Green Riverkeeper

The Green Riverkeeper is the key protector and watchdog of the Green River Basin in Western North Carolina. MountainTrue’s Green Riverkeeper Gray Jernigan, who also serves as our Southern Regional Director, fights for safe and healthy waterways for all citizens of the Green River watershed. Gray brings together and empowers local residents and communities to identify pollution sources, advocate for and enforce environmental laws, and participate in restoration projects. The Green Riverkeeper serves the Green River Basin beginning at the headwaters on the eastern slope of DuPont State Recreational Forest and draining southern and eastern Henderson County before flowing across Polk County and joining the Broad River on the border with Rutherford County.

Keep the Green River Clean

You can help keep the Green 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 Gray Jernigan at gray@mountaintrue.org.

Gray Jernigan

Gray Jernigan

Green Riverkeeper

Gray is MountainTrue’s Green Riverkeeper, protecting and advocating for the Green River Basin. He has extensive experience in environmental law, policy and advocacy and fights for swimmable, drinkable, and fishable waters.

phone (828) 692-0385 x1004
envelope gray@mountaintrue.org

Green Riverkeeper Work

The Green Riverkeeper carries out the following programs and initiatives:

  • VWIN Water Quality Monitoring Program where volunteers take water samples throughout the Green River watershed to ensure that our waterways are clean and healthy.
  • Recreation/Access: The Green Riverkeeper works with local individuals and groups to improve access to paddling and recreational opportunities on the Green River.
  • Stormwater management will occur through the Muddy Water Watch program, a citizen-led initiative to reduce the amount of sediment polluting our waterways.
  • SMIE Biomonitoring Program through which the Green 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 Green River.

Green Riverkeeper News

How Clean Is Your River? Check Swim Guide

How Clean Is Your River? Check Swim Guide

Before you head out onto the water, don’t forget to check theswimguide.org. MountainTrue’s four Riverkeepers post up-to-date water monitoring results for the Broad, French Broad, Green and Watauga rivers just in time for the weekend. The Swim Guide is the public’s best resource for knowing which streams and river recreation areas are safe to swim in, and which have failed to meet safe water quality standards for bacteria pollution.

Celebrate Earth Day with MountainTrue

Celebrate Earth Day with MountainTrue

For six years, MountainTrue members kept the pressure on Duke Energy and the state Department of Environmental Quality. You are part of that legacy. Your support held Duke Energy accountable. Recent victories are an important reminder that your activism can change the course of history.

Protect the Clean Water Act from Industry Polluters!

Protect the Clean Water Act from Industry Polluters!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a proposal that would gut the Clean Water Act, a bedrock environmental law that has protected America’s waters for generations. Time is running out before the comment period closes on April 15. Take the action below to show that Western North Carolina will not stand for our waterways and communities being put at risk.

Press Release: Whitewater Kayakers Receive Grant to Save Hemlock Trees in Green River Gorge

Press Release: Whitewater Kayakers Receive Grant to Save Hemlock Trees in Green River Gorge

The grant from the Community Foundation of Henderson County will fund this work for the next year and purchase equipment for PHHAT volunteers teams. “The health of the Green is so closely tied with the health of the hemlocks,” said Gray Jernigan, Green Riverkeeper and Southern Regional Director of MountainTrue. “We are so grateful for this funding to allow us to continue this project for another year and save more trees that are vitally important to the forest and river ecosystem.”

Sept. 8: Take Part in Big Sweep!

Sept. 8: Take Part in Big Sweep!

Join GreenWorks and MountainTrue’s French Broad, Green and Watauga Riverkeepers for the 2018 Big Sweep  – Western North Carolina’s largest single-day river, roadside and creek cleanup. Last year, we broke records for attendance and tons of litter and garbage removed from our rivers, streams and roadsides. This year, help us do even more by taking part in a cleanup event at Westfeldt River Park in Mills River, the Green River Gorge in Saluda, Lake Adger or along the Watauga River.

Cleanups are paired with after parties at Sierra Nevada Brewing in Mills River and Appalachian Mountain Brewery, where cleanup volunteers will gather to celebrate their hard work and enjoy great beer.

What’s Going On With the NC Farm Bill?

Last night Governor Roy Cooper vetoed SB711, a dangerous bill that would greatly limit the constitutional right of North Carolinians living near industrial hog farms to seek justice in the courts for nuisance and pollution of their air and water. This is when we need your calls more than ever. Will you make a quick call to your state representative now to make sure Governor Cooper’s veto of SB711 stands?


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.