Altamaha Riverkeeper Hires New Riverkeeper/CEO and Coastkeeper

Protecting Georgia’s Largest Watershed Prompts Expansion Move

To enhance protection of the largest free-flowing river on the east coast, the Altamaha Riverkeeper (ARK) welcomes both a new CEO/Riverkeeper and a Coastkeeper. The ARK board of directors is proud to announce new ARK staff members, Brian Lucy and Jenifer Hilburn.

Brian M. Lucy, a Navy veteran, is ARK’s new CEO/Riverkeeper. He is the former southeast region development manager for the National Wildlife Foundation primarily focused on environmental education and gulf restoration, and brings over 15 years experience in leadership roles with regional and national non-profits. His most recent position was as development director for 21st Century Leaders, an Atlanta-based youth development organization. He has also been an active volunteer with Earthshare of Georgia and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Mr. Lucy will help bring more of ARK’s attention to the upper watershed, including the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers, as well as supporting its longstanding commitment to the Lower Altamaha.

“It is an honor to take the helm of one of Georgia’s original Riverkeeper organizations and I look forward to working with our members, partners and community to build on ARK’s proud legacy of protecting the mighty Altamaha and its watershed,” says Mr. Lucy.

Jenifer “Jen” Hilburn, ARK’s new Coastkeeper, has lived on the Georgia coast for the past 12 years working in the field of ornithology on St. Catherines Island.   Collaborative efforts with Georgia DNR and Little St. Simons Island working with shorebirds have furthered her coastal experience to include the mouth of the Altamaha, specifically Wolf and Little Egg Island Complex. Jen has spent a lot of time on the water and developed an intimate understanding of ecosystems of the Georgia’s coastal rivers and islands, and the communities that utilize them.  For the past two decades she has worked in wildlife conservation and research in Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, California, Oregon and Florida. 

Jenifer says,  “As a lifelong conservationist committed to saving species, it is a great pleasure for me to expand my environmental efforts to the protection of over 120 rare and endangered plants and animals, their habitats and everyone’s basic fundamental need of clean water within the state’s largest watershed.” 
ARK Board President Gabe Haman is excited about the Keepers, noting, “With strong staff leadership at both ends of our river system, we have enhanced our ability to monitor and protect the entire watershed,” Gabe continued, “Brian has extensive non-profit leadership and organization development experience and Jen has a strong record of wildlife conservation and field work. They complement each other’s talents and will be able to build on the strong foundation created by James Holland and Deborah Sheppard.”

Sheppard and Holland were ARK’s founding staff. Holland was the organization’s original riverkeeper and Sheppard has served as its executive director for 14 years. Following several weeks of overlap to transition to the new team, Sheppard will be retiring from ARK to pursue other interests. She will continue to consult on ARK’s ongoing efforts to end the water pollution resulting from the Rayonier Inc. wood products plant in Jesup.

“Brian and Jen bring skills and energy to build on ARK’s history of watershed protection and grow the organization’s membership and support throughout the watershed”, says Sheppard. “It is exciting to welcome this strong team to take over the leadership of the Altamaha Riverkeeper.”

ARK recently notified Rayonier of its intent to file suit against the company for violations of the Federal Clean Water Act and the Georgia Water Quality Control Act. GreenLaw, Stack & Associates P.C. and the Southern Environmental Law Center are representing ARK in the Clean Water Act matter.

ABOUT: Altamaha Riverkeeper is a 501(c)(3) non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the habitat, water quality, and flow of the Altamaha river stystems, from its headwaters in North Georgia to its terminus at the Atlantic Ocean near Darien. Formed by the confluence of the Ocmulgee (255 miles long), Oconee (215 miles) and Ohoopee (119 miles), the Altamaha River flows 137 miles, draining about a quarter of the state. The watershed encompasses 59 counties and 14,000 square miles. - See more at: