Dean Naujoks, former Upper Neuse Riverkeeper, has just completed the site visit for the proposed Charleston Waterkeeper program. After 7 years as the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper (in Raleigh, NC), Dean has taken a position as the Waterkeeper Alliance’s southeastern representative.
The site visit is an essential part of the application process as it gives a Waterkeeper Alliance representative exposure to a proposed program. Despite flooding streets and torrential downpours, Friday’s site visit went off without a hitch. The massive amount of rain served as a blessing in disguise as it provided an opportunity to show Dean the incredible amount of flooding that occurs in downtown Charleston. We were able to see water gushing out of storm drains, resembling some of the fountains seen around the area. This serves as an obvious problem as all of the water backing up into our streets during heavy rains and high tides eventually drains into our rivers and harbor, carrying along with it anything that was in its way (gasoline, motor oil, chemicals, particulate matter, etc.). The EPA suggests that stormwater runoff is one of the primary causes of a degradation in water quality around the nation.
After a brief, but wet, tour of the peninsula and surrounding waterways Dean and I made a brief presentation at the county library. All those in attendance were able to hear Dean speak of his experiences as a Riverkeeper. There was a great amount of interest from those present at the meeting and I thank every one of you who came out to support.