Waterkeeper Alliance

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Waterkeeper Alliance
Logo of Waterkeeper Alliance
Formation 1999
Headquarters New York, NY, USA
Exec. Dir.
Marc Yaggi
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Website waterkeeper.org

Waterkeeper Alliance is an environmental organization founded in 1999, responding to a growing movement of organizations with the name Riverkeeper, Baykeeper, Soundkeeper, and other related "keeper" names, of which there are over 200 around the world.[1] The original Riverkeeper, organized in 1983, started on the Hudson River in New York state, USA, in response to the destructive industrial pollution that was destroying the river.[2][3] It was soon followed by Long Island Soundkeeper (which is still led by Terry Backer), Delaware Riverkeeper, San Francisco Baykeeper, New York/New Jersey Baykeeper, and others. Hudson Riverkeeper is now headed by Paul Gallay, the chief executive since July, 2010.[4][5]

Today, Waterkeeper Alliance, which is based out of New York, New York, unites all Waterkeeper organizations, coordinating and covering issues affecting Waterkeepers that work to protect rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and other water bodies around the world. It's the fastest growing grassroots environmental movement in the world, spanning six continents. Each Waterkeeper organization is devoted to the preservation of specific watersheds.

Goals and actions[edit]

Two characteristics that have long distinguished Waterkeeper organizations are their grassroots focus, homing in on local water quality issues that impact the health and well-being of their local water body and local constituency, and also their commitment to enforcing the law, such as the U.S. Clean Water Act. When environmental regulators fail to enforce environmental laws, Waterkeeper Alliance and its members bring their own legal actions to stop illegal pollution. Waterkeeper organizations include Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Orange County Coastkeeper, NY/NJ Baykeeper, San Francisco Baykeeper, Santa Monica Baykeeper, Mobile Baykeeper, Hudson Riverkeeper, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, San Diego Coastkeeper and many other organizations.

Since 2010, The Los Angeles Waterkeeper organization "has investigated 40 facilities, filed 14 lawsuits and settled eight cases."[6]

Waterkeeper Alliance has several member organization working on the front line of cleanup and recovery efforts following the April 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Waterkeepers on scene along the Gulf Coast include Apalachicola Riverkeeper and Emerald Coastkeeper in Florida; Mobile Baykeeper in Alabama; Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Louisiana Bayoukeeper and Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper in Louisiana; and Galveston Baykeeper in Texas. These Gulf Waterkeepers have engaged volunteers, marine biologists, environmental advocates, and members of affected local communities in their cleanup and recovery efforts. Waterkeeper Alliance created the Save Our Gulf campaign and SaveOurGulf.org to coordinate Waterkeeper efforts along the Gulf Coast.

As part of its Clean and Safe Energy campaign, Waterkeeper Alliance works to address sources of water pollution related to the mining, transportation, combustion, and disposal of coal. Waterkeeper Alliance's "Pure Farms, Pure Waters" campaign seeks to address water pollution related to industrial farming operations around the United States.


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. serves as President of Waterkeeper Alliance's Board of Directors. Karl Coplan and Joe Payne (Casco Baykeeper) serve respectively as Board Chair and Vice Chair. The organization's Executive Director is Marc Yaggi.


  1. ^ Waterkeeper Alliance. "Waterkeeper Organizations". Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Our Story". Riverkeeper.org. Archived from the original on 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  3. ^ "John Cronin, Resident Scholar in Environmental Studies, Director of Pace Academy for the Environment". Pace University. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  4. ^ "Riverkeeper.org, Paul Gallay". Riverkeeper.org. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  5. ^ Vargo, John H. (November–December 2000). "The Hudson Riverkeeper". Boating on the Hudson. Archived from the original on 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  6. ^ Barboza, Tony (2014-04-08). "Environmental SWAT team tests runoff to nab polluters". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 

External links[edit]