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Catawba Riverkeeper Mission Statement

We educate and advocate to protect the Catawba-Wateree River Basin's lakes, rivers and streams for everyone who depends on and enjoys them.

Two million people depend on the Catawba River and the Catawba River depends on you.
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Welcome to the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

The Catawba River has been designated as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers three times (#1 in 2008, #5 in 2013 and #13 in 2000). The Southern Environmental Law Center and The Union of Concerned Scientists have ranked the Catawba in nationwide Top 10 lists for stressed and endangered rivers. Fish advisories for unsafe levels of metals and PCBs highlight the need to do more to protect our water.

Tis the Giving Season! As 2014 comes to an end, and with any charitable giving you might make, please consider supporting the Catawba Riverkeeper's efforts to keep clean and plentiful the water we all depend on and enjoy. Want to see just some of what we and our volunteers have done this year? Check out the map below! Click image to enlarge. Click here to make your tax-deductible donation today!

2014 Map of Accomplishments in the Catawba-Wateree Basin

Click here to make your tax-deductible donation today!

Of Interest to Catawba Riverkeeper Right Now!

2014 Fall Leaf Eco-Tour trial run


        We had a perfect day for the Lake James Fall Leaf Eco-Tour (paddle trip, barbeque and hike) on November 8.  Although it was cold, we paddled the Linville arm of Lake James with a wonderful view of Shortoff Moutain and the top of Table Rock, enjoyed a fantastic lunch (thanks the culinary brilliance of Amy Laurel), and then hiked to the top of Shortoff Mountain, where we had views of Lake James and Linville Gorge.  We will be posting pictures as soon as we accumulate the pictures and have time to post them. 

        If you missed the fun, we hope that you can join us next year.  Our next family Eco-Tour will be in January of February in Congaree Swamp (watch our website for details or sign up for our email list).  Our biggest event, the Spider Lily Eco-Tour is typically the third weekend in May.  In addition, you can find out about volunteer led paddle trips and hikes by going to the Catawba Riverkeeper Meetup site.


           Catawba Riverkeeper and other Waterkeepers in the region continue to be at the forefront of coal ash issues locally and nationally. Catawba Riverkeeper, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, initiated a series of lawsuits beginning in 2012 to require coal fired power plants to stop illegal discharges of toxic wastes from coal ash ponds and to clean up leaking coal ash ponds. The lawsuits filed in South Carolina have been settled, but Duke Energy continues to resist requests to cleanup all of its ash ponds. You can listen to a discussion about the coal ash issues on the November 19 edition of "Charlotte Talks" that included Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation Executive Director Rick Gaskins, as well as the Chair of the NC Coal Ash Management Commission and a Vice President of Duke Energy at  Additional information about the threats to our drinking water from coal ash can be found at

    Other News.....


    The Catawba River Basin

    The Catawba River Basin is made up of eleven lakes, the river between and the tributaries of streams, creeks and flows into them. Click on a section of the map below for more information about the lake or area you are interested in.

    Linville to Lookout map

    Lake Norman mapMIL map

    Lake Wylie map

    Landsford to Rocky Creek map

    Lake Wateree map

    Wateree basin beyond Lake Wateree


    Information About the Catawba River Basin


    How healthy is the Catawba basin 

     •  What fish advisories are currently in effect?
    •   Which water segments are considered impaired?
    •   Where are the sources of pollution?


    Why you should care about the health of the Catawba basin?


    What are the major water issues in the basin?

    •  Coal Ash
    •  Sediment Run-off
    •  Mercury contamination
    •  Stormwater
    •  Sludge and CAFO's


    What are the recreational options?

    •   Paddling
    •   Hiking & access to scenic spots
    •   Sailing
    •   Power boating 


    Who should you contact about different types of problems?

    Page Coming


    How can you help?

    •   Contribute money
    •   Volunteer
    •   Donate a boat or other item
    •   Report a problem
    •   Advocate for the River


    To learn about our plans for 2014, click here.

     Search our website

     - Looking for something you didn't find?




    The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to educate people about the Catawba-Wateree River, to protect the River, and to advocate for the River.  It is a big job and we need your help.  The Catawba-Wateree basin includes approximately 5000 miles of waterways flowing through 11 major lakes.  The basin includes portions of 24 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina.  Please read the upcoming events for some opportunities to participate in efforts to protect our River. 




    Job Openings

    Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is currently searching for its next Executive Director.  In addition, CRF is accepting applications for unpaid student internships. More information about job openings is available here.


    The CRF site's banner photographs have been generously contributed by 

    Bill Stokes and Randy Miller.



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    Help in other ways

    Dec 11, 2014 NC DENR Gives Duke Permission to Drain Marshall Ash Ponds
    According to a press release from the State of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources has given Duke permission to lower the level of waste in the ash ponds at the Marshall coal-fired power plant in Catawba County (on Lake Norman) in order to repair a pipe in the dam structure.
    Dec 03, 2014 Comments on Proposed Mine Draining to Lake Wateree
    Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation comments on the water monitoring plan (or lack thereof) for a granite quarry application.
    The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation has received results from its September polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) testing of fish tissue on Lake James.
    Oct 13, 2014 Volunteers remove more than 6,500 pounds of trash from Lake Wateree
    Organized cleanup a monumental success as 45 volunteers remove 95 bags, 27 tires, and much more
    Oct 13, 2014 Lincoln County Big Sweep Best Ever
    The NC Big Sweep in Lincoln County on Saturday, October 11, was our most successful NC Big Sweep to date! We had the largest number of boat captains and volunteers participate (80), we were able to clean up more sites than ever before (28), and we removed more trash than at previous events.
    More news…
    Report Pollution in the Catawba River

    Help protect your River! 

    Tell your Riverkeeper if you see:

    • Sewage Overflows
    • Failure to control sediment from construction sites
    • Illegal clearing of buffer areas
    • Fish kills 
    • Unpermitted discharges
    • Other issues that concern you

    Click here to fill out a pollution report or to report water pollution to Catawba Riverkeeper by phone, call 1-888-679-9494 or 704-679-9494.  In addition, to informing your Riverkeeper, you should also report spills or contamination to federal, state and local environmental officials.

    To report South Carolina water pollution call 1-888-481-0125.

    To report North Carolina spills or fish kills, call your local regional Department of Environment & Natural Resources office during normal business hours (704-663-1699 for most Catawba basin areas or (828) 296-4500 for Burke, Caldwell, McDowell and other mountain counties) or 800-858-0368 after hours.  (For more information on NC spill reporting, click here)


    The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare North Carolina, the North Carolina Conservation Network, River Network and the Waterkeeper Alliance.  

    EarthShare of North Carolina Logo


    NC Conservation Network Logo


    River Network Logo



    421 Minuet Ln Ste 205 . Charlotte, NC 28217-2784 . Phone: 704.679.9494 . Fax: 704.679.9559