Riverkeeper seeks donations to research local problems

This year, the Shenandoah Riverkeeper used Giving Tuesday as the starting point for a new campaign called Achieve Clean 2015.

According to Jeff Kelble, acting Shenandoah Riverkeeper and president of Potomac Riverkeeper Inc., the initiative is aimed at “the on-going sustained priorities for the Riverkeeper.”

Those priorities, according to Kelble, include issues such as: fracking from Dominion Cove Point that could affect the Upper Potomac; concerns over regulations for storage coal ash; and algae in the Shenandoah River.

The Riverkeeper’s goal for donations is $100,000 before the end of this calendar year, said Kelble.

According to Kelble, the donations will constitute “a significant and important portion of [the Riverkeeper’s] budget.”

Kelble added that the funds from these donations would essentially go towards continuing the work the Riverkeeper has been doing — collecting scientific information images and testimonies regarding problems like algae in the Shenandoah River.

“A lot of the money will support science and outreach to the community,” Kelble said.

Essentially, this means documenting the problems and raising awareness regarding the impact blooming algae in the river has on the environment, Kelble said.

The algae problem has been an area of concern for Kelble and his staff for the better part of the last five years.

Although the Riverkeeper recently filed an intent to sue the EPA, Kelble noted that the donations for Achieve Clean 2015 will not go towards their on-going legal work.

“It is a campaign to reach our capacity goals and to support the work we have been doing,” Kelble said.

According to Kelble, Riverkeeper received $11,600 in donations on Giving Tuesday.

Kelble said that Giving Tuesday is simply a starting point for the initiative. “The campaign is going well so far and will continue through the end of the year,” he said.

Kelble also urged anyone with interest in these issues to get involved by contacting him at jeff@shenandoahriverkeeper.org.

“Our strength in [these issues] is that we have people who are willing to come forward and say, ‘this is an issue to us,'” Kelble said.

More information about the Achieve Clean 2015 campaign can be found at potomacriverkeeper.org/achieveclean2015.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com