Term of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Chad Posick

Committee Member 1

April Schueths

Committee Member 2

Baker Rogers

Committee Member 3

Marieke Van Willigen

Committee Member 3 Email



Riverkeepers and environmental groups currently face the complex task of defending watersheds. In Georgia, these efforts are complicated by the vast geographical and racial diversity within the state. This study examined the riverkeepers and environmental groups need to improve advocacy abilities to defend communities they serve from poor water quality, what communities in Georgia are being impacted by poor water quality, what disconnects exist between riverkeepers, environmental groups, and governmental agencies, and how COVID-19 has challenged the riverkeepers and environmental groups. Using qualitative interviews with eleven riverkeepers and environmentalists, the findings suggest that collaboration with riverkeepers, enforcement of current policy, defending communities of color, and educating the public on water quality are all critical to maintaining watersheds in Georgia. Minoritized groups, instances of environmental racism, and other challenges presented barriers to water conservation. The riverkeepers and environmental groups provided strategies to address these barriers and improve water quality.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material