Threatened Edisto River Gains New Advocate Through the Edisto Riverkeeper
December 4, 2017 - Aiken, SC - Local conservationists have established a new organization, Edisto Riverkeeper, to serve as the primary full-time advocate for the Edisto River Basin. Working to ensure fair and equal access to clean water in the communities that it serves, the organization’s mission is to encourage balanced usage of the basin’s water resources for residents, industry, and municipalities to utilize and enjoy. The non-profit organization will be headquartered in Aiken, carrying out activities throughout the 11-county Edisto River basin, and will be funded by individual donations and foundations that share a dedication to ensuring equal access to clean water.
Guided by the principles of advocacy, engagement, and restoration, Edisto Riverkeeper seeks to encourage local and state agencies, private industries, and landowners to participate in working to establish more sustainable water conservation and management plans.
The need for a full-time advocate for the Edisto River and its surrounding aquifers was shown through calls for assistance from citizens affected by threats of water depletion and contamination. “Until recently, most of the grassroots efforts on the Edisto have been in the ACE Basin area. However, with the expansion of industrial agriculture and other large-scale operations along the South Fork of the Edisto, and increasing number of landowners and residents are seeking assistance in protecting their land and wildlife habitats,” said Executive Director and Riverkeeper Meg Morgan Adams. Frustrated by their efforts being disregarded, members of communities throughout the river basin have expressed their support for the new river advocate, backed by the international water advocacy organization, the Waterkeeper Alliance.
The Edisto Riverkeeper is currently working with agencies and other partners to address growing concerns over the future of South Carolina’s water resources. Adams says she is excited to utilize her legal background in advocating for conservation of the Edisto and has been actively engaging elected officials and residents in doing the same. “The need to address the threats facing groundwater and surface water in the Edisto River basin have become dire. Far too many people are unaware of what is actually going on with their water and the ones that are remain frustrated by the lack of legislative action taken to protect their water,” said Adams.
Part of the Riverkeeper’s efforts will involve education and awareness in the basin, as well as water quality monitoring. “A common question I ask is ‘Do you know where your drinking water comes from?’,” said Adams, “And the alarming answer is that most people do not.” The organization hopes that making that connection will inspire conservation.
Edisto Riverkeeper encourages the public to contact them with questions or to report pollution incidents. Volunteers are also needed to help in monitoring water quality, fundraising events, and recreational events like paddle outings. The organization’s first fundraiser event, “Christmas with the Keepers,” a holiday dinner, will be held in conjunction with Savannah Riverkeeper on Thursday, December 7 at 6:30pm at Woodside Plantation Country Club. For tickets, visit http://www.edistoriverkeeper.org/upcoming-events.html.
Our mission is to encourage a balanced usage of the natural resources within the Edisto River basin, so that residents, industry, and municipalities may utilize and enjoy this precious natural resource. Edisto Riverkeeper serves as the primary, full-time advocate for the Edisto River Basin, working to ensure fair and equal access to clean water in the communities that it serves, because everybody needs water. For more information, visit www.edistoriverkeeper.org.