Ogeechee Riverkeeper Executive Director Emily Markesteyn Resigns
Friday, May 19th, 2017
After six successful years at Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Emily Markesteyn Kurilla has announced she is leaving her post as the Executive Director and Riverkeeper effective May 31, 2017. During her tenure, Emily publicly advocated for clean water and the citizens who live near, recreate in, and rely on the Ogeechee, Canoochee, and coastal waters of Georgia.
As the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Emily’s responsibilities included education, monitoring, and advocacy activities to promote clean water quality in addition to working with the board of directors to ensure sustainable growth of the organization.
In 2011, Emily and Ogeechee Riverkeeper responded to one of the largest fish kills in Georgia’s history along the Ogeechee River in Screven County. She, along with the organization’s Board of Directors, donors, legal and scientific experts, and supporters, implemented a Clean Water Act lawsuit settlement with King America Finishing (now Milliken) which included a stricter discharge permit, more frequent and transparent water testing protocol, and financial resources to invest back into river research and protection. Emily also collaborated with the Georgia Water Coalition and Representative Jon Burns to introduce and pass Georgia House Bill 549 to address pollution spills in our waterways. Another career highlight for Emily, along with her fellow Riverkeepers and coastal advocacy groups, was the denial of Kinder Morgan to use eminent domain to construct the Palmetto Pipeline. Emily subsequently worked in collaboration on House Bill 413 to fine-tune the rules and regulations regarding petroleum pipeline construction.
Emily Markesteyn Kurilla was born and raised in Savannah and her love for the water began in the local tidal creeks learning to water ski and kneeboard with her friends and family. She attended Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, GA, and received her Associates in Arts in 2001. She continued her education at Emory University in Atlanta and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies in 2003. Emily began her professional career at The Landings Association as the office manager in the Public Works Department, where she was later promoted to Facilities Coordinator. She accepted the position of Executive Director for Ogeechee Riverkeeper in April 2011.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity and my time spent serving as Executive Director and Riverkeeper with this amazing organization,” Kurilla said. “While I will miss being intimately involved with Ogeechee Riverkeeper, I am excited to see new energy lead the organization effectively in the future.”
Emily Markesteyn Kurilla will remain in Savannah with her family and work for Hasley Recreation, Inc.