River Rally 2012
Hello again, North Carolina! I have just returned from Portland, Oregon where I attended the River Rally conference. This year, River Network and Waterkeeper® Alliance partnered together for the first time ever in honor of 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Being a part of the largest international gathering of water advocates, it is hard not to leave awe and inspired after being amongst 750 like-minded people who dedicate their time to the same thing you do: clean water.
Our issues are different and unique to our watersheds. The L.A. River was once not protected by the EPA because of its mostly concrete bottom; it was considered non-navigable. L.A. River Expeditions led the way in preserving Clean Water Act protections for the L.A. River watershed by proving that all of the river was indeed navigable. With their canoes and kayaks, they turned its perception from a storm drain to a real river. This makes me so grateful that we are lucky enough to live in an area with beautiful paddling trails right in our own backyard.
Many watersheds in the Northwest Pacific region are dealing with coal plants including Columbia Riverkeeper® in Portland, Cook Inletkeeper® in Alaska, and Puget Soundkeeper® in Seattle. Another area that you would not think of that is protecting its waters from coal is the Qiantang River Waterkeeper® in China, the dumping grounds where the coal is exported to. Waterkeepers® from around the country (and the world) came together in downtown Portland on May 7th to rally against coal export projects headed to the PNW area. Robert F Kennedy Jr., Waterkeeper® Alliance’s Chairman, spoke at the rally with more than 400 people in attendance.
So, while I have returned to the White Oak and the New to work on our own specific issues, I am motivated by the many battles that all of us Waterkeepers® face and the one important campaign we all strive to defend: clean water.