Raftin' on the river

STAYING AFLOAT TO 500 NEW MEMBERS

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Six days into an effort to sign up 500 new members, Savannah Riverkeeper Director Tonya Bonitatibus has endured wind and rain -- and even some good-natured ridicule.

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Tonya Bonitatibus, the director of Savannah Riverkeeper, gave a tour of her 20x20 raft accommodations Monday. She has been living on the Savannah River for six days to garner attention to the river and get 500 people to become Riverkeepers.   Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Tonya Bonitatibus, the director of Savannah Riverkeeper, gave a tour of her 20x20 raft accommodations Monday. She has been living on the Savannah River for six days to garner attention to the river and get 500 people to become Riverkeepers.

"Yeah, a few people say maybe I'm crazy," she said. "But this is day six and we're officially halfway there."

Bontatibus, whose environmental group works to focus attention and awareness on the Savannah River and its complex issues, moved onto a 20-by-20 foot raft anchored in the channel off Eighth Street on Wednesday, vowing to remain there until her organization recruits 500 new members.

As of Monday, 251 memberships had been sold, she said.

"We're counting them in increments of $35, which is what an individual membership costs," she said. "Some people are signing up everyone in their family, so a larger donation will count as more than one sign-up."

Rough weekend weather included rain that dampened a First Friday membership drive and a gusty Sunday that forced her to reinforce her tent with a tarp held in place with 2-inch wood screws. It also got a little cold, with temperatures dipping into the 30s.

"It was scary, with all the wind, but today is beautiful," she said Monday. "I was able to build everything back and set it all up again, so we're in good shape."

The purpose of this event, which has attracted attention from Fox News and local boaters who have motored by to say hello, is to bring attention to the importance and beauty of the river.

Her raft, equipped with a tent, shower, toilet and fire pit, is anchored on the river at the end of Eighth Street in downtown Augusta -- precisely in the middle of the watershed at mile marker 200 of the 400-mile-long Savannah River.

Annual memberships for the Savannah Riverkeeper start at $35. For more information or to sign up online, visit www.savannahriverkeeper.org/savannah500 or call (706) 826-8991.

What is savannah riverkeeper?

Savannah Riverkeeper, established in 2001, is one of seven such organizations in Georgia that are part of a broader national network. Other groups are the Upper Chattahoochee, Ogeechee-Canoochie, Altamaha, Satilla, Flint and Coosa.

Comments (16) Add comment
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Dixieman
12900
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Dixieman 03/08/11 - 05:28 am
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0
This left-wing organization

This left-wing organization is a JOB-KILLER. Support it if you like its supporters communist Pete Seeger, Al Gore and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Don't support it if you think we need more jobs in the CSRA.

Riverman1
79277
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Riverman1 03/08/11 - 06:04 am
0
0
Dixieman, LOL...this thing

Dixieman, LOL...this thing really bothers ya. Here's how I see it, I don't mind the chemical factory and others dumping things in the river so much as long as they do it right. Actual measurements of oxygen past the factories are good, matter of fact. But this organization cleans up trash and other things, too. We communicate with them up here on the Columbia County portion of the river and they offer ideas and help to keep the river clean. Rivers in the past were raw sewage dumps and nobody wanted to live near the water. It's a beautiful thing now.

Dixieman
12900
Points
Dixieman 03/08/11 - 07:35 am
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Riverman1 - Yeah, and the

Riverman1 - Yeah, and the Black Panthers ran a free breakfast program for little kids back in the Sixties to camouflage their militant agenda. Lots of front organizations do this to mislead the public about their real agenda.

robaroo
674
Points
robaroo 03/08/11 - 07:48 am
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"Left-wing organization

"Left-wing organization JOB-KILLER's"? Dixie, what have you been smoking this morning?

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 03/08/11 - 07:58 am
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The river is not cleaner

The river is not cleaner because of the Riverkeepers. The river has changed purposes. For so long it was dredged to maintain the channel because it was used for transporting product that kept some older industiies in business. Those are gone. But the Riverkeepers have got to have monsters, otherwise there is no relevance for their purpose. They have killed Olin. Who is next in their sights? Picking up trash on the banks will not be enough.

Dixieman
12900
Points
Dixieman 03/08/11 - 11:49 am
0
0
Y'all ought to do some

Y'all ought to do some research and find out where this outfit and its allies stand on nuclear energy, environmental litigation, slowing down or stopping power plants and factories, etc. This is a radical left-wing group, a classic wolf in sheep's clothing. Go to their website and follow some links. Read their magazine and press releases. Educate yourselves about them!

Sweet son
9682
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Sweet son 03/08/11 - 02:30 pm
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Nice article Rob. Dixieman

Nice article Rob. Dixieman and DuhJudge need to be put into the river downstream from Tonya's onboard toilet!

dwb619
86650
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dwb619 03/08/11 - 02:40 pm
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0
As long as the the paper

As long as the the paper mills continue to bleach their pulp with chlorine, Olin or someone will be here to supply it.

Dixieman
12900
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Dixieman 03/08/11 - 03:25 pm
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Sweet son - Well, they have

Sweet son - Well, they have sued to stop nuclear power. Sued to stop industry from establishing or expanding factories. Sued to stop hydraulic fracking (domestic oil and gas production technique). They have an alliance with Pace University Environmental Litigation Clinic. Do a web search for the words "riverkeeper litigation" and then get back to me.

Sweet son
9682
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Sweet son 03/08/11 - 03:32 pm
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Dixie, I will do just what

Dixie, I will do just what you say! Then maybe I will be more enlightened. Thanks!

seabeau
33
Points
seabeau 03/08/11 - 04:32 pm
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0
Dixieman! Say what you

Dixieman! Say what you will,The Savannah River is one of the most polluted rivers in the United States. It was Olins discharging of mercury into the river that had the state place intake limits for consumption of river fish. If you can't do a job without polluting then you shouldn't be able to bo it at all.

Dixieman
12900
Points
Dixieman 03/08/11 - 07:00 pm
0
0
Do I want mercury in the

Do I want mercury in the river?
No, I do not.
Do I want major decisions affecting the river and my life made by self-appointed left-wing environmental extremists through litigation?
No, I do not. I want them made by people I am free to vote for and free to kick out of office if they make bad calls. Accountability, in other words. And that political freedom is more important than mercury.

DuhJudge
206
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DuhJudge 03/08/11 - 09:44 pm
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The Savannah River is not one

The Savannah River is not one of the most polluted rivers in the country. Have you any idea how many people drink water out of the river. From Hartwell to Savannah cities and towns draw straight out of the river. And their sewerage is treated and also goes into the river. The water is some of the best tasting anywhere because of the unique mineral content not what is dumped or not dumped into it. And as far as mercury in fish is concerned, the ocean is filled with fish they say to limit consumption of. Stop scaring the people. It is all about raising relevance for a bunch of otherwise misguided folks that use science as a weapon for their agenda.

airbud7
1
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airbud7 03/08/11 - 10:10 pm
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DuhJudge-On the list below

DuhJudge-On the list below you will see the name of the river and the states most responsible for the polluted conditions of the river.

1. Mississippi River TN, AR, LA, MO, IL, MN, WI, IA, KY, MS

2. Pacific Ocean OR, HI, CA

3. Ohio River IL, IN, OH, KY, WV, PA

4. Tennessee River KY, TN, AL 5. Houston Ship Channel TX

6. Ward Cove AK

7. Savannah River GA, SC

8. Delaware River DE, PA, NJ

9.Thames River CT

10. Grays Harbor WA

I'll still back Dixieman on this one.

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