A familiar voice of the Savannah River is hanging up one of his many hats -- but just one.
Frank Carl, who for eight years has been executive director of Savannah Riverkeeper Inc., is resigning that post, but will remain active -- for now -- as the organization's "riverkeeper" spokesman.
"I started out having, essentially, all the hats," said Dr. Carl, who -- at the time the group was established in 2001 -- served as riverkeeper, executive director and board chairman.
"I've been trying to shed those one at a time," he said, noting that he shed the board chairman responsibility four years ago.
A committee evaluating candidates to replace him as executive director should have a decision soon, said Tonya Bonitatibus, the group's development director.
During the organization's member meeting Thursday night, Dr. Carl also was honored for his years of service as the surprised recipient of the first Frank Carl River Advocacy Award.
"This organization absolutely wouldn't exist if it weren't for Frank," Mrs. Bonitatibus said.
Dr. Carl said he is looking forward to retirement and will gradually shed his many duties.
"When you have an organization totally dependent on one person, if something happens to that person, the organization dies," he said. "To have the organization survive, you need to distribute the leadership and I needed bosses."
Savannah Riverkeeper, an independent member of the Waterkeeper Alliance and a 501c-3 nonprofit group, works to promote wise uses for the river, offers education programs and serves as an advocate in matters involving pollution and other issues. Its buzzword is "enlightened stewardship."
Dr. Carl, a retired Medical College of Georgia professor, said he will remain very active in the group, which has been vocal in issues ranging from industrial sewage and allocation of water supplies to recreation and tourism programs that could generate more interest in the river.
Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOALS OF SAVANNAH RIVERKEEPER
- Restore water quality in the Savannah River, its lakes and tributaries, to fully support the uses of fishing, swimming, drinking, recreation and habitat protection.
- Protect the Savannah River, its lakes and tributaries, through the establishment of buffers and the use of best management practices for activities that affect water quality.
- Create a culture of water quality protection among the people of the basin by inspiring pride in their water resources and by educating them in ways to protect those resources.