The black waters of the Waccamaw River are now being looked after by a new pair of eyes as the board of Winyah Rivers Foundation named Paula Reidharr the new Waccamaw Riverkeeper.
Reidharr who has a master’s degree in marine science from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, takes over from Christine Ellis who served from 2006 and is keeping a part-time role with the foundation.
Ellis said she wanted to scale back her role because she needed more personal time and had the desire to focus on projects that mean the most to her. She will now be the river advocate with Winyah Rivers Foundation and will focus on the foundation mission of river protection in North Carolina in both the Waccamaw and Lumber watersheds. That will include the North Carolina water quality monitoring effort, paddle trail development and invasive species control and elimination on the upper Waccamaw.
Talking about the transition, Ellis said, "the great thing is, I get to stay doing the work I love to do.”
Reggie Daves, board president, said that Reidharr seemed the most outstanding of the 19 applicants, a very good speaker full of energy to fill the shoes of Ellis, who he said gave the group an outstanding seven years.
"I am excited to be working with so many great people and a group that already has a good foundation. I am ready to jump in feet first and do things on the river,” Reidharr said.
One of her first projects will be to continue building the Adopt A Landing program that is a partnership with Keep Horry Beautiful focused on having regular cleanups at many boat landings in the county. So far about 13 landings have been adopted but she said she would like to get all the landings in the program to combat litter especially in the busy summer months.
She said she also plans to work on maintaining all the relationships that Ellis has developed and continuing educating the public about the environment of the Waccamaw River.