Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Satilla River Gains New Protector; Woodbine Native Bill Miller to Be New Riverkeeper

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Satilla River Gains New Protector; Woodbine Native Bill Miller to Be New Riverkeeper

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE MORRISON

Longtime Woodbine resident Bill Miller is very familiar with his soon-to-be workplace. It flows just down the hill from his house.

Miller starts his new job next week as the second head of the Satilla Riverkeeper, which has its offices in Waynesville. He replaces Gordon Rogers, who resigned last year to become the Flint Riverkeeper.

Miller, 60, grew up on the tidal reaches of the river in Camden County.

"I cut my teeth on the Satilla, so to speak," he said. He fished and water skied on the river as a child, and as an adult made sure his children and grandchildren learned the same skills.

"It's a valuable resource for recreation and needs to be protected," he said.

Miller brings a background in management to his new job, having worked as manager of Cabin Bluff, Sea Island Co.'s rustic resort in Camden County, and later the company's land manager.

He also is familiar with the ins and outs of local government, having served for 20 years on the Woodbine City Council.

But he admits he will be receiving a lot of on-the-job-training during his first few weeks.

"I'm not here to say that I know everything," he said, "but I'm confident that if I don't have the answer, I'll find somebody that does. You've got to have a lot of folks to help you. I'm not looking at this as a one-man band."

The Satilla rises in the shrubby bottom lands east of Fitzgerald and then meanders through or past 11 Southeast Georgia counties before emptying into the Atlantic at Cumberland Sound.

Before he left, Rogers warned that the blackwater river faces a new threat: a coal-burning power plant proposed for Ben Hill County near its headwaters. Other Riverkeeper organizations in Georgia have joined the opposition.

Environmental scientists blame the burning of coal for the large concentration of mercury in nearly all of the nation's rivers and streams. The mercury accumulates in fish, making some sizes and species unfit for eating. …

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