Chattahoochee Riverkeeper

Sally S. Bethea


Picture of Sally BetheaSally Bethea is the founding director of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a 6,500-plus member nonprofit environmental advocacy organization established in 1994 whose mission is to protect and restore the Chattahoochee River, its tributaries and watershed.

She has an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a masters degree in city planning from Georgia Tech, and an honorary doctorate from LaGrange College  — as well as more than 30 years of experience in environmental issues. Sally has served on the national boards of Waterkeeper Alliance and River Network and the Georgia Board of Natural Resources (1999-2007). Currently, she is a member of the board of Earth Share of Georgia and a member of the board of trustees of LaGrange College.  

In 2012, Sally received the James R. Compton River Achievement Award from River Network for leading, educating and advocating for clean water in the Chattahoochee River Basin and throughout the country. Also in 2012, she was named a “Hero of the New South” in the Eco-Preservation category by Southern Living magazine. In 2008 , Georgia River Network established the Sally Bethea River Champion Award and recognized her as its first recipient. That same year, she received the Ullman Innovative Leadership Award presented by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. From 2002 through 2007, Sally was named one of the 100 Most Influential or Most Notable Georgians by Georgia Trend magazine.

Other recognition of Sally’s work includes being named one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans in 2001 and 2002 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and receiving the 1998 Southern Environmental Leadership Award from Southern Environmental Law Center and the 1989 Water Conservationist of the Year Award from the Georgia Wildlife Federation.
She has lived in Atlanta’s Ansley Park neighborhood for more than three decades and is the proud mother of two grown sons, Charles and Robert.

(Photo by Kevin Garrett)


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