In recognition of the importance of local waterways to the greater health of both Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic coastal environs, and to benefit the general public, The Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper organization is dedicated to:
The Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper partners with Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore, The Waterkeeper Alliance, Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Program, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and with other groups and agencies to help effect positive outcomes in water quality issues of concern to residents and visitors to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and the greater community at large.
Join the Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper and help protect, preserve, and improve our tidal waters.
· Provided a “Shorekeeper,” who serves as a public advocate and ombudsman for the tidal waters of the Eastern Shore of Virginia
· Advocated compliance with environmental laws and ordinances, responded to citizen concerns, and devised appropriate remedies for adverse impacts to tidal waters
· Employed strategies that include participating in coastal planning efforts, educating the public, removing threats from our coastal waters, and evaluating water quality monitoring data
· Sought solutions to water-quality problems resulting from activities associated with recreation, agriculture and aquaculture, and other industries
· Continued Advocacy, Restoration, & Strategic Partnerships with the Nature Conservancy, the Virginia Marine Stranding Program, the Friends of the John Smith Trail, the Assateague Coastal Trust, and numerous local, state, & federal government agencies
· Assisted the Friends of Nassawadox Creek to help preserve the integrity of coastal ecosystems on Nassawadox Creek.
· Hosted the Annual Clamboree
· Developed and implemented the Ghostpot Busters Program & Creekwatcher Program
The initial organizing meeting was held on Sept. 11, 2002. Founding Board members included Mike Castagna, Jack Ordeman, John Price, George Savage, and Vic Schmidt. Three new board members -- Garrison Brown, Chip Dodson, and Gene Hampton – were elected at that meeting. George Savage, who was recognized as the “founding spirit” of the organization, was elected President, Gene Hampton Vice President, and Chip Dodson Secretary/Treasurer.
The first regular business meeting was held two weeks later, on Sept. 25, 2002. In addition to critical fundraising efforts, one of the first items of new business discussed was establishing and organizing individuals as Creek Watchers.
In the spring of 2003, the Board of Directors applied for a grant from the Seaside Heritage Program of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for a grant to help fund the part-time employment of a person to be designated as the Shorekeeper. Other sources were sought for funding, and after their meeting of Oct. 8, 2003, the directors offered the newly created position of Shorekeeper to Nassawadox resident Richard Ayers (shown in photo below), who began his duties Jan. 1, 2004. A few years later, when Richard Ayers moved on to other activities, the Board of Directors filled the Shorekeeper position with Cape Charles resident Dave Burden, who remains in that capacity today.
About Waterkeeper Alliance
Whether they are on the water tracking down polluters, in a courtroom advocating for stronger enforcement of environmental laws, at a town meeting rallying community support, or in a classroom educating young people, Waterkeepers defend their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water—from law-breaking polluters to unresponsive government agencies.
Made up of nearly 200 local Waterkeeper organizations, Waterkeeper Alliance connects Waterkeepers, provides them with legal, scientific, and communications support, and unites their voices as they take on major global water issues together.