From stopping the pollution of the Chattooga River in Trion to protecting hundreds of acres of land along the Etowah River, the Coosa River Basin Initiative has worked to save the Coosa River and its tributaries since 1993.


Tuesday, Jan. 30, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Rome Floyd ECO River Education Center, the Rome-based river protection group will celebrate 25 years of advocacy, education, water monitoring and restoration efforts with a special program at the organization’s annual membership meeting.


The program will include stories from the advocates that secured protections for the Coosa during the organization’s 25 year history as well as a video production that spans more than 500 years of Coosa River history, featuring observations from former Rome City manager John Bennett, Rome native Frank Barron and Chattooga County native Clinton Agnew.


The program will also include a review of the organization’s 2017 annual report, a preview of work in 2018, election of board officers, adoption of new bylaws and recognition of key volunteers and supporters.


Ruth Demeter of Rome will be recognized as the Ray Kelley Volunteer of the Year. Ruth consulted with CRBI during a lengthy strategic planning process and also volunteered during CRBI’s Environmental quiz bowl competition and aided in the organization’s move to 5 Broad Street in downtown Rome after more than 17 years at 408 Broad Street.


Sweetwater Brewing Company of Atlanta will be honored with CRBI’s Cedar Creek Park and Outdoor Center Corporate Citizen Award for 2017. The Atlanta brewer sponsors multiple Save the Coosa events at local restaurants and bars each summer that generate thousands of dollars in support for CRBI programs.


Justyn Patterson, an environmental science student at Berry College, will be recognized as the Water Monitor of the Year. Justyn, a Bonner Scholar, volunteers 10 hours weekly and conducts chemical water monitoring at 20 sites in Georgia and Alabama. He has also assisted CRBI in building more collaborations between CRBI and Berry College students and faculty.


A citizen group from Forsyth County will be honored with CRBI’s Margie T. Harbin Environmental Advocacy Award. Members of Stop Trashing Forsyth and the Etowah River were instrumental in winning concessions from the Forsyth County Commission to improve and limit operations of a private solid waste landfill located along the Etowah River. The group is currently pushing the county commission to adopt an ordinance prohibiting the dumping of coal ash waste at any landfill in the county.


The meeting begins at 6 p.m. with light dinner and refreshments with the program beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.


CRBI is a 501c3 non profit organization and member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. Its mission is to inform and empower citizens to protect, preserve and restore North America’s most biologically unique river basin.