PTRF may merge with NRF

Published 5:28 pm Friday, July 25, 2014

The Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation are close to a possible merger, according to organizers.

The two nonprofit groups have been in discussions for nearly a year, and now both organization’s boards will take a vote to finalize the deal.

Before the two boards agree on terms, there will be three public meetings discussing the merger. A meeting in Washington will be on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at the Blind Center on North Harvey Street.

“The only thing I want to make clear is the boards haven’t taken final votes, and the boards are inclined to merge for good and valid reasons,” said Harrison Marks, PTRF executive director. “Before making a final decision, the boards wanted to talk membership.”

A merger would provide “a stronger voice for the Pamlico-Tar River with regulators and legislature,” according to a letter addressing the proposal sent to PTRF membership by president Jerry Eatman.

“The only reason for the PTRF Board to support a merger is a belief that this combination will benefit the Tar-Pamlico River,” Eatman said. “This new nonprofit organization will be focused on protecting your river.”

The potential merger would have no affect on the office in Washington or NRF’s office in New Bern and Raleigh, Marks said. Both nonprofits would keep their respective names, but a new name would be formed for the umbrella organization.

“It is not finalized what that name might be, but we will continue to use Pamlico-Tar River Foundation for the work we do on the Tar-Pamlico watershed,” Marks said.

With the merger, there would be three Riverkeepers along the watershed with Heather Jacobs-Deck maintaining her position in Washington. Others would be positioned in New Bern and Raleigh.

“We will have one board of directors and I would be the executive director for both, but everybody stays the same,” Marks said.

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