An attorney from northwest Georgia has been hired to help oversee conservation of the Altamaha River.
The Altamaha Riverkeeper board has hired Sonja Cox to take over the 11-year-old effort to protect and restore the habitat, water quality and flow of the mighty Altamaha from its headwaters in the Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Ohoopee rivers to its terminus at the Atlantic Coast.
When founding Riverkeeper James Holland retired in May, the directors began to look for a new riverkeeper. After completing an extensive search, ARK announced Cox’s hiring last week.
Cox is a life time resident of Georgia, born in Athens in the watershed’s headwaters. She grew up on a farm in rural Douglas County. Cox also spent time on the Georgia coast where her family has lived for 17 years.
Growing up at the heels of her science-teacher mother, Cox learned early about ecology, marine life, wildlife and habitat — and she says she loves it.
Cox graduated magna cum laude from UGA’s School of Journalism and graduated cum laude from UGA’s School of Law where she studied all the available courses in environmental law, natural resources law, as well as local government law and land use law.
Her professional career includes work as an assistant DA, a solo legal practice in residential and commercial real estate, and litigation experience at several large Atlanta firms. Her most recent job was assistant county attorney for Douglas County, where she developed an understanding of local, state, and federal environmental laws, watershed protection regulations, and general water policy issues, as well as an understanding of the workings of state and local government, law, and politics.
Cox says she has always planned to work in environmental advocacy.
"The Riverkeeper is the kind of job I’ve always wanted to do, what I’ve always dreamed of and been working toward. It’s the culmination of all my career and professional dreams. I welcome the chance to dedicate myself to something I care passionately about and I am excited to bring my career and life experience to the job. There has never been a more critical time to work to protect and conserve our natural resources and the environment."
Holland has said he will be on hand to share his experience and offer support and encouragement to Cox when she comes to work in mid-October.
The Altamaha Riverkeeper has been working to protect Georgia’s largest river system since it was founded in 1999 as the 27th Waterkeeper Alliance affiliate in the United States and the second Riverkeeper organization in Georgia.
The Altamaha Riverkeeper is privately funded and a 501(c) 3 organization. Donations can be made on line at www.altamahariverkeeper.org or mailed to Altamaha Riverkeeper, P. O. Box 2642, Darien, GA 31305.