Watauga Riverkeeper

The Watauga Riverkeeper is the key protector and watchdog of the Watauga River Basin in Western North Carolina. MountainTrue’s Watauga Riverkeeper endeavors to monitor and protect the quality of our region’s waterways through dedicated volunteers and engagement with Watauga and Avery county communities and local and state government. The riverkeeper wants all High Country residents and visitors to enjoy clean waterways free of sediment pollution and supporting a thriving mountain ecosystem.

Keep the Watauga and Elk Rivers Clean

You can help keep the Watauga River Basin healthy and clean by volunteering with one of our river cleanups or other events. If you are interested in volunteering, click the button below or email Andy Hill at andy@mountaintrue.org.

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Andy Hill

Andy Hill

Watauga Riverkeeper

Andy is MountainTrue’s Watauga Riverkeeper, protecting and advocating for the Watauga River Basin. Andy has a passion for clean, cold, fishable, drinkable, swimmable water.  As a long time fly fisherman, educator and guide, Andy is intimately familiar with our watershed from headwaters to the tailwater and is passionate about protecting the places we love.

phone (828) 278-9821
envelope andy@mountaintrue.org

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Watauga Riverkeeper Work

The Watauga Riverkeeper carries out the following programs and initiatives to protect the Watauga and Elk Rivers:

  • VWIN Water Quality Monitoring Program where volunteers take 65 water samples monthly from 13 sites located throughout the Watauga River watershed to ensure that our waterways are clean and healthy.
  • Recreation/Access: The Watauga Riverkeeper works with local individuals and groups to improve access to fishing and recreational opportunities on the Watauga River.
  • Stormwater management will occur through the Muddy Water Watch program. Trainings will start this fall for Muddy Water Watch, a citizen-led initiative to reduce the amount of sediment polluting our waterways.
  • SMIE Biomonitoring Program through which the Watauga Riverkeeper will be leading workshops and trainings so that citizen scientists can help determine the presence of certain aquatic insects, which are great indicators of river health.
  • Patroling the watershed for polluting activities and serving as a resource and point of contact for the public on issues related to the Watauga River.

Watauga Riverkeeper News

MountainTrue Announces Green Riverkeeper at 11th Annual Spring Green Bash

MountainTrue Announces Green Riverkeeper at 11th Annual Spring Green Bash

MountainTrue is pleased to announce that Gray Jernigan, MountainTrue’s Southern Regional Director, is now also the new Green Riverkeeper and will serve as a fundamental protector of the Green River watershed. MountainTrue’s Riverkeeper programs are key to our endeavors to monitor and protect the quality of our region’s waterways.

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Saving our Rivers and Streams, One Live Stake at a Time

Saving our Rivers and Streams, One Live Stake at a Time

Have you ever been out on your favorite river, gliding by a beautiful green and mossy bank, and noticed what looked like a big bare dirt scar? Chunks of the bank are falling into the water like icebergs, and not even a blade of grass can hold onto the quickly eroding soil. A lot of factors can contribute to such erosion, but the end result is the same, Sediment — the number one problem pollutant impacting our rivers.

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Tell Congress to Take AmeriCorps Off the Chopping Block

Tell Congress to Take AmeriCorps Off the Chopping Block

Meet some of our hardworking and dedicated AmeriCorps. The federal agency that supports the AmeriCorps service program is one of 18 agencies that are recommended for elimination in the White House’s recent budget proposal. Please take a moment to call your members of Congress and let them know that AmeriCorps is making a difference in our community.

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Photos from Our SMIE Water Quality Training in Henderson Co.

On Saturday, March 11, MountainTrue held our Stream Monitoring Information Exchange (SMIE) bio-monitoring training at Blue Ridge Community College. Through the SMIE bio-monitoring program, we sample aquatic macro-invertebrates, or aquatic insects, as indicators of water quality. Bugs tell us a lot about the health and vitality of our rivers and streams.

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Through Muddy Water Watch, volunteers go out hiking, biking, and driving to collect data about sources of sediment pollution. The data is used to work with the US Forest Service to repair damaged roads, culverts, and other sources of sediment to ensure these streams remain healthy.
After nearly a decade of work by WNCA (now MountainTrue), 11th District Congressman Heath Schuler, and many others, the long-proposed North Shore Road along the shore of Fontana Lake was put to rest. The people of Swain County were financially compensated in lieu of the originally promised road, and pristine streams, sensitive aquatic life and public land were preserved.