Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve been up to lately.

Joy began volunteering with Charleston Waterkeeper in January of 2015. Joy has become a real asset to our organization by getting involved with as many volunteer opportunities as she can get her hands on.  She trained as a Field Investigator for our water quality monitoring program and has provided expertise and research for the Gadsden Creek campaign. We hope you enjoy getting to know another one of our outstanding volunteers in this Saloon Session!


-Tell us briefly about your background.

I am originally from Springfield, IL and spent most of my summers growing up on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. I have been swimming and boating since I was a year old. Today, I enjoy offshore fishing and scuba diving and exploring the water of Charleston.

-You have quite a bit of background in the regulatory community – tell us more about your experience in environmental work.

I have 8 years of years of dedicated State service as a project manager enforcing Federal and State regulations which included Clean Water Act (40 CFR 122, 136, 403, 405-471, 503), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), and 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 300, in response to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. This also includes, practical knowledge and field work experience reviewing complex engineering calculations and plans and direct review of the work submitted in reports by professional engineering personnel. I also ensured that all plans and drawing standards, specifications, and data were up-to-date, and I authorized contractors to carry out all alterations, modifications and additions to submitted plans.

Besides scientific and technical experience, I also have experience in magazine, instructional, scientific and technical writing. I am the author of an article in Picture Framing Magazine national publication; author of a manuscript, “Abandoned: The History and Legends of Central State Hospital of Indianapolis”; author of fifteen instructional booklets for Fibre-Craft Materials Corporation. I developed, edited, and distributed the “GreenSteps Program”, an environmental management program to help Indiana schools become greener and healthier, for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

-Why  is clean water important to you?

The quality of water is very important to me. I have seen the effect of contaminated ground and surface water from human impacts. It was commonplace in the 70’s to dump chemicals in our local drains and today we see the consequences. When you sit in a room with a family, who cannot live in their home due to toxic vapors and contaminated water, and a large corporation, who is responsible for the contamination, offers to buy their family home, it can’t help but affect you. We are responsible for what we do to our environment and the waterways we enjoy. If we do not protect them now, they will not be here for us to enjoy in the future. I want to know that the water I swim in, isn’t going to compromise my health.


-We are fascinated by your diving stories – what’s your favorite story or find from diving locally?

I wish I had an exciting story of my underwater adventures, like seeing Aquaman or finding Atlantis, but that isn’t the case. I have been diving the Cooper, Wando and May Rivers for about 15 years and currently a PADI Divemaster. Scuba diving for sharks teeth and other fossils in Charleston led me to take a geology class (for fun). Two years later I ended up with a Geology degree. While diving, I find fossils of all kinds of creatures; both land and water. This includes, turtles, whale, horse, sloth, manatee, but the most popular is Carcharocles megalodon, an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 15.9 to 2.6 million years ago that has teeth as large as 7 inches. Some debate it was a descendant of today’s Great White. While I am excited about the Geologic history of the area, finding a wine bottle from the 1860’s, a small ink bottle from the 1700’s, or Coca-Cola bottles from the 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s, are just as exciting. It gives the waters of the area a human element; a time capsule of life before development of the coastlines. Because of my interest in the historic trash that is underwater, I also volunteer for USC SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology’s Maritime Research Division on their research and investigation of potential underwater historic sites.

-What’s something that your fellow volunteers may not know about you?

I can play several different musical instruments and won numerous ribbons for photography at the county and State fairs in Indiana. I can also install plumbing and electric to code, as well as repair appliances. I am well-travelled. I am a certified Blackwater diver which is only offered here in Charleston. Spent a combined 5 weeks scuba diving in Hawaii and 1 1/2 week on a live aboard diving the Great Barrier Reef. I have been to Germany on a genealogy trip to find my grandfather’s roots. My favorite city is Prague.

-Anything else you’d like to share?

I believe that one person can make a difference.

On Memorial Day 2015, a project I have been working on since 2005, came to an end. I spearheaded a project to have a war veteran’s grave repaired. Here is the article:

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2015 191 Bay Scout Raffle

Hosted by Charleston Waterkeeper

Enter to win the Waterkeeper’s boat! Your raffle ticket purchase enters you for a chance to win a 2015 191 Bay Scout AND helps provide Charleston Waterkeeper with the means to protect your right to clean water. One hundred precent of the proceeds from the raffle will support Charleston Waterkeeper’s work to protect and restore your favorite local waterways.

Tickets are $100 and when you buy 3 you get the 4th one free! The final drawing will be held on Thursday, September 17 at the 6th Annual Water Ball. You do not have to be present to win. Enter early and often for the best chance to win. Good luck!

Buy Tickets


Raffle Details:

Prize: 2015 Scout Boats Inc. 191 Bay Scout (19ft center console bay boat) with a 2015 90hp Yamaha 4 stroke engine and Magic Tilt trailer

Ticket Price: $100

Online Sale Period: June 1 through September 16, 2015

Drawing: Thursday, September 17 at Charleston Waterkeeper’s 6th Annual Water Ball. Drawing and Water Ball will be at the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street. Ticket holders do not have to be present to win

Incentive: Purchase 3 tickets get 1 free

Tax: Ticket purchase price is not deductible as a charitable donation

Scout Boats Description of the 191 Bay Scout:

With a skinny 10” draft, the 191 Bay Scout is all about fishability. Due to its 100% hand-laid fiberglass construction and fuel efficient hull design, this boat performs remarkably with a Yamaha F90 hp engine, reducing your operating expenses annually. The bow contains a large storage area/fish box, complete with anchor locker and 4 rod racks mounted in the gunwale. The 191 also comes standard with four aft stainless steel flush-mounted rod holders and an aerated bait well leaning post.


Diane Gould has volunteered with Charleston Waterkeeper for many years, we are very excited to finally feature her in a Saloon Session! Diane is a biologist by training, but she’s also a life-long learner with an insatiable hunger for knowledge. Her most recent volunteer effort was compilation of research for the Fact Sheets featured on Our Watershed page. We were so excited about her research that we created the weekly #WaterWednesday series earlier this year to highlight all of her hard work. We hope you enjoy getting to know another one of our outstanding volunteers and supporters!


-Tell us briefly about your background.

I was born in a coastal town in Massachusetts called Winthrop, where I spent many happy days as a child playing in the waves despite the bone-chilling cold water! Roaming the beaches and finding skate egg cases and jelly fish led to a life-long fascination with the marine environment. Love of the ocean led me to study ecology at Cornell University and ultimately to get a Ph.D. in marine environmental science from U. Mass./Boston. My career path led me to the US EPA-funded National Estuary Program where I worked as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bays Program for 6 years and as Regional Coordinator of the Casco Bay (Maine) Estuary Partnership for 13 years. These programs are federal/state/citizen partnerships that work on solutions for pollution problems.

In 2012, I retired from US EPA and moved here with my husband to Charleston. My son Andrew is a local architect here who designed a lovely home for us, next door to his home and my two grandchildren. We are walking distance from the Ashley River and a short drive from Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island with their miles of sandy beach! A wonderful surprise was the playful dolphins visible near the shore and right at Aquarium Wharf downtown!

-Why did you choose to volunteer with Charleston Waterkeeper?

One of the citizen organizations I worked with in Maine was Friends of Casco Bay, part of the national Waterkeeper Alliance. Friends of Casco Bay played a key role in efforts to address pollution issues in the Bay through their extensive water quality monitoring program. In 2006 I was greatly honored to receive their Friend of Casco Bay award, largely for my efforts to educate the public about pollutants, especially toxic chemicals in the Bay. When he heard my retirement plans, Joe Payne, the Baykeeper for Casco Bay, urged me to meet with Cyrus Buffum at Charleston Waterkeeper. I hoped that my experience would be helpful to Cyrus and his staff.

-Why is clean water important to you?

Estuaries are key to the health of our water resources. When I arrived here in Charleston I wanted very much to learn what important issues impact the health of the Ashley Cooper watershed and Charleston Harbor. Pulling together material for the Watershed section of the website was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about the history of Charleston’s water resources, the plants and animals, the value of the resources, the monitoring that has been done, and the pollution threats we are facing.


-You have quite the background – tell us more about your experience in environmental work.

My field research in college looked at the growth rate and contribution to the food chain of single celled algae called diatoms on a tidal mudflat. Diatoms can “swim” through the mud to reach the sunlight when the mud is exposed at low tide and hide back in the sediment when the water flows back in. These fascinating organisms have been an obsession of mine since childhood when I spotted them gliding along under my toy microscope in drops of brackish water from the tidal ditch behind my house.

My work with the National Estuary Program included writing State of the Bay reports and other material summarizing science for the lay public, helping to write and implement an environmental plan for the Presumpscot River, and working to define and implement needed research programs including eelgrass monitoring, toxics in birds and sediments, and impacts of red tides on shellfish.

-We are encouraged by your passion for knowledge – what’s your favorite subject to study nowadays and why?

Since retiring, I’ve been taking advantage of the wonderful opportunities for senior citizens to study at the College of Charleston. So far, I’ve taken courses in art history, architecture and philosophy. The art history came in very handy last fall when I spent a month living a block from the Louvre in Paris!

-Anything else you’d like to share?

Its been a real pleasure working with the dedicated staff of Charleston Waterkeeper! You are doing a great job!

Gadsden Creek is one of the Charleston peninsula’s last remaining tidal creek systems. Throughout history the creek and its marsh covered much of the Westside between Spring Street to the South, the Citadel campus to the North, and President Street to the East. During the 1950s and 60s Gadsden Creek’s marsh was transformed into a landfill and eventually the creek was channelized into an L shape. Brittlebank Park (1975) and Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park (1997) are built on portions of the old landfill.

Despite all this Gadsden Creek is still a functioning tidal system. The tide ebbs and flows to the Ashley River through a culvert under Lockwood Blvd. Marsh periwinkles and mud minnows abound. Snowy Egrets and Blue Herons frequent Gadsden Creek and its marsh to feed on small fish and crabs.

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The life of the Gadsden Creek system is at a crossroads. The Horizon Project Foundation recently applied for a DHEC Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management “critical area permit” to bury Gadsden Creek in a pipe and fill its marsh. We can do better. Brownfield restoration work in other communities shows urban streams near landfills can be restored and become assets to their communities.

We have a choice: bury the creek and its marsh forever or restore it and turn the creek into a community asset like Brittlebank Park and The Joe? The answer is clear. Stay tuned to learn how you can help save Gadsden Creek. In the meantime, head over to Gadsden Creek’s Facebook page and share your thoughts and pictures of the creek.






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.