Catawba Riverkeeper David Merryman has resigned to work as an environmental scientist in Maryland, the foundation that employs him said today.
Rick Gaskins, executive director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, will serve as riverkeeper until a new one is hired. The riverkeeper serves as the Catawba’s watchdog and advocate, educating the public and working with volunteers to spot problems in the water.
About 1.8 million people in the Carolinas depend on the 225-mile Catawba for drinking water.
Merryman, who has degrees in biology, took the job in 2008. He succeeded Donna Lisenby, who became the first Catawba Riverkeeper in 1997. His move to southern Maryland will allow him to live closer to family.
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Merryman has targeted illegal discharges of sewage into Lake Wylie, campaigned against potential hazards of Duke Energy’s coal ash impoundments and researched contamination of fish in the Catawba lakes.
“David brought passion, scientific expertise and the ability to communicate to his work as riverkeeper and we will be looking for similar abilities in a new riverkeeper,” Gaskins said in a statement.
Gaskins, who has degrees in engineering and law, said the search for Merryman’s replacement will start immediately.