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

Stand Up, Speak Out Against Asphalt Plant Proposed For East Flat Rock!

Stand Up, Speak Out Against Asphalt Plant Proposed For East Flat Rock!

The big takeaway from the Neighborhood Compatibility Meeting was that there is absolutely no way that this project is appropriate for the location and that the rezoning request should be denied. Thank you to the 115 community members that tuned in, to the over 160 community members that submitted questions in advance, and to more than 50 people that asked questions live during the meeting, none of which we believe were sufficiently answered by the developer.

Protect the Waters of Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest

Protect the Waters of Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are the headwaters of seven major river systems, providing drinking water for millions of people in four southeastern states and wildlife habitat for a bewildering array of native species. Unfortunately, the current draft plan is inadequate in a few very important ways when it comes to water quality protections and we need you to speak up. The deadline for public comments is June 29 and this is our last significant chance to have our say. Please submit your comment today!

Celebrate 50 Years of Earth Day with MountainTrue

Celebrate 50 Years of Earth Day with MountainTrue

As social creatures, we need to maintain our connections and find new ways to lean on each other during hard times. As creatures of nature, we need to connect with our forests, our rivers and the plants and animals we share this planet with. Today more than ever, we appreciate how important clean water and healthy forests are to our mountain communities.

Update NC’s Spill Notification System to Keep People and Waterways Safe

Update NC’s Spill Notification System to Keep People and Waterways Safe

The public has the right to know about major pollution spills that impact our waterways as soon as possible, and through the technology the public uses today. Sign the petition below to tell the NC Department of Environmental Quality: Update your spill notification system for modern times to keep North Carolina’s people and waterways safe.

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.


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.