Altamaha group has new riverkeeper
By MICHAEL HALL The Brunswick News Robby Arrington knows rivers. Whether swimming in the Flint River during his childhood in Albany, trout fishing in Alaska’s Kenai River or visiting family along the Altamaha, Arrington has spent much of his 23 years soaked in the waters of one watershed or another. His experiences have now landed him a new job as the Altamaha Riverkeeper. The environmental organization, which monitors the river and the ecological diversity it supports, is based in Darien. The previous riverkeeper resigned in June 2011. Arrington is charged with investigating citizen inquiries about water quality, educating the public and studying water quality trends. “Honestly, I am very honored and excited,” Arrington said. “I plan on being a pair of eyes and ears in the field for the Riverkeeper organization.” Although the recent University of Georgia graduate grew up enjoying the natural resources of southern Georgia, it was not Arrington’s intent to pursue a career in environmental management. As a first-year agricultural student, he discovered the environmental economics and management major. Arrington was drawn to the major because it gave him the chance to get his hands dirty and spend a lot of time where he feels most at home – in the field. The course of study was the right choice, he said. Arrington spent four summers working for Alaska Recreational Management at the Russian River Ferry on the Kenai River as head captain and assistant manager. “I started there cleaning toilets and working as a deck hand and worked my way up to captain,” Arrington said. His work ethic will pay off as he monitors the more than 100 mile-long river formed by the merging of the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers. “The Altamaha is a huge asset as a natural resource,” Arrington said. “It is worthy of me devoting my early career to.” The river will be a much different place than the river in Alaska where he was able to drop a fly and pull trout out with regularity. “I have been making the transition from Alaska to Georgia during the last four years, so it should be pretty easy this time around,” Arrington said.