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 Hayslip at andy@mountaintrue.org.

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Andy Hayslip

Andy Hayslip

Watauga Riverkeeper

Andy is MountainTrue’s Watauga Riverkeeper, protecting and advocating for the Watauga River Basin. He has brought new ideas and programs to the High Country region while fighting for swimmable, drinkable, and fishable water and quickly establishing community support for MountainTrue’s ongoing work.

phone (828) 719-7624
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

Tell DEQ to Stop Duke’s Water Pollution at Cliffside

Tell DEQ to Stop Duke’s Water Pollution at Cliffside

It seems like the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) just can’t get it right when it comes to getting Duke Energy fix their polluting coal ash dumps. Time and time again we see the agency fall short of making the progress needed to protect our waterways and communities and the new draft wastewater discharge permit for the Rogers Energy Complex (a.k.a. Cliffside power plant) in Rutherford and Cleveland Counties is no different.

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MountainTrue Volunteers Help  Clean-up Section of Wash Creek

MountainTrue Volunteers Help Clean-up Section of Wash Creek

On Tuesday October 11, MountainTrue partnered with the Hendersonville Department of Public Works to clear a significant amount of garbage and debris from the section of Wash Creek behind Beacon Commons in Hendersonville. On the scene getting their hands dirty and helping coordinate the efforts were MountainTrue Water Quality Administrator Jack Henderson and Volunteer Coordinator for Wash Creek Rick Burt.

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Join us for the MountainTrue Fall Gathering at New Belgium!

Join us for the MountainTrue Fall Gathering at New Belgium!

Wednesday, October 26, join us at New Belgium Brewery in Asheville for our annual Fall Gathering. Expect great beer, delicious food and some sweet, sweet jams from Asheville’s very own The Midnight Plowboys. With our proud mountain heritage, beautiful mountain vistas, lush forests and rushing streams, Western North Carolina is an amazing and special place to call home. The support of our members has helped us fight for our communities and protect one of the richest environments in the world. Come and help us recognize the hard work of our members and volunteers, and to celebrate our accomplishments over the past year.

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Mavis Staples to Perform in Asheville at Benefit for MountainTrue

Mavis Staples to Perform in Asheville at Benefit for MountainTrue

MountainTrue, Prestige Subaru and the Matt & Molly Team present Mavis Staples live in Asheville, a benefit for the French Broad Riverkeeper. The concert takes place at The Orange Peel on November 13. Tickets are on sale now and proceeds from the concert support the work of the French Broad Riverkeeper, a program of MountainTrue and the primary protector and defender of the French Broad River watershed. Asheville-based artist Lyric will perform with her band as the opening act and will also perform a special acoustic set at a VIP event at PULP (The Orange Peel’s lower level private club) before the show.

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Henderson County Big Sweep Hauls 4,400 Lbs of Trash from Local Rivers and Streams

Henderson County Big Sweep Hauls 4,400 Lbs of Trash from Local Rivers and Streams

This year’s Henderson County Big Sweep was a huge success. Volunteers banded together to clean up 11 miles of local rivers. We picked up 24 tires and 81 bags of trash for a grand total of approximately 4,400 pounds of trash and recycling. MountainTrue wants to thank all of the volunteers who gave so much of their time and made this event possible! An important part of calling a region home is taking the time to care for it.

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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.