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Last week, we celebrated the passing of a piece of legislation that served as a transformative turning point in our nation’s history. October 18, 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, an important reminder of how far we’ve come in protecting Charleston’s waterways, but also of how far we have to go.

To celebrate, we launched the GIVE 444 campaign. The campaign was kicked off with an editorial in the Post & Courier about the role of the Clean Water Act in improving Charleston’s own waterways [paper version below]. Next, we launched the actual campaign by sending out this eblast to our faithful supporters (if you’re not on our email list, be sure to sign up here).

In essence, the campaign serves to celebrate not only the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, but also Charleston Waterkeeper’s own 4th anniversary (on September 16th). We’ve grown from a mere idea into a tangible reality, and it has only been possible because of the overwhelming support we’ve received from all of you. Thank you!

The GIVE 444 campaign has three goals: CELEBRATE, EDUCATE, and PARTICIPATE.

On the celebration end, we will be featuring a variety of activities that tie us to the water here in the Charleston area. From surfing to fishing, we’ll be posting photo PSAs with a simple call to action, “Protect your right to ___able water.” If you’d like to see a specific activity (e.g. “Protect your right to oyster roastable water.”), let us know, and we’ll try to feature it (also, if you have a great hi-res photo of you or a friend enjoying a water-based activity in Charleston, send it our way; we’ll see what we can do to include it in the campaign). We’ll be posting these PSAs throughout our social media platforms, so be sure to friend us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest.

Next, the campaign will strive to educate. Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing reports and information that shed light on the current quality of Charleston’s waterways while also noting the issues that may be threatening our right to clean water–from point-source pollution to waters impaired with fecal pollution. As a data-driven organization, we rely on empirical information to identify and address water pollution issues throughout the Charleston Harbor watershed. After all, it is not possible to measure progress if we first don’t establish a baseline.

Stay tuned as our first piece will be going live later this afternoon.

Finally, as part of GIVE 444, we want the public to participate. We want you to play a role in the process of protecting Charleston’s right to clean water. Over the past year, we have built and operationalized our primary programs: our water quality monitoring program, our permit watchdog program, and our patrol program (which also serves to support the first two initiatives). We have created these programs as a way to get closer to our fundamental goal: protecting and improving Charleston’s waterways. Throughout the next four weeks, we will be asking YOU to participate in this goal by donating $40 (in honor of the Clean Water Act’s 40th anniversary). Your donation will help fund our integral programs. To donate, visit GIVE444.org.

Our goal is to encourage 400 donors to donate $40 throughout the next four weeks. Join us. Become one of the 400.