Etowah River User's Guide

The first in a series of Georgia River Network Guidebooks, the “Etowah River User’s Guide,” authored by Joe Cook and published in cooperation with Coosa River Basin Initiative, is an appealing and handy look at the biologically diverse and beautiful Etowah River in North Georgia. Printed on waterproof paper by the University of Georgia Press, the book offers a fascinating history of the area and information valuable for novice or experienced paddlers as well as fishermen. It also will help explorers understand the threats facing the river and what steps can be taken to protect it for future generations.  If you purchase your copy directly from GRN, a portion of the proceeds benefit our river conservation work. To place an order, call 706-549-4508 or come by the Georgia River Network office. Price: $21 including tax, $24 including tax and shipping.  Joe Cook is the author of the Georgia River Network Guidebook series published by the UGA Press, is coordinator of Georgia River Network’s Paddle Georgia Event, and the executive director of the Coosa River Basin Initiative.

GRN Presents the 2014 Georgia River Challenge

‘Georgia Rivers Run Through Us’
Attend 14 River Related Events in 2014

The 2014 Challenge: Georgia River Network is challenging Georgians to get out and protect, restore, learn about, recreate and volunteer on Georgia’s rivers by attending 14 river related events in 2014. 

Set your New Year’s resolution to get outside, get active and get involved in river and watershed protection, restoration and engagement opportunities with friends and family. River groups throughout the State offer a variety of experiences such as family friendly river trips, river hikes, workshops, conferences, symposiums, river clean ups, water quality monitoring, and advocacy opportunities, all of which qualify to fulfill the Challenge. The goal is to promote Georgia’s growing movement in river restoration, protection, and enjoyment.

Here are the types of events and activities that qualify for the 2014 Challenge. To meet the challenge you must participate in 14 events/activities from at least 5 of these categories:
Check out GRN's Calendar to learn about upcoming events and activities throughout the State. If you are looking for an activity or event by category- go to the GRN Calendar and click on the "Agenda" tab on the top right corner of the calendar. You can then scroll down and view events/activities by category. Ex: ADVOCACY - Capitol Conservation Day (GWC)
To join the list of participants taking on the 2014 Challenge, just send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name and address to sign up. We will send you monthly updates that list exciting upcoming opportunities across Georgia to fulfill your challenge.
To document and report your progress in fulfilling ‘14 in 2014’ you can: Post a photo of event to Facebook and tag Georgia River Network, email with a short description of your experience to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., post a You Tube video about your experience and send This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. a link, and/or submit a photo of the event to GRN’s monthly photo contest.
When you have successfully completed the challenge by attending 14 events/ and sent in your documentation you will be invited to GRN's fundraiser at Sweetwater Brewery on Sunday, February 8th. (more details to come). To see who has already completed the challenge and which events they attended, go here!
GRN reserves the right to reprint and reuse any documentation submitted. Georgia River Network’s Georgia Water Trails Website can help you find outfitters, events, organized trips, resources and a list of Georgia Water Trails to plan your own adventure.

Speaker Presentations

“A Career Fighting for Clean Water in Georgia”
Presenter: Sally Bethea

Sally Bethea started her environmental career with environmental groups in the 1970’s, and in 1994, she became the Chattahoochee’s first Riverkeeper.  Sally has spent the past 20 years as a voice of the water supply for nearly 4 million Georgians, and knows more history of the environmental movement in Georgia than almost anybody.  In this talk, Sally will take us through the progress the environmental movement has made since the beginning of her career.

“Every River Tells a Story”
Presenter: Jay Bookman

Every river tells a story. And as with any great storyteller, the story it tells is never told the same way twice. Jay Bookman tells us the story of the Deschutes River in central Oregon, or at least the ways that he has heard it told in the quarter century in which he and the river have been conversing.

“Prehistoric Animal Show”
Presenter: Grover Brown

Picture traveling back in time more than 250 million years ago. The world would appear completely different. You would be standing in the middle of Earth’s one supercontinent, Pangaea. There would be no flowering plants, no mammals, and Tyrannosaurus rex was but a mere twinkle in an ancestral theropod’s eye. However, there would be one undoubtedly recognizable creature. This creature has diversified over the eons in the Southeastern United State’s rivers, in fact the Southeast is number two in the species diversity of this creature worldwide. If you think you know what creature I’m referring to, come see and hear more about it!

“Monitoring Water Pollutants in Georgia's Rivers: The Aeromonas Bacteria”
Presenter: Kenneth Buhmeyer

There was a time in Georgia when Native American people drank fresh water and ate healthy fish from Georgia’s beautiful rivers.  While Georgia still has beautiful rivers and most of the fish are still delicious, no one today would drink the water directly from our rivers.  Why not?  In this modern industrial and agricultural environment our water supply is teaming with germs, which could make us sick, or in some cases even kill.

Most of the harmful bacteria in Georgia’s rivers come from the intestines and fecal waste of animals like domestic birds, cattle, and humans.  At water purification plants throughout the State these germs are screened from river water, which is treated with chemicals to make it safe for us to drink.

In nature our water may be contaminated by harmful germs, like the coliforms,  
E. coli, and Aeromonas strains of bacteria.  The EPA monitors some of these bacteria, but in March 2014 this will stop due to budget restrictions.  The disease effects and numbers of many of these germs are well known in Georgia’s rivers.  But this is not the case for the Aeromonas bacteria. (see:

The Aeromonas have not been monitored in our waters.  In other places their antibiotic resistance has been determined.  Georgia has seen life threatening infections caused by them, but they have not been well studied here.  In the European Union they are routinely measured and regulated in the water supply, but not here.  They can cause mild to severe tissue infections, stomach problems and diarrhea, but how often these infections occur is not known here.

Is it time to step up our water monitoring system in Georgia instead of shutting it down?  Is it time to measure the levels and properties of the Aeromonas in our water?  While we can never regain the pristine waters of Georgia’s past, it would be much more in our public interest to go in that direction.

"War and Peace on the Chattahoochee"
Presenter: Joe Cook

150 years ago, the Chattahoochee River was the last geological obstacle preventing Gen. William T. Sherman's Union Army from capturing Atlanta during the Civil War. Once crossed, the Union and Confederate armies took a break, fraternizing together in the river with music, bathing and tobacco. Even Sherman himself took a dip in the inviting waters. This 10-minute show tells the story of how the Chattahoochee, even in the midst of America's greatest conflict, offered respite for weary bodies and souls.

 “Where the River Meets the Sea”
Presenter: Dorinda Dallmeyer

When you finally reach the end of the road -- the river road -- what does it mean?  In December 2013, I finally got to experience my childhood dream hatched far upstream in Macon on the Ocmulgee: to see the Altamaha meet the Atlantic. On the south side of the Altamaha delta, Little St. Simons Island is a floating world, where the land seems moored only by the knotted roots of its mammoth live oaks, pines, and cedars. Five thousand years of natural and human history play out in its dappled shadows.

“Georgia Bulldogs, American Shad, and Lost Mussels: Historical Conditions and the Restoration of our Rivers”
Presenter: Ben Emanuel

Whether it’s the Oconee or the Flint, the Coosa, Altamaha, Chattahoochee, Ogeechee or Savannah, all of our rivers have an ecological history that’s mind-boggling once you get to know its scale and scope. The shad runs, the mussel beds and the bird migrations of the past are awe-inspiring, and they also give us a lot of information about historical conditions in our rivers—information that’s useful in our work to restore and protect rivers. Certainly, in restoring our rivers, we can’t aim for goals that are unattainable, but it’s important to remember that just knowing our rivers’ histories can do a lot to inspire us as advocates, and inspire others, to protect and restore what we can. These questions about river restoration are important ones in American Rivers’ work with Flint Riverkeeper and other partners in the upper Flint River basin. At Weekend for Rivers we’ll give an update on this work in the upper Flint, and talk a bit about the role of river history in the work, too.

“Historic Hall County: Spaces and Places”
Presenter: Dee Gillespie

In March 1950, Mayor William B. Hartsfield predicted that the construction of Buford Dam would “revolutionize life in the Chattahoochee basin.”  Over the next decade and through the remainder of the 20th century, Hartsfield’s prediction came true as the dam and resulting Lake Lanier radically changed the geography, economy, and local communities in northeastern Georgia.  Since 2010, faculty and students at the University of North Georgia have recorded and documented this transformation.  I will describe the Historic Hall County: Spaces and Places project, an interdisciplinary, collaborative project that joins Geographic Information System (GIS) technology with oral history methodology to create an interactive, multilayered web-based narrative of local history in northeastern Georgia.  

“Who Owns The Water?” (film)
Presenter: David Hanson

Georgia, Alabama, and Florida are locked in an epic battle over the fresh water from their once bountiful rivers. They call it the "Water Wars." It's a conflict once unthinkable in the deep, green South. But is it all about high-stakes politics and legal courtroom battles? Two brothers decide to find out more. David and Michael Hanson paddle the three rivers for 30 days to ask the big questions, at water-level. From the north Georgia mountains to the Gulf of Mexico, everyone wants to know Who Owns Water. View the trailer here.

“A Life on the Flint”
Presenter: Vic Miller

Humorist, poet, novelist, outdoor writer, lover of wild rivers, O. Victor Miller sings of springs, recounting  boyhood on and underneath the Lower Flint.

“From Debatable Land to Pellucid Flood: Colonialism, Territory, and the Altamaha River”
Presenter: Richard Milligan

From the earliest days of the Georgia colony to William Bartram's late 18th-century natural history writing, the Altamaha River  featured prominently in the territorial history of British North America. This talk will trace the meanders of the Altamaha as territorial technology through 18th-century colonial history. In the early 1700s, the Altamaha lay at the heart of a dispute between Spanish and British claims to North American territory. The swampy ground of the lower Altamaha was known as the "Debatable Land," a zone of indeterminacy between overlapping British and Spanish colonial claims, and a space where Indigenous people and fugitive slaves maintained relative security and autonomy. During the 18th century, dramatic transitions in Native American life were influenced by the colonial knowledge and territorial technologies of the Altamaha River System. Historians Claudio Saunt and Steven Hahn have documented these social upheavals for the Creek Indians, but this talk will focus specifically on the role that the Altamaha River System played in these stories. The so-called ethnogenesis of the Seminole peoples also took place in relation to the Altamaha as a strange margin of colonial history. When British and Spanish disputes were resolved through the Treaty of Paris, the British Crown established the 1763 Proclamation Line, for which the Altamaha watershed delineated the lower portion.  Finally, the talk will revisit William Bartram's beautiful and vivid zoological and botanical descriptions of riparian life along the Altamaha and its headwaters, but with an eye toward the role that such nature writing played in colonial history.

"Rivercane: Our Native Bamboo"
Presenter: Thomas Peters

Rivercane thickets commonly known as "canebrakes" once covered more of the southeastern landscape than the invasive vine Kudzu does today. A mere 2% of the lands covered in cane before European settlement, remain as canebrake today. This is largely due to alterations in hydrology related to agriculture and development.

Healthy canebrake has positive implications on water quality, erosion control, wildlife habitat, and soil integrity. Rivercane is also an important cultural resource to Southeastern Indigenous Nations.

This presentation includes an overview rivercane history, a broad description of canebrake ecology and an update on the emerging field of canebrake restoration.

“A Brief History of Fishing in Georgia”
Presenter: Gordon Rogers

Gordon Rogers knows a thing or two about fishing in Georgia’s  swamps, lakes, streams and rivers.  

"A Trash Tale"
Presenter: Bonny Putney

A Trash Tale is about the 2007-8 drought in GA and Lake Lanier, the impact of the lower water and how people came together to clean the trash from the exposed lake shoreline.

“Using the Rivers and Harbors Act to Protect Our Rivers – and How River Rats Can Help”
Presenter:  Bill Sapp

Under the ‘Rivers & Harbors Act,’ the US Army Corps of Engineers has the ability to regulate docks, boat launches, and even logging roads much farther upstream than they currently do. In this talk, Bill Sapp will review what river groups and river advocates can do to encourage the Army Corps of Engineers to do more to protect our rivers.

“Tackling Industrial Runoff in Georgia”
Presenter: Jessica Sterling

Industrial stormwater can be laced with petroleum, heavy metals, bacteria and turbidity – at levels that are often many times higher than levels found in municipal or highway runoff. Although some may not realize it, industrial stormwater from facilities such as metal recyclers, auto salvage yards, food processers and concrete and asphalt manufacturers is regulated as a point-source pollutant under the Clean Water Act. The law requires that discharges do not cause or contribute to violations of water quality standards.

Chattahoochee Riverkeeper has embarked on a multi-year program to identify non-permitted facilities in the watershed and bring them into compliance with the Clean Water Act. Learn the basics of the Georgia Industrial Stormwater General Permit (IGP) and how you can effect change by identifying problem industries in your watershed.

“Chattahoochee Unplugged” (film)
Presenter: Jonathan Wickham

Some 20 years ago one man dreamed the impossible: “What if we remove the dams?” Chattahoochee Unplugged , tells the story of how that dream has finally come true – restoring a key stretch of the Chattahoochee River through Columbus, Georgia, to its natural state and at the same time creating the world’s longest urban whitewater run. Wild as the Colorado yet warm as Costa Rica! View the trailer here.

 “History of Ichthyology in Georgia”
Presenter: Michael Wolfe

Ichthyology, or the study of fish, has a long and illustrious history in Georgia.  I have been working on a project to investigate the fishes that were discovered for the first time in the rivers of Georgia, tracing the history of the fish species and where they were first found.  Some of these have been relatively easy to determine, and others have taken a rather extensive investigative process involving century old maps, journals, and genealogical information.  All to track down where on the river scientific history happened right here in Georgia.

The presentation will consist of photographs of the fishes discovered and in most cases photographs of the habitat as it appears today.  I will also tell the story of the original discovery and of my own discoveries while trying to trace the history of the fishes the rivers they live in.

Board Track:

"Nonprofit Board Roles and Responsibilities"
Presenter: Julie Stuart

Conversation about traditional board roles and responsibilities and how they play out in real life. How your board members can use their individual expertise for the good of the organization.

“How Nonprofit Boards Actually Solve Problems”
Panel: Julie Stuart (GRN), Bruno Giri (UOWN), Clay Montague (Satilla Riverkeeper), Jackie Echols (South River Watershed Alliance), Mark Woodall (Flint Riverkeeper)

The board of directors is the decision-making body of any 501c3 nonprofit, and yet, as anyone on a board of directors knows, decision making isn’t always easy.  The good news is, for every problem your board faces, there is a solution.  And the more creative solutions are often the most effective and long-lasting.  Nobody can tell you the sure-fire way to success, but talking to folks who have experienced similar problems can help.  

This panel is made up of veteran members of river groups from all over the states, all of them who have had to solve their share of problems.  They’ll share their stories and talk about your pressing nonprofit dilemmas. These guys are good, so come hear what they have to say, and maybe bounce a couple problems off them!

"Fundraising for Boards"
Presenter: Julie Stuart and Davin Welter

Julie Stuart, board chair of Georgia River Network and Davin Welter, GRN’s Development Director, will talk about strategies and ideas for how board members can engage in the fundraising of their organizations. Concrete examples will be provided as well as plenty of time for questions that will address individual concerns or opportunities.  Topics will include how to use a board menu survey to identify members skills and interests; capitalizing on the network of board members to uncover new prospects;  peer to peer fundraising, board stewardship of donors, and other ancillary opportunities.

"Recruiting Your Best Board Members"
Presenter: April Ingle

The best ways to recruit the right board members for your board.


Click here to see the presentation descriptions!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

8 AM - 9 AM: Registration and Breakfast
9 AM - 9:15 AM: Introduction, kickoff, and summary of GRN’s 2013 accomplishments
9:15 AM -10:15 AM: River Cafe Conversations

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM: BREAK

10:15 AM - Noon: Plenary Presentations, Kingfisher Hall

·         Sally Bethea--“A Career Fighting for Clean Water in Georgia”

·         Jerry Hightower-- "Chattahoochee History"

·         Joe Cook-- "War and Peace on the Chattahoochee"

·         Gordon Rogers--"A Brief History of Fishing in Georgia"

·         Jay Bookman--"Every River Tells a Story"

Noon - 1:00 PM: Lunch; Silent Auction opens in Ben Brady Pavillion

1:00-2:30 PM

Track 1: Technical and Policy Presentations, Kingfisher Hall

·         Neill Herring--"2014 Legislative Round-Up"

·         Ben Emanuel-- "Georgia Bulldogs, American Shad, and Lost Mussels: Historical Conditions and the Restoration of our Rivers"

·         Bill Sapp--“Using the Rivers and Harbors Act to Protect Our Rivers – and How River Rats Can Help”

·         Jessica Sterling--"Industrial Stormwater Monitoring in the Chattahoochee"

Track 2: River Stories, Cowie-Weiss Auditorium

·         Dorinda Dallmeyer-- “Where the River Meets the Sea”

·         Vic Miller-- “A Life on the Flint”

·         David Hanson--"Who owns the Water" (film)

Track 3: Board Development, Plaza Conference Room

·         Julie Stuart--"Nonprofit Board Roles and Responsibilities"

·         Julie Stuart (GRN), Bruno Giri (UOWN), Mark Woodall and Glenn Dowling (Flint Riverkeeper), Jackie Echols (South River Watershed Association), and Clay Montague (Satilla Riverkeeper)--“How Nonprofit Boards Actually Solve Problems”

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM: BREAK

2:45 - 4:30 PM

Track 1: Technical and Policy Presentations, Kingfisher Hall

·         Dee Gillespie-- “Historic Hall County: Spaces and Places”

·         Michael Wolfe--"A History of Ichthyology in Georgia"

·         Thomas Peters--"Rivercane: Our Native Bamboo"

·         Ken Buhmeyer--"“Monitoring Water Pollutants in Georgia's Rivers: The AeromonasBacteria”

·         Richard Milligan-- “From Debatable Land to Pellucid Flood: Colonialism, Territory, and the Altamaha River”

Track 2: River Stories, Cowie-Weiss Auditorium

·         Grover Brown-- “Prehistoric Animal Show”

·         Bonny Putney--"A Trash Tale" (film)

·         Jonathan Wickham--"Chattahoochee Unplugged" (film)

Track 3: Board Development, Plaza Conference Room

·         Julie Stuart and Davin Welter-- "Fundraising for Boards"

·         April Ingle-- "Recruiting Your Best Board Members"

·         Julie Stuart and the GRN board--"Peer-to-Peer: Bettering Your Board Round Table"

·         Julie Stuart-- Board Track Wrap-Up

4:30-4:45: BREAK

4:45-6:00: Field Trips

·         Cedar Creek kayak demonstration

·         Walk on CNC trails

·         Nature Meditation Sessions with Shirley Banks (meet in the meadow behind Kingfisher Hall)

o    Elements Meditation (4:45-5:15)

o    Walking Meditation (5:20-6:00)

6:00 PM -7:00 PM: Happy Hour! (Ben Brady Pavilion Lawn)

7:00 PM – 10:00 PM: River Celebration Awards and Party (Ben Brady Pavilion)


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mini-Paddle Georgia

We will be paddling around the Chattahoochee’s Bull Sluice Lake, one of the most beautiful stretches of the Chattahoochee!  Naturalists, historians and ecologists will be stationed around the lake to tell us more about the cultural and natural history of the area, point out all the cool birds and beasts, and tell you where the closest bathroom is.  We will be paddling around between Azalea boat ramp and the Morgan Falls dam from 9 AM and 2 PM, and you can get off whenever you want!  It’s the perfect way to enjoy a spring day!


·         6:30 AM: Wake up! Lights on and breakfast and coffee will be served in Kingfisher Hall

·         7:00 AM: Breakfast and coffee

·         8:00-9:00 AM:  Park at Azalea boat ramp and unload boats and gear

·         8:30-9:30 AM: Check onto the river!

·         10:30-2 PM: Paddle the route between Azalea and Morgan Falls, get out and enjoy the sunshine, have a picnic, grill the naturalists about the birds you’re seeing! Have fun!

·         2:00 PM: Take out at Azalea



Sally Bethea
Sally Bethea is the founding director of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a 7,000-plus member nonprofit environmental advocacy organization established in 1994 whose mission is to protect and restore the Chattahoochee River, its tributaries and watershed.
She has an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a masters degree in city planning from Georgia Tech, and an honorary doctorate from LaGrange College  — as well as more than 30 years of experience in environmental issues. Sally has served on the national boards of Waterkeeper Alliance and River Network and the Georgia Board of Natural Resources.
In 2012, Sally received the James R. Compton River Achievement Award from River Network for leading, educating and advocating for clean water in the Chattahoochee River Basin and throughout the country. Also in 2012, she was named a “Hero of the New South” in the Eco-Preservation category by Southern Living magazine. In 2008, Georgia River Network established the Sally Bethea River Champion Award and recognized her as its first recipient.
She has lived in Atlanta’s Ansley Park neighborhood for more than three decades and is the proud mother of two grown sons, Charles and Robert.

Jay Bookman

Jay Bookman is an author and a columnist and blogger at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has twice won national awards for outstanding editorial writing, the National Headliner Award and the Scripps-Howard National Journalism Award. He has also been honored with the American Conservation Award by the National Wildlife Federation and the Aldo Leopold Award by the Wilderness Society.

Grover Brown
Grover Brown grew up in Northwest Georgia, near the confluence of the Coosa River, where a high school zoology class sparked his interest in Georgia’s rivers. He graduated with his B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia in 2012. After graduation, he moved to Quang Ngai, Vietnam, to work in wildlife conservation for a year before returning to the States to apply for his Master’s program.

Ken Buhmeyer
Ken is a retired science educator.  He taught sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Fulton County Public Schools.  He is currently an adviser to people interested in careers is science at Excellence In Science Achievement and is interested in studying the presence and characteristics of the Aeromonas group of bacteria in Georgia's rivers.

Joe Cook
Joe has served CRBI as a board member since 1999, and began full time work as Executive Director and Riverkeeper in January 2005. He is a nature/landscape photographer and writer whose work has been published in numerous national and regional magazines and is featured in three books, Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail, Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains and River Song-A Journey Down the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers. He has studied and reported extensively on water resource issues in Georgia since 1994. He and his daughter and her mother spent 26 days canoeing the 160-mile length of the Etowah River in 2002. In 2007, he was the recipient of a national River Hero award from River Network and in 2011 and 2013 was named to Georgia Trend's 100 Most Influential Georgians list. He is a 1988 graduate of Berry College where he studied communications and agriculture.

Dorinda Dallmeyer
Dorinda directs the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia. For her edited anthology Bartram's Living Legacy: the Travels and the Nature of the South, she was nominated for a Georgia Author of the Year Award. Her most recent book, "Altamaha: A River and Its Keeper," a collaboration with former Altamaha Riverkeeper James Holland and Georgia author Janisse Ray, was released by the University of Georgia Press in June 2012. A member of the GRN board of directors, she is a veteran of Paddle Georgia 2010-2012.

Glenn Dowling
Glenn is a native of Albany, GA.  With the Flint River and its tributaries as his youthful paddling and fishing playground, he was fortunate to have parents who made it their mission to teach him the value of natural resource conservation.  Through hunting, fishing and canoe trips, a love for the outdoors and responsible stewardship have been molded into the fiber of his character and career.  His working life brought him experience at every level of government; from an early Congressional staff position in Washington, D.C., to state (Lt. Gov. Office) and county (ACCG) positions culminating with City Manager responsibilities in Hiawassee, GA.  Every level of government experience provided a different perspective of natural resource protection responsibility and policy implications.  Using this governmental experience, combined with a Political Science degree from the University of Florida, it is a natural fit and second nature to advocate for rivers and for access to quality outdoor recreation experiences for all Georgians.  

Glenn’s wife, Kristina, of Winchester, VA, is the “Super Mama” of their two sons, Aaron (7) and Axel (5).

Jacqueline Echols
Jacqueline Echols was formally introduced to water issues in the context of environmental justice in Atlanta in 1995, when she joined and eventually assumed the leadership role in what became known as the Clean Streams Task Force. The Task Force advocated for complete separation of Atlanta’s last 19 square miles of combined sewers during the 1997-1999 Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper federal consent decree implementation negotiations.  Fourteen years later, she is still actively involved in monitoring Atlanta’s efforts to comply with the 2005 National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued for the city’s combined sewer overflow system. In 2004, Dr. Echols was appointed to the Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission where she served until 2010.  Recognizing that Atlanta’s tree canopy is the city’s primary ally in the fight for cleaner air, throughout her tenure, Dr. Echols campaigned for the Commission to adopt a more advocacy and less administrative tree protection role.  She served as chair of the Commission from 2008-2009. In 2010, Dr. Echols became president of South River Watershed Alliance which is leading the effort to restore and protect the South River. Over the past three years the river has gained both visibility and support.
Dr. Echols has held the rank of Assistant Professor at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA where she taught Public Administration.  She also held the position of Assistant Vice President for Community Development at Benedict College in Columbia. Since 2010, she has been employed with the Technical College System of Georgia and currently serves as Dean of Adult Basic Education at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (formerly DeKalb Technical College).
Dr. Echols completed her undergraduate work at Tuskegee Institute (University). She earned the Master of Public Administration degree from Atlanta University and the Ph.D. from Clark Atlanta University in Political Science.

Ben Emanuel
Ben is the Associate Director of Water Conservation at American Rivers. Prior to that he worked for the Altamaha Riverkeeper as its Oconee River Project Director, based in Athens, Georgia. Ben's work in the Oconee River basin included advocacy and outreach with local governments and businesses on water conservation and efficiency, watershed protection, smart land use planning and promoting river access and recreation.
In 2010, he helped spearhead a community response to a severe toxic chemical spill in Athens' Trail Creek following a fire at a local chemical plant. During his time with ARK, Ben also worked for the statewide Georgia River Network. Prior to that, he was the news editor at Athens' alternative newsweekly, Flagpole Magazine, and was part of a river study project called the Georgia River Survey.

Dee Gillespie
Dee Gillespie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy at the University of North Georgia.  Since 2009, she has co-directed Historic Hall County: Spaces and Places, an interdisciplinary website project blends oral history and GIS imaging to document and preserve the history of the Chattahoochee River Valley in northeast Georgia.  Dee’s research focuses on southern communities in transition at mid-20th century.  Her earlier publications examined the social and political impact of black women’s community leadership during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.   Her current research project shifts focus to the social and environmental impact of southern modernization after World War II.   She is also engaged in oral history methodology and its uses in local historical preservation.

Bruno Giri
Bruno was born and raised in North Carolina. He attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, where he studied biology and anthropology. After completing his B.S. in 1993, he joined the Peace Corps and served in Nepal as a fisheries extension volunteer for two years. He returned to the US where he continued his studies in fisheries at Auburn University with an M.S. degree. Since then, he has spent time living and working in Atlanta and Athens, GA. He enjoys volunteering with a variety of local community organizations and traveling strange places in the world.

David Hanson
David Hanson is a writer and photographer based in Seattle. He grew up in Atlanta and has been a contributing writer for Southern Living, Mountain, Canoe & Kayak, US Airways magazines, and others. David paddled the length of the Chattahoochee solo in 2009. For "Who Owns Water" he paddled the Flint solo and the upper Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers with brother Michael Hanson, an award-winning photographer and co-director of "Who Owns Water."

Neill Herring
Neill Herring is a lobbyist for Sierra Club, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Flint Riverkeeper and Ogeechee Riverkeeper.  He has been lobbying in the Georgia General Assembly since 1980. He’s also one year older than last year.

Jerry Hightower
Jerry Hightower has been a Park Ranger, Naturalist, and Environmental Educator with the National Park Service for over 35 years.  He grew up in Sandy Springs near the Chattahoochee River.  The fields and forests along the river and its tributaries served as important classrooms for an inquisitive young man.  Today he presents programs to learners of all ages, not only on and along the river, but leads outings and workshops throughout the state and beyond.

April Ingle
I joined Georgia River Network (GRN) as the Executive Director in June, 2003, and it’s fun to think back on how quickly time has passed and how far we’ve come in that time.
I am originally from Indiana, where I grew up loving summer camping trips, swimming, riding my bike, and later paddling, and at a very early age came to know myself as an environmental advocate – starting with convincing my family to start recycling our trash in the early '90s. When it came time to choose a college and a major, I knew without question that I wanted to major in Environmental Science and Natural Resources at Purdue University (I applied only to Purdue and never changed my major), and I’m still amazed to this day that my 17-year-old self had it so right. My passion for environmental protection continued to gel throughout college as I learned about things like ecology, environmental laws, horror stories of environmental destruction, and innovative solutions to our biggest environmental problems. I also received my first training in being an environmental activist as an active member of our campus environmental group where I got involved in protests, campus education and outreach, and worked with the University to improve its recycling programs.
Right out of college I worked as an environmental educator at outdoor schools in Connecticut and Maine, where I got paid to spend my days with kids in forests, wetlands, salt marshes and tide pools, and then finally landed a job as the first coordinator for the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. There, I worked with farmers and Soil and Water Conservation Districts to get more water-friendly farming practices into use. That job led me to a Public Relations Specialist job with the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and later I was promoted to Executive Director of the Association, where I stayed until I decided to make a change and move to Athens and to the Georgia River Network.
At GRN, I work with our Board of Directors and staff to develop and oversee our programs, projects, administration and fundraising so we can meet our mission to protect and restore Georgia’s rivers. I also manage our Advocate Program and coordinate our efforts to gain strong protections for Georgia’s rivers. I serve on the Leadership Team and chair the Communications Committee of the Georgia Water Coalition, a coalition of 180+ environmental and sportsmen's organizations, homeowners' and neighborhood associations, faith-based groups and businesses who share the common goal of protecting and caring for Georgia’s water resources for current and future generations. I monitor and lobby the state legislature and participate and comment on policy-making decisions within various state and federal agencies. The biggest bonus of my job: the scouting trips Joe Cook and I take to plan out each year’s Paddle Georgia adventure – I have had the opportunity to paddle over 600 miles of 6 different Georgia Rivers on these scouting trips alone, and camp on some fantastic sandbars.
When I’m not working, I enjoy cooking and baking, hiking and camping, running, hula-hooping, knitting, and most of all spending time with my friends, family, 2 cats and dog. And – I love to paddle, and am lucky to have spent time on most of Georgia’s rivers and plenty of others in different states, including a week in the Boundary Waters in 2008.

Zelia Lebeau
Zelia Lebeau, a native of Texas, is an eleven-year voluteer in the Wildife Department at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.  She learned birding at her father's knee, and, after some time away from it, started birding again with fellow volunteer, Stacy Zarpentine.  She has lived in the Atlanta area for 22 years and works for Fulton County Superior Court.

Vic Miller
Vic Miller is a native Albanian, having grown up at Radium Springs on the banks of his beloved Flint River. An accomplished writer,he taught at Darton College for more than 25 years and is the author of two short story collections – The Tenderest Touch and OneMan’s Junk. He co-authored a novel, Where Remedies Lie, with local physician James Hotz, MD, who was the inspiration behind thestory Doc Hollywood. Having penned dozens of outdoor and adventure articles for Gray’s Sporting Journal, Southwest Georgia Living, GeorgiaSportsman and others, Vic enjoys spending time working from a retro Airstream camper in the back of his family home, overlookingthe Flint River.
Mr. Miller, now 71, is a retired English professor. He grew up on the Flint in Albany and still lives in his family home on the banks of the river, near the legendary Radium Springs. No one in this area has the passion for this stretch of the Flint that he has. He’s on the river nearly every day, hunting, fishing and exploring as he has since he was a child. He loves nothing more than taking children out on the water to share with them the wonders of the river and has done so since he was a teenager.

Richard Milligan
Richard Milligan is a PhD candidate in geography at the University of Georgia and founding member of the Georgia River Survey, an independent organization that has undertaken ecological surveys by canoe of several rivers in the state. He occasionally writes on environmental and social issues for Flagpole Magazine and recently published an essay on colonial natures in Rethinking the Great White North: Race, Nature, and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness in Canada. In addition to volunteering for conservation groups, Richard organizes with the Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition and Freedom University to address injustices for immigrant communities here in Georgia. His dissertation on the Altamaha River System draws upon literary-historical analysis of William Bartram’s Travels, studies of contemporary artistic and literary renditions of the Altamaha, and participatory research with several conservation groups in this basin.

Clay Montague
When Clay first visited the Satilla River in 1974 as a graduate student, he was struck with its unique blackwater beauty and rich animal life.  Although he moved on to coastal ecosystems during his scientific career, he welcomes this opportunity to once again study the systems ecology of the entire Satilla River watershed.  
Clay is married to Wendy, has two daughters, and five grandchildren.  He lives on the edge of the saltmarsh near the mouth of the Satilla River.  
Clay has over 30 years experience as a university professor and coastal systems ecologist in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, College of Engineering, University of Florida. During that time, he has become involved in a very wide range of ecological issues, tools, field sites, and experiments.  His duties involve teaching, research, service, and consulting with emphasis on the ecology and environmental management of beaches, inlets, estuaries, and  wetlands.  His research includes coastal and estuarine field studies, laboratory experimentation, literature synthesis, data analysis, and dynamic simulation modeling. He supervised more than two dozen graduate students, has published more than 45 articles in professional journals, books, and encyclopedias; and written 40 major technical reports.  He has given more than 100 presentations at seminars and scientific society meetings.  He has been principal investigator or co-investigator on more than 30 research grants and contracts from various federal and state agencies.  He was the associate chief scientist on several research and education cruises aboard the R/V Bellows and R/V Suncoaster of the Florida Institute of Oceanography.  He has served as President of the Southeastern Estuarine Research Society, and on the Ecosystems Panel of National Science Foundation.
Clay received his PhD in zoology from the University of Georgia in 1980, an MS from the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech in 1977, and a BS in Biology from University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in 1973. 

Thomas Peters
Thomas Peters, graduate of the University of Georgia Master of Landscape Architecture program, is currently the landscape manager for Snapfinger Creek Mitigation Bank, Atlanta, GA. Along with the usual duties of supervising invasive exotic plant removal and monitoring changes in hydrology, Peters actively pursues independent research on the three native North American bamboo species commonly known as "cane" (Arundinaria sp.). By collaborating withIndigenous Nations, universities, individuals and organizations involved in canebrake ecology, Peters embraces a holistic approach that has earned him national recognition as an authority on canebrake restoration. In short, Thomas Peters is doing everything in his power to share information on the environmental, cultural, and aesthetic values inherent in canebrake re-establishment along southeastern rivers and waterways.

Liz Platner
I am the new Outreach & Partnerships Coordinator at Chattahoochee Nature Center.  I've worked at CNC for the past 7 years as a part-time naturalist, teaching school programs.  Prior to coming to CNC, I was a classroom teacher in DeKalb and Cobb Counties.  Before that, I had another career in advertising, which culminated at the downtown Rich's. I love paddling and hiking, and do both activities as much as possible.

Bonny Putney
I am a 30 year Lake Lanier resident and outdoor enthusiast.  My corporate background was handling hazardous waste and materials, conducting workshops and handling corporate clients.  I also worked for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper for 5 years as the Headwaters Outreach Manager.  I currently participate with the Lake Lanier Association on Shore Sweep, Georgia Canoe Association on river clean up events, Rivers Alive Advisory Board, and Friends of Gainesville Park board. I have worked with various groups including the Lake Lanier Association to make the Shore Sweep one of the 3 biggest cleanups annually in GA. My cleanup activities brought me to the Rivers Alive advisory board and  I made friends with many of my fellow board members including Dana Skelton. In early 2005 at a board retreat Dana asked me if I thought a week paddle down the Chattahoochee River would be something people would like to do. I remember writing her a check that day. My life changed with Paddle Georgia and I can't imagine not have kayaking, my friends and love of the rivers.  Since then my life has been centered around protecting and enjoying rivers in the Southeast.  I am a certified Recreational Kayak Instructor and can be found on the Chattahoochee River and other rivers paddling most weekends. I have paddled all 8 Paddle Georgia Trips and I enthusiastically have tried to recruit new paddlers and promote and support GRN and especially Paddle Georgia. With more time and freedom, I expect to be able  help with more protection and promotion of all Georgia Rivers and the many GRN programs.  I have paddled with Paddle  Florida on the Suwannee River and 130 mile Keys Challenge, the Apalachicola River from Woodruff Dam to the Gulf and actively helped create the New Upper Chattahoochee Paddle Trail above Lake Lanier.

Gordon Rogers
Gordon, his wife Gina, their daughter Jamie Leigh, and their sons Quint & Joe live in the headwaters of the Flint, in Fayette County, and worship at Brooks United Methodist Church.
Gordon was raised in South Georgia, the son of Rev. Sam and Helen Rogers of the South Georgia United Methodist Conference. He graduated high school at Glynn Academy in Brunswick and attended college at Oxford College of Emory University (Oxford), the University of Georgia (Athens), and Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (Savannah). Following his formal schooling, he was employed for ten years by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at their Coastal Resources Division office in Brunswick, first as a fisheries statistician and later as a marine biologist and analyst. There he conducted basic research, management-oriented research, and marine policy development. Gordon then entered the private sector, as an owner-operator of a waste and recycling facility based in Brunswick. He has also fished professionally: tournaments, instruction, and charters. He was the Executive Director of Satilla Riverwatch Alliance, Inc. and the Satilla Riverkeeper® from 2004 to 2009.  He became Riverkeeper® and Executive Director of Flint Riverkeeper®, Inc., on 1 November 2009. Gordon works out of Flint Riverkeeper’s truck, the FRk office in Albany, and his office at his family home.

Bill Sapp
Bill Sapp is a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) in Atlanta, Georgia. He specializes in wetlands and coastal issues and uses his legal skills to protect the swamps, tidal creeks, and salt marshes of the Georgia and Alabama coasts. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and also obtained a Master’s of Environmental Law from George Washington Law School with highest honors.

Jessica Sterling
As a Watershed Protection Specialist at Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Jess works on CRK’s newest program, Protecting Streams and Communities from Industrial Pollution (PSCIP), as well as other monitoring and research projects. She received her B.S. degree from Ohio University in 2003 and earned her M.S. from the Odum School of Ecology at the University Georgia in 2012.
For her master’s thesis, she studied the effects of non-point source pollution on urban stream ecosystems in the upper Oconee River watershed.
Prior to graduate school, Jess conducted research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. She was active in the Athens environmental community, serving as president of the Upper Oconee Watershed Network (UOWN).
She also coordinated UOWN's volunteer stream monitoring events and served on the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Committee.
Jess lives in Atlanta’s Lake Claire neighborhood with her husband, Ben, their son, Theo, and two cats.

Julie Stuart
The revolution will not be televised—but it could be visually mapped, laminated, overnighted, mounted on a wall, and used to ignite a movement once Julie Stuart gets involved. Recognized in Harvard Business Review for her graphic facilitation work before anyone could agree on what to call it, Julie has facilitated high-stakes meetings for such clients as Accenture, GE Energy, the American Institute for Architects, Victoria's Secret and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Part strategist, part business truth-teller, part idea taxonomist, part champion of insights, Julie combines the right questions with a few well-placed scribbles to envision what’s really possible for her clients—and to map out how to make what matters happen

Jason Ulseth
Jason Ulseth is the Technical Programs Director for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. He joined the organization in September of 2007 after nearly five years of service with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission.
Jason received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from the University of Georgia in 2003. He is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control and is a Georgia certified Level II Design Professional. He is also a licensed U.S. Merchant Marine Officer by the United States Coast Guard.
Jason and his wife, Dawn, currently reside in Cumming with their daughter, Sydney, and son, Easton..

Davin Welter
I grew up in Augusta, Georgia and spent many a day as a child playing in Rae’s Creek near our home.  On several occasions, I watched raw sewage spill into the creek from a sewer line that ran parallel.  This was probably the beginning of my desire to protect our waterways.  Alongside that experience, I spent a lot of time on the family farm in Statesboro, Georgia during the summers and holidays.  My grandmother had a small lot on the Ogeechee River where my father and I would fish and the family would gather to celebrate special occasions. The wildness and beauty of the Ogeechee which brought so much peace as well as adventure also fueled my passion to preserve our rivers.
After graduation from Furman University with a degree in Political Science, I went to Washington, DC to work for the United States Supreme Court and for Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA).  I continued my career after leaving DC working in higher education fundraising for the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Southern University, Furman University, and the University of Georgia.  I also spent about five years as the Station Manager of WUGA, 91.7 and 97.9 FM in Athens.
I reconnected with my love of rivers as an adult while working at Georgia Southern University.  We started with a group that included a former marine, a former candidate for Congress, and an associate alumni director for Georgia Southern.  Our first canoe trip as a bunch of greenhorns was down the Ogeechee.  The water was high and the weather was cold during the dead of winter.   This motley crew grew a little or maybe ebbed and flowed and our activities changed through the years but we have covered a number of rivers including the Ohoopee, the Altamaha, the Oconee, the Flint, the Chattahoochee, and the Edisto in SC.  It has long been a desire of this group to paddle the entire Ogeechee and to paddle all the rivers in Georgia.
Service to community and others is something that is important to me.  I have served as the Treasurer of the Oconee River Land Trust and as a deacon at Milledge Avenue Baptist Church. I have also served as the President of the Foundation for Excellence in Public Education in Clarke County and of the Kiwanis Club of Athens. I was on the board of Georgia Options in Community Living and the Furman University Alumni Association. In 2000, I was a member of the Leadership Athens class and in 2006, I was a participant in Leadership Georgia.  I also participated in a Rotary Group Study Exchange Program to Switzerland and have traveled to Haiti with Bethlehem Ministries.
At GRN, I am responsible for raising the funds necessary to continue our day to day mission and maybe more importantly, to find the resources to realize our vision of an informed and inspired public that not only recognizes the importance of protecting our rivers but also actively engages in some type of activity on our waterways. I believe strongly that fundraising is not twisting someone’s arm to simply write a check, instead it is to encourage those who have a passion for rivers in the state of Georgia to find a way to support that desire.

Jonathan Wickham
Jonathan Wickham, President and co-founder of ZoëTV was born in Malawi, Africa, and educated in England. His global perspective led to the position of Executive Producer for Special Projects at Turner Original Productions.
Since starting ZoëTV in 1997, Wickham has written, produced and directed programs with a wide range of content, from exploring shipwrecks to living on the moon, from the struggle to control water resources to strategies for combating pandemic influenza.
When he's not making programs, Jonathan is a dedicated runner who has completed two marathons.

Michael Wolfe
A member of the North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA) since 1998, Michael has become more active in outreach for NANFA since 2009 when he became the Georgia Regional Representative.  In 2010 he additionally assumed responsibilities as the National Outreach Coordinator.
Since 2011 Michael has served on the Board of Directors and is currently the Board Chair.Since becoming the Georgia representative, he has focused on ways that NANFA can live up to and fulfill its mission statement, “the appreciation, study and conservation of the continent's native fishes.”

Mark Woodall
Mark Woodall lives in Talbot County where he manages the family tree farm.  He is a 1978 graduate of the North Carolina State University School of Engineering. Woodall currently serves as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club.