Protector of the rivers

Published 8:36 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

One of this community’s civic jewels — the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper Program — celebrated its eighth year of keeping our local waterways clean with its annual recognition banquet Wednesday night.

Though Riverkeeper Jeff Turner used the occasion to thank many others for the program’s success, including a record 142 dues-paying members, the truth is that the Riverkeeper Program has survived and thrived because of one man’s passion and dedication to the job.

Turner has devoted his life to protecting our community’s two most treasured natural resources. For that, Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

This community is blessed to have Turner patrolling the rivers and continually beating the drum for environmental awareness. His enthusiasm has spread to many others, who have joined Turner in removing some 53,000 pounds of trash from the Blackwater and the Nottoway over the past eight years.

Also, Turner, with a huge assist from some Carrsville Boy Scouts, led an initiative last year to tag 80 storm drains in Franklin with metal signs stating “No dumping, drains to river.” Apparently, some people use the storm drains to deposit their used motor oil and, in one extreme case last year, the discharge from a motor home’s septic tank.

We’re not sure whether such folks are reckless or clueless, but thanks to Turner, their misdeeds are exposed and, over time, mitigated. We salute him for his efforts.