All posts by Charleston Waterkeeper

After six years serving as our Executive Director and Waterkeeper, Founder Cyrus Buffum will be stepping out of his day-to-day role with the organization to serve as a member of our Board of Directors. With this transition, the organization is pleased to announce Andrew Wunderley, Esq. as Charleston’s next Waterkeeper.

Photograph by Christopher Shane

Cyrus aboard Number Two on Linning’s Creek (Photograph by Christopher Shane)

“Together, as we look ahead as an organization, I am encouraged by the strength of our foundation and the clarity of our vision. To all of our supporters, to our team (past and present), and to my friends and family, thank you. It has been one of my life’s greatest honors to serve as Charleston’s Waterkeeper and to help build this organization to what it is today. I am truly humbled, and I am truly grateful. Here’s to the future.” – Cyrus A. Buffum, Founder

In 2008, as a 23-year-old sailing instructor on Charleston Harbor, Cyrus read The Riverkeepers, the story of a group of fishermen who banded together to protect the Hudson River and their fundamental right to fish its waters. Cyrus was immediately inspired to establish a Waterkeeper organization in Charleston and set to work doing so.

Today, Charleston Waterkeeper stands as a fully operational organization with a professional staff, robust programs, and an impassioned constituency of supporters and water users.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance, offered that, “Building a Waterkeeper organization from scratch requires vision and community support. The existence of Charleston Waterkeeper and the effectiveness of its work is a testament to Cyrus’s dedication and Charleston’s passion for its waterways.”

Walker Brock, Chairman of the Board of Directors, remarked, “We are grateful Cyrus will continue his work with the organization as a member of the Board. His vision for the organization is clear and long term, and we will benefit from his new role. In six years, he has built a strong, impactful nonprofit with very capable, professional staff, strong supporters, and a clear, meaningful mission. We are excited about the future of Charleston Waterkeeper and the perspective and expertise Andrew will bring as our next Waterkeeper.”

With this announcement, Charleston Waterkeeper will be splitting the joint Executive Director – Waterkeeper role into two, full-time positions. With Andrew’s appointment as Waterkeeper, the Board of Directors has established a committee to conduct a formal search for the organization’s next Executive Director. Cyrus will remain in his current role as Director until the organization’s next generation of executive leadership has been identified.

To read the organization’s press release announcing the transition, click here.

To read Cyrus’s letter to supporters, click here.

To read Board Chairman Walker Brock’s letter to supporters, click here.


On November 5, Vineyard Vines hosted a grand opening party at their newest retail location–King Street, Charleston, SC! The event featured live music, cold drinks, and many reminders of “the good life.” The founders of Vineyard Vines, brothers Shep and Ian Murray, were on-hand to mingle with guests. Their love of water is evident in both their nautical-inspired clothing and their story; however, this commitment became more clear when they and the Vineyard Vines team decided to donate 10% of sales from the grand opening party to support Charleston Waterkeeper. Founder Cyrus Buffum sat down with Shep and Ian in our first ever video-style Saloon Session. It’s only been a couple of months, but Vineyard Vines is making quite the splash in Charleston. Welcome to town, guys!

Saloon Session: Vineyard Vines from Charleston Waterkeeper on Vimeo.


We are continuously inspired by local, regional, and national companies who take an active role in supporting nonprofit initiatives and the communities in which they operate their business. This November we have partnered with The Halsey for a screening of the newly release documentary, Watermark, revleaing the powerful connection between water and human existance. We caught up with the Halsey Team to chat more about the film, Charleston and our community’s connection to art:  

1.The Halsey was founded on the idea of creating “meaningful interactions between adventurous artists and diverse communities,” can you tell us how you cultivate these interactions? Why are they important to Charleston’s culture? 

 The great thing about contemporary art is that it is constantly evolving in the present moment. The works are reflections of our current culture and the shadow we cast – it is the art of our time. We feel contemporary art has the ability to resonate within a society. We focus on adventurous and under-recognized artists, people making fascinating and awe inspiring works that the general public may have never heard of. Sometimes these artists are “from off” and add balance to the voices in our local art scene. When we as a community interact with and meet these artists and their ideas, we all benefit from the diversification of thought.

 By connecting our community to artists that possess the ability to distill our shared human experiences, we are connecting our community to their voice. In Charleston, we are steeped in history, certainly ours, but also the history of our nation’s founding. Our history is rich and deep, and through the herculean efforts of local organizations, it will be preserved for years to come. This history is only part of our city’s identity. It is important for us to connect to contemporary issues and expressions so that, as a community, we can truly know ourselves.

2.Tell us a little bit more about why you decided to show Watermark

We had a show of the Edward Burtynsky’s photographs, No Man’s Land: Contemporary Photographers and Fragile Ecologies, in 2004. He is a friend of the Halsey Institute and among the world’s most significant ecologically-minded artists. In addition to the film’s stunning visual imagery, there is an over-arching message of reverence for this precious resource an the need to respect its power – it supports our very existence on this planet. Art has a way of communicating ideas in a way that language cannot. Words have different meanings and impact for different people. With art, we are given a visual representation to connect with. Our hope is that folks will attend the film, learn about Charleston Waterkeeper and their efforts and programming, then become good stewards of our environment.


We need healthy oceans. We need clean rivers. Water doesn’t need us, we need water.

3. In your own words, why is clean water vital to a healthy community, such as Charleston?

It’s a matter of geography! Our city is surrounded by water and our early economic development is tied to our beautiful matrix of waterways. Not only are we interested in clean water for the sake of our boating and swimming activities, but we must also care for the plants and animals affected by our activity on the water. It’s wonderful that Charleston has an organization like Charleston Waterkeeper to help us monitor our waterways with clear, trackable data that can be accessed by any citizen. We are surrounded by natural beauty and the capability to maintain this healthy, vibrant environment. It is our responsibility to be good stewards of the land and water we inhabit because, we are really only borrowing it, caring for it while our children grow up.

Thank you, Halsey Team, for all of your support! We hope to see everyone next Wednesday at the Charleston Music Hall!

Click here for details about the screening.

Click here to view the movie trailer.

A few more images from The Halsey

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Ashley Short’s connection to the environment began at a young age while playing outdoors on her grandmother’s farm in rural Kentucky. It is that foundation that leads her to believe every person should have the opportunity to recreate in a clean environment.  She attended college at Virginia Tech where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning.  After graduation she went straight to Pace University School of Law in White Plains, NY where she earned a Juris Doctorate and a Certificate in Environmental Law.  While in law school Ashley interned with the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic for a year and spent two summers interning at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C.  A recent Charleston transplant, Ashley is looking forward to helping protect Charleston’s waterways as Charleston Waterkeeper’s first Clean Water Legal Fellow and will work primarily with the Permit Watchdog Program.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates on Ashley’s findings and our facebook page where you might see her in the field with our investigators! 

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We are continuously inspired by local, regional, and national companies who take an active role in supporting nonprofit initiatives and the communities in which they operate their business. This fall we are honored to have been selected as the fourth quarter beneficiary for gournmet market and neighborhood favorite Ted’s Butcherblock Friday Wine Tastings as a part of the Ted’s Giving Back Program. To kick off the initiative we caught up with the founders of Ted’s below:

Tell us a little bit more about how Ted’s Butcherblock came to fruition 9 year’s ago.

Ted’s Butcherblock came to be more than nine years ago when Ted decided to make a career change and follow in his family’s footsteps by opening a combination butcher shop, market and cafe. His parents were in the restaurant and catering industry, and his Polish grandparents were butchers in New Jersey and owned a neighborhood butcher shop for 40 years. As a former vegetarian, he came to learn a lot about nutrition and the food chain, and the benefits of eating hormone free, all-natural meats that are raised using humane farming practices. At the time, no one was offering this type of product on the peninsula, and even the natural grocers in town weren’t carrying the quality product that Ted felt that customers in Charleston would appreciate and that he himself would want to eat.


Ted’s Butcher Block Founders, Ted & Julie, pitcured above.

What prompted the start of Friday Wine Tastings and the Ted’s Gives Back Program? 

We’ve been doing the Friday Wine Tastings since the day we opened. We wanted to offer a tasting to educate people about the unique wines on our shelves, and we wanted to require a tasting fee to make sure we got people who were truly interested in learning about wine. We work with just four organizations each year because it helps us raise a more significant donation for each.

Why did you choose Charleston Waterkeeper as the fourth quarter beneficiary?

We’re a small, locally-owned business and it’s always been our intention to give back to the community that supports us when we can. We choose charities each year based on customer and employee nominations, and try to pick a mix of organizations that serve varied needs in the local community. We like working with groups that use the tastings as a social way to spread the word about their organization. That’s the reason we chose to work with Charleston Waterkeeper again this year – they’ve always used the events as an opportunity to spread the word about the important work they do.

In your own words, why is clean water vital to a healthy community, such as Charleston? 

As a city that is surrounded by and vitally dependent on its natural waterways, Charleston is very fortunate to have an organization dedicated to monitoring the health of those resources. Most of us take for granted that we have access to clean water and an abundance of seafood and locally grown crops here. We hope more people learn about the data-driven efforts underway to ensure that our waters continue to remain clean and safe for recreation, fishing and agriculture.

Thank you Ted’s for all of your support! We hope to see everyone at Ted’s Butcherblock this Friday from 6 through 8 pm and every other Friday throughout 2014!

Click here for deatils.