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River groups raise money to preserve coastal resources
H Sage1
The moon hangs over a marsh is east Liberty County. - photo by Photo by Heidi Sage
Supporters of Georgia’s rivers and coast enjoyed Coastal Treasures, an evening fundraiser hosted April 14 at Delegal Marina to support work that preserves the state’s coastal resources.  
Proceeds from the event will benefit Georgia River Network and Ogeechee Canoochee Riverkeeper.  
April Ingle, GRN executive director, said “Today, many forces threaten or negatively impact Georgia’s waterways. The most critical issues affecting Georgia’s coastal rivers include increased demand for water, point source pollution, and non-point source pollution.
“GRN works to engage citizens in the protection and restoration of Georgia’s rivers, lakes, marshes and wetlands, empower citizen-led groups to make important, needed changes in their watersheds, and advocate for policies that are good for Georgia’s invaluable water resources, including our coast.”
GRN believes achieving their vision for healthy waterways is dependent on active, effective, citizen-led river groups working in watersheds across Georgia.
Members believe citizen-led watershed groups are the best option to address issues threatening Georgia’s rivers, because threats to rivers are diverse and localized, and local people are best suited to identify and implement solutions that will work in their watershed.
Coastal Georgia has several watershed groups working to protect the coast, including Savannah Riverkeeper, Altamaha Riverkeeper, Satilla Riverkeeper, Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper, Center for a Sustainable Coast, and other non-profit groups.
“I grew up crabbing, fishing, swimming and boating in these waters,” Chandra Brown, executive director of the Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper and board member of Georgia River Network, said. “In order to protect this vital resource for future generations it is important  that we plan for growth while ensuring the protection of these sensitive areas.”  
The event featured an oyster roast reception followed by music, a barbecue by Gerald’s Diner and beer provided by Moon River Brewing Co.
Live and silent auctions were also provided.
Coastal cruise ticket holders enjoyed an afternoon tour of the coast by Mike Neal of Bull River Cruises.
Event sponsors spent a full day touring Ossabaw Island.  The tour was led with Jim Bitler of the Ossabaw Heritage Foundation.
Ossabaw Island was designated as a Heritage Preserve in 1978 by Gov. George Busbee to protect, conserve, and preserve the natural and cultural resources of the Island.  
As a Heritage Preserve, Ossabaw can only be used for natural, scientific, and cultural study; research and education; and environmentally sound preservation, conservation and management of the Island’s ecosystem.   
Event sponsors included the George E. Crouch Foundation, James E. Butler Jr., Cowart Coleman Group - Architects, Interiors, Land Planners, Advanced Metal Components, Edward E. Boshears, Melaver Inc., Optimal Hearing Systems, Theresa Perenich and Phil Novinger, R.E.M., Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest, Bert Nasuti and Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.  
Georgia River Network works to ensure a clean water legacy by engaging and empowering Georgians to protect and restore our rivers from the mountains to the coast.
Ogeechee Canoochee Riverkeeper works to protect our waters and preserve our way of life in Southeast Georgia.
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