written by
lucinda koza

The Edisto Riverkeeper

2 min read , November 30, 2020

The Edisto Riverkeeper, part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, has proudly joined forces with Friends of the Edisto (FRED).

Friends of the Edisto with Edisto Riverkeeper engages in advocacy, stewardship, education, and outreach to achieve a healthy, flowing, sustainable Edisto River system.

We do this in collaboration with a diverse community of citizens and stakeholders from throughout the Edisto River watershed.

Who is the Edisto Riverkeeper? Meet Hugo Joost Krispyn.

Hugo Joost Krispyn has been a resident on the headwaters of the North Fork of the Edisto since 2005, and has been actively engaged with Edisto stewardship and advocacy for well over a decade, with extensive knowledge of the watershed, its hydrogeology, and the natural communities that inhabit it. Hugo’s advocacy on issues relating to South Carolina’s ongoing efforts to develop water policy have led to the development of close relationships with existing Waterkeeper Organizations in adjoining watersheds. In addition, Hugo has worked extensively to develop fruitful relationships with regulatory staff and legislative representatives from throughout the Edisto watershed and statewide. Hugo brings a unique mix of talents and experience to this role, including a previous career as a journalist and radio news director (1981-87), and several decades as a producer/director/writer of video and multimedia (1987-2017). A lifelong outdoorsman and waterman, Hugo is an avid paddler and enthusiastic amateur naturalist.

What is the Edisto Riverkeeper?

To know the history of the Edisto Riverkeeper is to know Meg Morgan Adams. Ms. Adams, pictured to the left along with the Charleston Waterkeeper, is the original Edisto Riverkeeper. Part of the expansion of the Waterkeeper Alliance to include South Carolina's rivers, Ms. Adams blazed the trail, advocating for local waterways and coastal communities and empowering citizens to contact their representatives and use their voices to protect their beloved Edisto.

FRED and Edisto Riverkeeper join forces

In 2020, Meg Morgan Adams joined the Board of Friends of the Edisto (FRED), and Hugo Krispyn took over the role of the Edisto Riverkeeper. The Edisto River is acclaimed as the longest free-flowing blackwater river in North America, and as the only major South Carolina river system that lies entirely within the state. With around 300 miles of blackwater streams, it winds through cypress forests, bottomland swamps, salt marshes, and estuaries, boasting a rich variety of habitats supporting wildlife, recreation, and potable water. However, the river is threatened by excessive agricultural surface water withdrawals, salt water encroachment, agricultural chemicals, industrial poultry waste, dams, poor municipal water treatment, industrial effluent, and urban sprawl. These threats are made worse by a lack of awareness of individual and industrial impacts on the river, and of the critical importance that good water policy will play in the river’s sustainability. Edisto Riverkeeper will use the same advocacy and community-organizing techniques currently employed by other South Carolina Waterkeeper groups to ensure that the necessary actions for issues affecting the basin are addressed efficiently and effectively.