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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 in 2010 and 2012 listed it as a Top 10 Endangered Places in the Southeast. In 2011, Union of Concerned Scientists listed it as the 4th most stressed river in the U.S. from power plants. Recent fish advisories for unsafe levels of metals and PCBs highlight the need to do more to protect our water. We hope that you will look at the information on our website and help us protect our water.

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 Catawba Riverkeeper

    Your River needs you as much as you need the River

    Support Our River

    Help in other ways

    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.
    Oct 09, 2014 Support Clean Water Campaign
    We are tired of hearing politicians and Duke Energy claim that they've solved the coal ash problem or "cleaned up" the coal ash mess. It's not true! This month CRF is starting a new campaign to make sure that the public understands that coal ash and other water problems are still a big threat, and that recent legislation and Duke's "cleanup" efforts have not solved the problems.
    Oct 04, 2014 Over 1000 Volunteers Turn Out to Clean Up Lake Wylie
    Saturday, October 4, was a beautiful day for volunteers to pick up trash from around Lake Wylie. Over 1,000 people came out to 14 different locations to pick up approximately 29,000 pounds of trash. For the first time, kayaks were used to gather trash in shallow areas that are not easily accessible with a larger boat.
    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