Green Riverkeeper

The Green Riverkeeper is the key protector and watchdog of the Green River Basin in Western North Carolina. MountainTrue’s Green Riverkeeper fights for safe and healthy waterways for all citizens of the Green River watershed by bringing together and empowering local residents and communities to identify pollution sources, advocate for and enforce environmental laws, and engage in restoration. 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

Support Local, Sustainable, Farmers From Your Watershed This Holiday Season!

Support Local, Sustainable, Farmers From Your Watershed This Holiday Season!

A large portion of farmers in North Carolina produce meat, but the way farmers raise their animals makes a huge difference for our waterways. Waterkeepers across North Carolina have compiled a list of farms in their watersheds that feed us without threatening our rivers, lakes, and streams – farmers who deserve our thanks and our business. Check out the list in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas here. 

Riverkeepers Respond to Duke’s Coal Ash Dishonesty

Riverkeepers Respond to Duke’s Coal Ash Dishonesty

Over the weekend, Duke Energy Spokesperson Danielle Peoples responded to MountainTrue’s paddle protest on the Broad River with multiple untrue statements about the dangers of coal ash and the extent of Duke’s pollution at their power plant in Cliffside, NC [“Battle over coal ash continues in Cliffside” (11/5/17)]. In a Letter-to-the-Editor for the Shelby Star, Western North Carolina’s Riverkeepers stand up for the truth on coal ash and our rivers and set the record straight.

Turnout for 30th Annual Big Sweep Nearly Quadruples, Volunteers Clean Up 50 miles in WNC

Turnout for 30th Annual Big Sweep Nearly Quadruples, Volunteers Clean Up 50 miles in WNC

On September 9, more than 253 people from all walks of life turned out to remove more than 7,810 pounds of trash — 3.9 tons! — from Western North Carolina’s waterways as part of our 30th annual NC Big Sweep. Through a series of river and roadside cleanups in Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, and Watauga counties, Mountaintrue joined key partners Asheville Greenworks, the Waterkeeper Alliance and AmeriCorps Project Conserve to clean 50 miles of rivers and streams.

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.


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.