridge to Rocks River Bridge landing. The finish line at Rocks River will also serve as the headquarters for fun during and after the race.

Chris Stalcup

“We encourage friends and family to come cheer for the racers and enjoy a day out by the river,” says Meaghan Walsh Gerard, communications director for ORK. “This year we are delighted to have Chris Stalcup performing. With a tune named ‘Ogeechee River,’ we knew he’d be a great fit.” Stalcup is a Georgia-based country singer and songwriter. His music has been described as “a bonfire raging behind some small-town dirt-road shanty, of a band valiantly laying bare its soul while everyone dances wildly.”

After all the paddlers have arrived at the finish line, ORK will hold an awards presentation. Trophies will be presented for timed winners as well as outlandish categories like Dynamic Duo, Funkiest Costume, Most Creative Boat, and the Lazy River Award for the slowest paddler. Food and drink will be available from food trucks including Rolly’s Taqueria and Road-Tisserie, and Norburg Chiropractic will be offering free massages. ORK will have an information table to answer questions about the work of the nonprofit. Raffle tickets and official merchandise will also be available.

By raising awareness and supporting conservation initiatives, the Canoochee Paddle Race aims to protect and preserve this natural treasure for generations to come. “We believe that events like the Canoochee Paddle Race play a crucial role in fostering appreciation for our environment and inspiring stewardship,” says Damon Mullis, riverkeeper and executive director. “Through this event, we hope to empower individuals to take action and make a positive impact on the health of our rivers and waterways.”


Where: Canoochee River, Evans County
Rocks River Bridge Landing: GPS 32.184196, -81.889276
When: Saturday, April 13, noon. – 5 p.m.
Cost: $50 per person; Free to cheer for the paddlers
Details and registration: https://www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org/events/canoochee-paddle-race-24/

The deadline to register is Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at noon.

About Ogeechee Riverkeeper: Ogeechee Riverkeeper 501(c)(3) works to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin, which includes all of the streams flowing out to Ossabaw Sound and St. Catherine’s Sound. The Canoochee River is about 108 miles long and the Ogeechee River itself is approximately 245 miles long. The Ogeechee River system drains more than 5,500 square miles across 21 counties in Georgia. More at ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.

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PDF of press release

Images from 2023 Canoochee Paddle Race

About Chris Stalcup