What is Coosa River Basin Initiative?
CRBI is a 501c3 grassroots environmental organization based in Rome, Georgia with the mission to protect, preserve, and restore one of North America’s most biologically diverse river systems – the upper Coosa River basin. Since 1993, our staff, board and members have served as advocates for the wise stewardship of the natural resources of the Upper Coosa River basin, or watershed, which stretches from southeastern Tennessee and north central Georgia to Weiss Dam in Northeast Alabama. This includes the Coosa River, the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers and the tributaries of these waterways as well as the land drained by these streams and the air that surrounds this land area.
A member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, CRBI is also known as the Upper Coosa Riverkeeper. As such, we work to enforce the Clean Water Act, by monitoring pollution and polluters. When pollution problems are identified we use all means necessary, including legal action, to correct these problems.
As a member of the Georgia Water Coalition and Alabama Rivers Alliance, we work to influence water resource policy in both Georgia and Alabama so that clean and plentiful water is available today and for future generations. We work in four program areas: advocacy, education, water monitoring and restoration. Our staff and board of directors lead and direct the efforts of CRBI’s more than 4000 members.
Here’s a quick video reflecting on our recent 25th Anniversary:
After a 1991 meeting in Keith, Georgia with a diverse consortium of citizens fighting local battles over everything from landfills to chipmills, Rome businessman, Jerry Brown, developed the vision of a regional organization that would fight environmental abuses in the entire Coosa River Basin, and CRBI was soon born.
Today, CRBI occupies a Broad Street office in downtown Rome’s business district. The organization employs a professional staff who coordinate volunteers and work with a board of directors to design and implement advocacy, education, water monitoring, restoration and organizational development programs.
Since its founding in 1993, CRBI’s advocacy, education, restoration and water monitoring programs have helped improve water quality in the Coosa River Basin and have helped citizens better understand water resource issues. The organization’s major accomplishments include:
Forcing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to uphold the Clean Water Act through a lawsuit requiring the EPA to set Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) on our impaired waterways. TMDLs limit the amount of non-point source pollution allowed to enter polluted waterways.
Stopping a plan to “transfer” metro Atlanta sewage to the Coosa River Basin by working successfully with state legislators forcing metro Atlanta communities to rethink their growth strategies.
Stopping the dumping of indigo dye in the Chattooga River by carpet manufacturers and the improper land application of wastewater sludge in Dalton.
Stopping a hot water discharge on Smith-Cabin Creek in Floyd County by Temple-Inland Paperboard & Packaging.
- Protecting streams in Canton from a large retail development and securing $500,000 for land protection in the upper Etowah River basin.
- Protecting some 80 acres of floodplain and wetlands in Rome by successfully advocating against its development into a regional shopping center.
Defeating water legislation that would have allowed Georgia’s water to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. CRBI worked closely with other environmental groups throughout Georgia in the Georgia Water Coalition to keep Georgia’s water as a public resource.
Training hundreds of citizens to monitor rivers and creeks throughout the basin. Citizens collect data which is compiled by CRBI, the City of Rome, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and Alabama Water Watch. Trends in water quality are noted and any unusual findings are researched further to ensure no illegal activities are occurring that affect water quality.
Educating thousands of Coosa River Basin citizens in classrooms, civic meetings, public forums, workshops, print and broadcast media and in our quarterly newsletter, Mainstream.
Passing a constitutional amendment and legislation that will dedicate environmental cleanup funding in Georgia to be spent solely on cleanup efforts across the state.
JESSE DEMONBREUN-CHAPMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & RIVERKEEPER
Jesse joined CRBI in December 2016 as Executive Director and Riverkeeper. He previously served two and a half years at Ogeechee Riverkeeper based in Savannah where he worked as the organization’s outreach coordinator. Prior to moving to Savannah, Jesse worked for a refugee resettlement agency in Stone Mountain, served as a director at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest Georgia for four years, and also served for a short time on the CRBI Board of Directors. He is a 2008 graduate of Berry College where he studied Biology and English. He lives in Rome with his wife Ashley, daughter Lilliana, and son Felix. In free time (whatever that is), he loves to mountain bike.
Courtney Paige Altice, Administrative Assistant
Courtney Paige Altice is the Administrative Assistant with CRBI. She was born and raised in the Appalachian mountains and spent her formative years in West Virginia where she earned a BA in International Studies from WVU in 2012. Her time in Appalachia left her with deep reverence for the natural world and a deep passion for finding the ways humanity can live in harmony with the ecosystem. After graduating from university she continued to pursue her passion for the environment through activism and herbalism. She earned her PBA degree in Herbal Studies from MUIH in 2017. She currently lives in Rome, Georgia with her partner Jeremy and their two children Zyena and River. She enjoys gardening, reading, and writing poetry in her free time.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Frank Harbin, President, psychologist and resident of Rome, Georgia
Doc Kibler, Vice President, principle at Decision Management Consulting, president of Big Cedar Creek Farm, manager at Coosa River Mitigation Resource and resident of Cave Spring, Georgia
Bill Carroll, Treasurer, accountant, musician and resident of Rome, Georgia
Connie Sams, Secretary, director of employee relations at Floyd Medical Center, owner at River Dog Outpost, and resident of Rome, Georgia
Shadion Buckley, quality manager at Ball Corp and resident of Rome, GA
Blair Carter, engineer and resident of Rome, Georgia
Georgia Holt, teacher and resident of Taylorsville, GA
Joe Montgomery, principle at Joe Montgomery & Associates and resident of Rome, Georgia
Artagus Newell, Rome Planning Director and resident of Rome, GA
Katie Owens, field manager for The Nature Conservancy and resident of Rome, Georgia
Bill Summer, realtor at Hardy Realty and resident of Rome, Georgia
Brad Swancy, farmer, maker of grits, meal, & distillery grist, and resident of Ranger, Georgia
Scott Thompson, musician and resident of Rome, Georgia
Amos Tuck, financial advisor and resident of Rome, Georgia
Kikki Tucker, owner at Tucker Farms and resident of Rome, Georgia
Board of Advisors
Bill Harbin, radiologist, Rome, Georgia
Jerry Jennings, professor at Berry College and former Floyd County Commissioner, Rome, Georgia
Bill McLemore, certified public accountant, Rome, Georgia
Todd Carroll, attorney, Rome, Georgia
Coosa River Basin Initiative
5 Broad Street
Rome, Georgia 30161
Phone: 706-232-CRBI (2724)