The environmental defense and advocacy organization Ogeechee Riverkeeper is seeking a new executive director, also known as a Riverkeeper, following the May 31 departure of Emily Markesteyn Kurilla from that post.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity and my time spent serving as executive director and Riverkeeper with this amazing organization,” Kurilla said in a May press release. “While I will miss being intimately involved with Ogeechee Riverkeeper, I am excited to see new energy lead the organization effectively in the future.”
Kurilla, a native of Savannah where Ogeechee Riverkeeper is now based, served six years.
Earlier in her tenure, in 2011, she and the organization responded to one of the largest fish kills in Georgia’s history, along the Ogeechee River in Screven County and downstream.
Fish kill settlement
She and Ogeechee Riverkeeper’s board of directors, donors and legal and scientific experts, attained a Clean Water Act lawsuit settlement with King America Finishing, which later sold to Milliken. King America agreed to a stricter discharge permit and a more frequent and transparent water testing protocol and committed financial resources to invest back into river research and protection.
Kurilla also worked with the Georgia Water Coalition and state Rep. Jon Burns, R-Newington, to introduce and win passage of Georgia House Bill 549, addressing pollution spills in waterways.
Another highlight for Kurilla, along with other regional Riverkeepers and coastal advocacy groups, was the denial of eminent domain to the Kinder Morgan company to construct the Palmetto Pipeline. She subsequently worked with others for passage of House Bill 413 on rules and regulations regarding petroleum pipeline construction.
Kurilla has taken a job with Hasley Recreation Inc. and will remain in Savannah.
Another press release, issued Thursday through a public relations firm for Ogeechee Riverkeeper, indicates that the organization is actively seeking a new Riverkeeper and executive director.
“While we will surely miss Emily, who has been such an integral part of our organization for years, we are excited to see what the future holds for Ogeechee Riverkeeper,” said Dr. Keith Seibert, chair of the Ogeechee Riverkeeper board of directors. “Our board is looking forward to working intimately with the next Riverkeeper to ensure we continue to protect, preserve, and improve the Ogeechee River Basin.”
The Ogeechee River is a coastal plain river whose watershed, which also includes the Canoochee River, covers portions of 22 counties and is home to more than 500,000 people.
The nonprofit Ogeechee Riverkeeper organization, licensed by the Waterkeeper Alliance, receives its operating budget from donations, grants and proceeds from various fundraising events.
According to the release announcing the Riverkeeper and executive director job search, the position has three main aspects: running the nonprofit organization, being the “go to” person for environmental issues that pertain to the river, and fundraising. This last responsibility involves organizing activities and events that involve both the membership and the general public and seeking grants.
Applicants should hold a degree in natural science, law or engineering, or an advanced degree or relevant experience with an environmental nonprofit organization, environmental agency, or environmental consulting or law firm, the announcement states.
For more information about Ogeechee Riverkeeper or this position, visit www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org or call 866-942-6222.