This week, the Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) released its Clean 13 report for 2019, an annual award highlighting individuals, businesses, industries, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies whose extraordinary efforts have led to cleaner rivers, stronger communities and a more sustainable future for Georgians.
Among the honorees is the director of Savannah Riverkeeper’s Veterans for Clean Water (VFCW) program, Truck Carlson. A 30-year Marine and Army veteran, Carlson is enlisting the area’s large veteran population in protecting and improving the Savannah River. From May-September, culminating with the upcoming Iron Man 70.3 competition, veteran volunteers conduct water quality monitoring at 18 sites throughout Augusta’s River Region. They communicate the results through a mobile app, text message system, and online at www.theswimguide.org. Their efforts ensure the bacterial status of the waterways is reported to the public, so they can use local swim and recreation spots safely.
The veteran-led program is also protecting the Savannah River from plastic pollution. Carlson and his VFCW volunteers regularly clean litter traps on the city’s urban streams to remove plastics before they reach the main river. Nearly two years into the effort, Carlson is discovering that in saving the Savannah, many of the veterans are also saving themselves. “There is pride in selfless service. When their time in the military comes to an end, many veterans struggle with the loss of that,” said Carlson, “This program provides a way for veterans to continue serving the community they pledged to protect.”
To view the entire report, click here. The GWC publishes this list not only to recognize these positive efforts on behalf of Georgia’s water but also as a call to action for our state’s leaders and citizens to review these success stories, borrow from them and emulate them.
The entities recognized will be honored at the GWC’s Clean 13 Celebration set for March 12, 2020, at Mason Fine Art Center in Atlanta. Visit www.gawater.org for more information.
The GWC is a consortium of more than 260 conservation and environmental organizations, hunting and fishing groups, businesses, and faith-based organizations that have been working to protect Georgia’s water since 2002.