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Riverkeepers mark 10th anniversary
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The Altamaha Riverkeepers’ 10-year anniversary celebration is at noon Saturday, June 6, at the Laurens County Sportsmen’s Club. The meeting will include a report on the Altamaha Riverkeepers’ water-monitoring study on the Oconee River in the Dublin area.
The riverkeepers began the study last August when they joined Laurens County Sportsmen’s Club members to draw attention to disturbing changes in the river after residents reported decreasing numbers of fish, fish with bleeding lesions and foul water odor.
Ten months of water sampling results taken at five different stations on the river by riverkeepers board member and Laurens County resident Kim Tyler indicate high counts of coliform and non fecal coliform bacteria. According to scientists working with the riverkeepers, the bacteria levels may threaten human health and the ecosystem.
“We have serious concerns over the water quality in the Oconee River near Dublin,” said Altamaha Riverkeeper James Holland. “Based on these water testing results, we have asked the Environmental Protection Division to identify and stop the source of pollutants in the Oconee River.”
The Altamaha Riverkeepers work to provide a voice for watershed rivers and approximately one million citizens living in more than 35 counties.  
“We need support from all over the watershed to stop pollution,” said Altamaha Riverkeeper executive director Deborah Sheppard. “This event gives us a chance to say thank you to members who make the protection work possible.”
The riverkeepers group began in 1999 in Darien when a group of fishermen, outdoors enthusiasts and business people organized the group to protect the health of Georgia’s largest watershed. Their mission is to protect and restore the habitat, water quality and flow of the mighty Altamaha from its headwaters in the Oconee, Ocmulgee and Ohoopee to its terminus at the Atlantic coast.

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