Pittsburgh, PA—Joe Payne, who has been working to improve water quality in Maine’s Casco Bay for over 22 years, was presented with the 2014 River Hero Award on June 2 at a banquet attended by 700 water advocates from around the world. It was part of an annual conference called River Rally, hosted by River Network and by Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization that the Casco Baykeeper helped to create.
Joe Payne, Casco BAYKEEPER® for Friends of Casco Bay, Joe is one of the original seven Waterkeepers and a founder of WaterkeeperALLIANCE®. For over two decades, Joe has been the eyes, ears and voice of Casco Bay, working to improve and protect the environmental health of Maine’s premier bay through science-based advocacy. When Joe was told he was being named a River Hero, he asked how that could be, since he only works on the ocean! He was assured that the honor is not just for river advocates. The award recognizes the accomplishments of an extraordinary group of individuals who have dedicated themselves to protecting our most vital natural resource—water.
Since 2002, 62 individuals from around the U.S. and the world have been honored with the River Hero Award from River Network, a coalition of more than 2,000 local, state, and regional grassroots organizations working to protect rivers, lakes, and coastal waters for 25 years. Other 2014 winners are Laura Calwell, Friends of the Kaw (KS), Margarita Diaz, Proyecto Fronterizo de Educacion Ambiental A.C. (Mexico), Michael Taylor, Illinois Water Trailkeeper (IL), and Jane Sherman, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (RI).