This is the application WWALS submitted 16 April 2015 to become a WATERKEEPER® Affiliate that the WATERKEEPER Alliance approved, with license signed 3 June 2015. PDF
See also the additional territory added later.
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.
John S. Quarterman, President
16 March 2015
I. Introduction to the Watershed
Briefly discuss the watershed–its history, cities, landmarks, and culture. Please limit this section to 2 pages.
Mission: WWALS is an advocacy organization working for watershed conservation of the Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems watershed in south Georgia and north Florida through awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen advocacy.
Our situation is unusual and takes more space to describe. WWALS conserves numerous small rivers, at least eight: the Withlacoochee River with its tributaries the Little River and the New River, and the Alapaha River with its tributaries the Willacoochee River, the Alapahoochee River, the Little Alapaha River, and the Dead River. Some of our creeks are longer than some of our rivers, such as Okapilco Creek and Piscola Creek that flow into the Withlacoochee. While many of our rivers are not boatable some of the year due to low water, boating is possible year-round on our numerous lakes, ponds, and swamps. Banks Lake and Grand Bay, back to back near Lakeland, Georgia, are a mini-Okefenokee with alligators.
This riparian diversity is because our major population centers are between the largest of our rivers: the Withlacoochee and the Alapaha, both of which are mostly in Georgia, and flow separately into the Suwannee River in Florida. Our watersheds are at least partly in 23 counties. The most populous is Lowndes County (114,000 people), whose county seat Valdosta (56,000) is the largest city in the entire Suwannee River Basin. Tifton (16,000) in Tift County (40,000), Nashville (4,900) in Berrien County (19,000), and Jennings and Jasper (4,200) in Hamilton County (14,000), Florida are also located between the Withlacoochee and the Alapaha Rivers. Adel (5,300) in Cook County (17,000) is located between the Withlacoochee and its largest tributary, the Little River.
Traditionally and still an agricultural region, peaches, corn, soybeans, and cotton remain popular, with blueberries, carrots, pecans, and olives also now major crops. One of only two Ham and Eggs shows remaining in the country thrives in Lowndes County, which also hosts the annual South Georgia Growing Local Conference. Forestry remains huge, with Langdale Forest Products of Valdosta and the Langdale family being #41 among largest landowners in the country. The original native populations burned the extensive pine forests frequently, and the settlers who started arriving in the early nineteenth century continued these low-level prescribed burns, which cull less resistant species in favor of pines, especially longleaf. This fire forest ecology is very different from most of the country. Most local forests are planted pines for lumber and pulpwood, but the few pockets of longleaf forest have more species diversity other than a tropical rain forest.
Moody Air Force Base is the largest employer in Lowndes County, and probably in all of WWALS watersheds. The protection zones around Moody have significant influence on the Alapaha River watershed. Serving military personnel and perhaps even more military retirees are significant culturally and economically.
Education is a major employer and influence. The 13,000 student Valdosta State University is a regional campus of the University of Georgia (UGA) system, with many students from Atlanta and elsewhere. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has 6,198 students on multiple campuses, with the biggest in Valdosta, plus campuses also in WWALS watersheds at Fitzgerald, Sparks, and Moody AFB. Georgia Military College is a community college in Valdosta. Tifton has Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) with 3,665 students, and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (UGA CAES) with 1,816 students. Madison, Florida has North Florida Community College with 1,255 students.
Population age is bimodal, with many young people through college age, and many military and other retirees. Creating jobs is a major concern throughout the region, so students won’t have to move when they graduate from high school or college. Halfbacks are a phenomenon, as in people from the north who moved to Florida, got tired of hurricanes, and moved halfway back. The culture ranges from traditional southern (about 2/3 white and 1/3 black) to people from just about everywhere in the U.S. and noticeable sprinklings from Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
The distinctive tea color of our blackwater rivers comes from tannins in the oaks that predominate in our wetlands, which also include bald cypress, blackgum, sweetgum, plus longleaf, slash, and loblolly pines. Wildlife include great blue herons, pileated woodpeckers, anhingas (a cormorant), hawks, eagles, beavers, otters, snapping turtles, alligators, and fish. Black and turkey buzzards (vultures) are common year-round, and are a tourist attraction when many more of them winter at Reed Bingham State Park on the Little River. Florida’s Fabulous Canoe and Kayak Trail Guide describes the Withlacoochee River as “arguably the finest 32 miles of river in Florida. At least it should be rated in the top five of Florida rivers.” The Withlacoochee River has numerous springs, the most notable being Madison Blue Spring. Our river is often known in Florida as the Withlacoochee River (North) and is not to be confused with the central Florida Withlacoochee River that flows directly into the Gulf of Mexico. The Alapaha River was described as “unspoiled, wild, and scenic” in the 1979 Soil Survey of Lowndes County, is described as “Jungle-like in its remoteness and luxurious with exotic vegetation, the dark reddish-brown waters of the Alapaha wind through a swampy wonderland teeming with wildlife” by Brown’s Guide to Georgia, and rates an “A+” for scenery by Canoeing & Kayaking Georgia.
II. Threats to Watershed
Please discuss the major threats to your watershed. Be as specific as possible in identifying the issues and the responsible parties. If possible, include scientific data. Please limit this section to 3 pages.
There are no large point sources of pollution in our watersheds. Valdosta’s heavy industry outflows appear to be handled by its wastewater treatment plants. Our main concerns are more with flooding and runoff from developments and agriculture, as well as the soon-to-be-solved (Valdosta wastewater overflows), mercury in the Alapaha River from coal Plant Scherer (the nation’s dirtiest) near Macon, GA, invasive plant species such as Chinese privet, Japanese climbing fern, and autumn olive, overpumping of our drinking water Floridan Aquifer, perhaps exacerbated by a recent influx of corporate agriculture from the west coast, the huge Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline proposed by a company from Houston, Texas, and potential fracking in shale gas fields underneath the fragile karst limestone containing our Aquifer.
Perhaps our most pervasive problem is development with clearcutting and impermeable surfaces that stems from one of the area’s biggest advantages. The area is also a transportation logistics hub, with I-75 and numerous railroads through it, and I-10 crossing just to the south, plus regional airports. Valdosta Airport has the third longest runway in the state of Georgia.
In Madison County, Florida the Nestle Water bottling plant poses a potential threat to the flow of Madison Blue Springs, to the water quality of the Withlacoochee River, and to the water in the Floridan Aquifer, plus risks of sinkholes such as have already appeared in Madison.
After recommendation by a WWALS board member and allies, the Hamilton County, Florida Board of Commissioners passed a resolution recommending the bills currently before the Florida legislature to ban fracking. We since discovered there is a shale gas basin underneath WWALS watersheds and fossil fuel industry plans to frack it, and both WWALS Florida counties, Hamilton and Madison, have passed resolutions against fracking.
The Withlacoochee River leaks into and the Alapaha River much of the year disappears into sinkholes downwards into the Floridan Aquifer, which underlies south Georgia and all of Florida, and is as much a concern as our surface streams because it is the source of almost all our water for drinking, agriculture, and industry. Pipelines or fracking could only make this problem much worse, as commercial water bottling already does, and large-scale industrial farming easily could.
III. The Role of the Waterkeeper Affiliate
Explain the role of a Waterkeeper Affiliate in remedying the threats to the watershed and its communities. Please limit this section to 2 pages.
WWALS plays several roles, mostly educational and mediatory. We encourage people to pay attention to our watersheds, for example by frequent (usually monthly) outings including cleanups and monitoring of water quality and invasive species, and through the organization of the Alapaha River Water Trail. WWALS holds occasional seminars and conferences, issues frequent press releases and does interviews (radio, newspaper, TV), contacts elected and appointed officials speaks at government and civic meetings, and coordinates with educational institutions and other watershed organizations. We concentrate on selected urgent problems, such as the Sabal Trail pipeline and the Valdosta wastewater situation. Only in very rare cases do we ever even consider suing.
IV. Action Plan
What tools will the Waterkeeper Affilliate use to advocate for the waterbody? Please include specific approaches the Waterkeeper Affiliate will use to address watershed threats. Limit this section to 3 pages.
WWALS is raising money to hire an Executive Director (Waterkeeper Affiliate director equivalent) to do more of what we have been doing. Selected examples are below.
Elected and appointed officials from the City of Valdosta have been among the most frequent speakers at WWALS’ own board meetings. WWALS recently facilitated a presentation by Valdosta about its wastewater overflows to representatives from Greenlaw in Atlanta, to Save Our Suwannee and the Suwannee River Water Management District in Florida, and to members of the Lowndes County Commission. We also follow the Valdosta-instigated proposed Suwannee-River-Basin-wide flooding study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We could really use dedicated paid staff to follow these issues.
WWALS wrote a letter, contacted our Georgia Public Service Commission member, and two board members travelled four hours each way to Atlanta to speak at the GA PSC meeting in the summer of 2013 that confirmed the ongoing closure of more coal plants and the purchase of twice as much solar power as Georgia Power had wanted. Partly due to that PSC decision, Georgia has leapt from far down the pack to fastest growing solar market in the nation, and is about to pass a law to facilitate solar financing. This is the path that will eventually close Plant Scherer and end its mercury pollution of the Alapaha River.
The Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT) has prompted some of our Chambers of Commerce and Tourist agencies and a Development Authority to recognize in writing and with dollars that our rivers are a quality of life issue relevant to their attempts to attract and retain knowledge-based companies and workers and people coming in from I-75. Local businesses such as Wild Adventures (a large theme park near the Georgia-Florida line) and Camping World also support the ARWT. Our high school logo contest for the ARWT attracted educational and general interest. There is more work to be done in finishing, printing, and distributing maps and brochures, plus kiosks at access points and road signs leading to them. With sufficient resources, WWALS would also like to establish a Withlacoochee River Water Trail.
Opposing the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline has brought WWALS statewide influence, including through the publication of item #9 on that subject in the Georgia Water Coalition’s Dirty Dozen 2014. More directly, lobbying by WWALS members in Hamilton County, Florida got Sabal Trail to move off of the Withlacoochee River in Florida, and helped persuade Lowndes County and Valdosta, Georgia to pass resolutions saying they don’t want that pipeline in their county or state. WWALS is an intervenor on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) dockets for that pipeline project and continues to actively oppose it. WWALS is now also helping advise the many Riverkeepers (Savannah, Altamaha, Satilla, St Johns) opposing Kinder Morgan’s proposed Palmetto pipeline through coastal Georgia to Jacksonville, FL. Perhaps Waterkeeper’s Clean and Safe Energy campaign could help oppose both these pipelines plus Kinder Morgan’s proposed Elba Island LNG export terminal and fracking in the shale gas basins underlying south Georgia and north Florida.
Recently WWALS discovered an investment firm owned by Bill Gates has bought thousands of acres of agricultural land in four of our counties, and in Suwannee County, FL just south of us, all near rivers and in our Floridan Aquifer. This is part of recent purchases of more than 200,000 such acres throughout the country. We recently advised Altamaha Riverkeeper of such a purchase in their Toombs County, GA near Vidalia. It’s not just Gates, either: a California Central Valley company has also bought substantial acreage in one of our counties. We could use advice and assistance in dealing with this nationwide issue. Perhaps Waterkeeper’s Pure Farms Pure Waters campaign could help.
V. Waterkeeper Affiliate Quality Standards
The Waterkeeper Affiliate Quality Standards are a set of licensing requirements that help new Affiliate programs become sustainable and effective in their community; provide consistency in the Waterkeeper movement; and demonstrate to the world that the licensed trademark users and the trademark holders are vigilant in ensuring that all Waterkeeper Affiliate programs are fulfilling the expectations of a Waterkeeper Affiliate and are complying with the requirements of the trademark.
Clearly discuss your strategy to achieve and/or comply with each of the quality standards. An example or testimonial of each Quality Standard and / or the significance of each is given after nearly all of the Quality Standards and definitions. Please limit to 2 pages.
1. The Waterkeeper Affiliate must act as the voice of a defined waterway/watershed/region by advocating for the enforcement of environmental laws within the jurisdiction described in Waterkeeper Affiliate proposal and bound by the Waterkeeper Affiliate licensing agreement issued by Waterkeeper Alliance.
WWALS is known to local governments and the media as the voice of the entire watersheds of the Alapaha and Withlacoochee Rivers, especially because of our Alapaha River Water Trail and our opposition to the Sabal Trail pipeline; see above and see News on the WWALS website, www.wwals.net/about/news/.
Citizen input comes in via our facebook page, email address, etc. and WWALS responds. For example, our Alapaha River Water Trail was partly prompted by citizen opposition to Lowndes County closing the only public access to the Alapaha River in that county. WWALS advocated for a park instead if it closed. Lowndes County is building that park, with boat ramp.
WWALS is raising funds to hire an Executive Director also qualified to become the director of the Waterkeeper Affiliate program. The goal is for funding to come approximately equally from memberships, corporate sponsors, and grants. The WWALS board will remain engaged even after staff is hired, especially in continued fundraising and outreach. See below under grassroots constituency, Fundraising, Budget, and Profile of Waterkeeper.
2. The Waterkeeper Affiliate must be located in the waterway/watershed/region outlined in the Waterkeeper Affiliate licensing agreement and conduct regular patrols of its jurisdiction by foot, vehicle, or vessel.
WWALS is located in the region, and will have a presence on all of the waterways / watersheds in the jurisdiction outlined in the Affiliate licensing agreement. The WWALS board traditionally (most recently 8 April 2015; see agenda http://www.wwals.net/2015/04/07/wwals-board-agenda-2015-04-08/) meets quarterly in Adel, Georgia, which is near the geographic center of our watersheds. WWALS holds monthly outings on our rivers; see http://www.wwals.net/events-2/. The public also brings to WWALS’ attention items of interest, such as the Sabal Trail pipeline, the Valdosta wastewater situation (which we were already following, but which was also noticed by Greenlaw in Atlanta and Save Our Suwannee in Florida), and current planning by the City of Hahira for wastewater affecting the Little River, a tributary of the Withlacoochee River. While a large vessel would be impractical on our small rivers, WWALS has just received a donation of a jon boat with motor, which could be useful for going upstream rapidly.
3. The Waterkeeper Affiliate must have/develop a grassroots constituency committed to protecting clean water and promoting swimmable, drinkable and fishable waters for all.
More WWALS members signed up in the first two months of 2015 than in all of 2013, so we are moving along on that, with our Membership Committee busily engaged.
New member outreach includes:
1) Current members inviting friends, family, co-workers to join
2) Booths at local festivals, billboards about events
3) Active outreach to community partners including DevelopmentAuthorities, Chambers of Commerce, local industries, otheroutdoor and environmental groups, civic groups
4) Amazon Smile donation program
5) On-line presence (Web site, Facebook, etc)
Membership retention includes:
1) Reminder invitations to renew membership
2) Invitations to all WWALS events
3) Personal outreach from current members
4) Monthly newsletter
5) On-line presence (Web site, Facebook, etc)
4. The Waterkeeper Affiliate must have an easily located and identifiable telephone hotline, link on website, etc. to report incidents of pollution, or harm, occurring in its waterway/watershed/region.
WWALS will do this.
5. Non-Profit Status: The Waterkeeper Affiliate must incorporate as, or be sponsored by, a 501(c)(3) charity, or the international equivalent, and must adhere to generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP), IRS rules, or international equivalent.
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. is a Georgia nonprofit corporation and an IRS 501(c)(3).
i. Trademark: Licensed Waterkeeper Affiliates must comply with trademark requirements determined by Waterkeeper Alliance: e.g. “Friends of the Mad River: A Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate”. In addition, the “Waterkeeper Affiliate Collective Mark” [a modified version of Waterkeeper Alliance collective mark] must be displayed on letterhead, publications, websites, etc. Use of the Waterkeeper Alliance brand outside of the use of the collective mark must comply with Waterkeeper Alliance style Guidelines.
Yes, we will do those things: WWALS, a Waterkeeper Affiliate.
7. Governance: Each Waterkeeper Affiliate shall be governed under a set of bylaws approved by the Affiliate’s (or sponsoring organization’s) Advisory Board or Board of Directors.
Please see the WWALS bylaws, duly adopted by the board at corporate formation in June 2012: http://www.wwals.net/about/documents/
8. Communications With Waterkeeper Alliance:
i. Fundraising: Through issuing a license to the Waterkeeper Affiliate, Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Affiliate, agree to adhere to the approved “Waterkeeper Alliance Fundraising Guidance” document. Fundraising relationships established by Waterkeeper Alliance prior to the licensing of the Waterkeeper Affiliate, within the jurisdiction described in Waterkeeper Affiliate proposal and bound by the Waterkeeper Affiliate licensing agreement, shall be maintained by the Waterkeeper Alliance.
See below under Fundraising and Budget.
ii. Campaigns: Waterkeeper Affiliates can develop and implement campaigns and initiatives within its jurisdiction that are approved by its Board of Directors that do not conflict with either the mission of the Affiliate, Waterkeeper Alliance, or Waterkeeper Organizations. Existing Waterkeeper Alliance campaigns that are managed by Waterkeeper Alliance, within the jurisdiction described in Waterkeeper Affiliate proposal and bound by the Waterkeeper Affiliate licensing agreement, shall be maintained and managed by Waterkeeper Alliance.
iii. Media and Communications: Waterkeeper Affiliates can conduct media and related communications related to common issues within the region without approval of Waterkeeper Alliance. All media and communications on issues related to any Waterkeeper Alliance campaign or initiative must be coordinated and approved by the Waterkeeper Alliance Executive Director or designated staff/management.
See our News web page. http://www.wwals.net/about/news/
See also above about opposition to Sabal Trail pipeline and Waterkeeper’s Clean and Safe Energy campaign.
See also above about corporate agricultural land purchases and Waterkeeper’s Pure Farms Pure Waters campaign.
iv. Conflict Resolution: Any conflicts that may arise between Waterkeeper Affiliate, Waterkeeper Alliance, or Waterkeeper Organizations (WKOs), shall be referred to the Waterkeeper Support Committee (WSC) for resolution.
9. Waterkeeper Affiliates shall maintain a high level of integrity and avoid conduct (financial or otherwise) that is improper or creates the appearance of impropriety (financial or otherwise) or injures the reputation of the Affiliate, Waterkeeper Alliance, and/or neighboring WKOs. Examples include receiving financial benefit or employing staff who receive financial benefit for advocacy or conduct that conflict with the mission of User or Waterkeeper Alliance.
Please see our Conflict of Interest Policy: http://www.wwals.net/about/documents/conflict-interest-policy/
10. Waterkeeper Affiliates are required to submit annual activity reports to the Waterkeeper Alliance outlining Waterkeeper related activity, support needs, and challenges, and receive Waterkeeper training/mentoring once every year.
11. Waterkeeper Affiliates will be required pay to Waterkeeper Alliance an Annual Licensing Fee of $150 (domestic) and $75 (international).
$150 annual fee approved by WWALS Executive Committee 11 March 2015.
12. Waterkeeper Alliance reserves the right to revoke a Waterkeeper Affiliate license at anytime.
VI. Fundraising/Organizational Strategy
Outline potential sources of financial support and what steps you will take, or have taken, to secure finances to date. Please provide a brief organizational strategy, envisioning what the Waterkeeper organization will look like in 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years; this should include staffing, budget, membership, and other organizational goals. Please limit this section to 2 pages.
Income: a third each from memberships, sponsors, grants; see budget for details.
Writing: personnel policies, operations manual, strategic plan.
Hiring: See Profile for Executive Director position; some posting venues identified.
Training: All board will train E.D. for a year, and continue involvement onwards
Goals: for 2015 adopted 8 April 2015 by WWALS board; committees do tactics.
a. Participate in Rivers Alive clean up: BW,AB,DH, Outings Committee
b. Outreach to schools to teach students about watershed health and science: AB,DH,GG,CM,DM ARWT Committee
c. Do invasive species monitoring and water quality monitoring on all WWALS outings: KR,CG,AB,CM,DM
d. Water quality certification for as many people & members as possible & partner with Adopt-a-Stream: AB,DH,CG,DM,CM,jsq
e. Map encroachment, water quality, invasive species, pesticide run off and share info (overarching goal): DH,JQ,AB,KR,CG,CM,DM ARWT Committee
f. Get WWALS involved in watershed mapping of floodplains by Army Corps of Engineers in our watershed areas: JQ,CG,CM ARWT Committee, Pipeline Committee
g. Waycross superfund site related to WWALS watersheds: JQ,CG Pipeline Committee
h. Oppose the Sabal Trail methane pipeline: JQ,AH,CG,CM Pipeline Committee
i. +Alapaha River Water trail: ARWT Committee
j. +Raise funds to hire an Executive Director: full Board + Membership Committee
k. +Valdosta Wastewater: Pipeline Committee
l. +Raise awareness about corporate agricultural land acquisitions and practices as they affect WWALS watersheds and the Floridan Aquifer: DH,CM,JQ,GQ Need a Committee?
+ is new since prev. year.
In table form, outline the anticipated expenditures for your Waterkeeper Affiliate for years 1 and 2. Please limit this section to 1 page.
|Shared Office Space||$2,880.00||$5,760.00||$5,760.00|
|Conferences / Travel||$250.00||$2,500.00||$4,250.00||$6,500.00|
|Grant Related Projects||$200.00|
(include a map and note jurisdictions in square miles)
The exclusive jurisdiction is the area where the Waterkeeper Affiliate exercises absolute control of all matters related to restoration and protection of her/his public trust waters through advocacy and action. In this area the Waterkeeper maintains, directly or through staff and/or volunteers, a full time physical presence and/or vigilance on behalf of their resource, such as:
1. Actively patrolling the watershed by boat, vehicle, air, and foot, as appropriate and necessary.
2. Routinely conducting monitoring, as appropriate and necessary.
3. Routinely monitoring the evolution of NPDES (or SPDES) Permits and discharge monitoring reports.
4. Investigating sources of pollution.
5. Undertaking litigation, regardless of where and against whom filed, and/or legal action to protect and restore the watershed within your exclusive jurisdiction.
6. Responding to calls for assistance, information, and/or action from the community, agencies, and/or decision makers.
7. Challenging and/or supporting, as appropriate and necessary, decision-making that impacts the exclusive jurisdiction.
8. Conducting clean-up and/or restoration programs.
9. Providing education, encouraging recreation (if appropriate), and/or demonstrating community involvement and support.
NOTE: Jurisdictional areas should not extend outside of the Waterkeeper organization’s watershed. Jurisdiction of areas where “watershed” cannot reasonably be used to set boundaries, such as waters of the ocean, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It will be necessary for existing Waterkeepers to work closely together to define their jurisdictional areas where boundaries may currently overlap or are difficult to define.
More maps here:
Square miles with derivation:
Sphere of Influence
The sphere of influence is the area in which a Waterkeeper Affiliate reasonably believes he/she exercises a recognizable degree of influence related to the restoration and protection of public trust waters. Waterkeeper Alliance Regional Representatives to the Board of Directors are responsible for facilitating communication within their region to cooperatively define each Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Affiliate’s sphere of influence where the influence extends beyond the Waterkeeper Affiliate’s exclusive jurisdiction and extra-territorial area or overlaps with other Waterkeepers or Affiliates.
WWALS communicates frequently with Flint Riverkeeper and Ochlockonee River Water Trail to our west, with Satilla Riverkeeper to our east, and with Save Our Suwannee, Our Santa Fe River, and Ichetucknee Alliance to our south. WWALS is a member of Georgia River Network and of the Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) and supports GWC’s action alerts for the Georgia legislature.
WWALS submitted GWC Dirty Dozen 2014 #9 about the Sabal Trail pipeline. That item was also supported by Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Flint Riverkeeper, Georgia River Network, and Greenlaw, an environmental law firm in Atlanta. WWALS is an ally of SpectraBusters, Inc., an organization in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida opposed to the Sabal Trail pipeline. WWALS cooperates with the Sierra Club chapters in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida in opposition to the Sabal Trail pipeline and other matters, such as promoting solar energy.
At GA Sierra Club’s request, two WWALS board members testified at the Georgia Public Service Commission in Atlanta at the meeting in which the GA PSC required Georgia Power to buy twice as much solar power as it wanted to.
WWALS supports coastal organizations such as Center for a Sustainable Coast regarding Jekyll Island marsh preservation and opposition to the Elba Island LNG export terminal proposed near Savannah. WWALS cooperates with Push Back the Pipeline (Savannah Riverkeeper, Altamaha Riverkeeper, Satilla Riverkeeper, St Johns Riverkeeper, etc.) in opposition to Kinder Morgan’s proposed Palmetto pipeline from South Carolina through Georgia to Jacksonville, Florida.
WWALS is a member of the Florida Springs Coalition and actively supports the Florida anti-fracking movement, including advocating for the Hamilton County, Florida Board of Commissioners to pass an anti-fracking resolution, which did pass.
WWALS is a member of the national River Network.
IX. Profile of the Waterkeeper Affiliate
Provide a job description of the ideal Waterkeeper, Affiliate or, if the Waterkeeper Affiliate has already been selected or there are potential candidates, please include brief biographies. Please limit this section to 1 page.
Description of the position: The Board of Directors of the WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. seeks candidates for the position of Executive Director, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. WWALS Watershed Coalition is an advocacy organization working for watershed conservation of the Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems watershed in south Georgia and north Florida through awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen advocacy. Its operating budget comes from donations, grants, and memberships. Initially the new hire will be the only employee of the organization. Future part or full time employees will be possible as allowed by the income to the organization. The position is overseen by a board of directors, and the board will remain continually engaged.
The position would be an excellent permanent position with growth potential based on skills of leadership that accomplish the mission, attract donations and grants, and stimulate volunteerism within the organization. Alternatively, the position can be an ideal stepping stone for a budding politician who wants to be involved in environmental policy, an environmental scientist who wants to go on to a consulting or agency position, or an environmental lawyer who wants some valuable practical experience.
The position has three main aspects: running a nonprofit organization, being the “go to” person for environmental issues that pertain to the watersheds, and fundraising, such as organizing activities and events that involve the membership and the general public, and seeking grants. The successful applicant must establish rapport with the public throughout the watershed and with policy makers, environmental agency personnel, potential funding organizations, and activists throughout Georgia and beyond. The position involves a broad range of actions, for which few will be fully prepared, so it is essential to know how to learn independently. The status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the license with the waterkeeper alliance must be maintained. The successful applicant must use effective people skills to motivate volunteers, stimulate donations, apply for and manage grants, and educate the public about the river. The successful applicant will need to network with other riverkeepers and environmental groups, and to learn aspects of environmental regulation and science as issues arise. The applicant must also see that bills are paid, financial and tax records properly kept, and equipment is maintained, including a computer, small boat, outboard motor, and trailer.