High Country Office
The High Country Office is located in Boone, serving communities in the Elk and Watauga River basin.
High Country News
Next up in our review of this year’s Swim Guide data: the Watauga River Watershed. Find out which water quality testing sites had the highest and lowest bacteria counts across the watershed, and see what MountainTrue is doing to protect the places we share by holding polluters accountable.
Check out what the team at MountainTrue has been up to. In this edition, we have a deep-dive analysis on the NC Energy Bill that was signed by Governor Cooper last week, updates on pollution coming from The Cottages of Boone and our work to save ash trees from the emerald ash borer, and volunteer opportunities to help eradicate invasive plants in both the Western Region and in the High Country. To our volunteers, members and supporters, thank you for everything that you do to protect the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains.
We are excited to be gathering in person this year to connect with you, our members, to celebrate our award winners and see each others’ smiling faces!
In light of the current rate of COVID infections and the situation in hospitals across our region, we have chosen to host multiple, smaller, outdoor events in place of one large gathering. We are also requiring that all attendees be fully vaccinated in order to participate. If you are not vaccinated, you will have an opportunity to vote for new and returning board members online.
In our July E-News we celebrate our Bio-Blitz winners, welcome Sarah Ogletree as the new director of the Creation Care Alliance, expose the impacts of clear-cutting at Bottomley Farms, and more.
After two weeks of hard-nosed competition, Jackson County has won the 2021 Bioblitz over Watauga and Transylvania Counties. Overall, 46 people contributed 2,947 observations and 317 people helped with the identification of 1,228 species. While Jackson County had 1,403 observations to Watauga County’s 1,068, the competition for the most species was much tighter – Jackson county prevailed 738 to 681. Transylvania County came in a distant third with 472 observations and 279 species.
In a huge win for local aquatic wildlife, the Ward Mill Dam just a few miles from Boone, North Carolina has finally been removed. The first dam was constructed at the location in 1890 and improved upon over the years. The mill complex served the community for generations providing electricity, jobs, firewood and building materials. The dam had been an obstacle for local aquatic wildlife for the past 130 years. Now, native fish such as the tangerine darter and threatened salamanders like the hellbender will be reunited and benefit from a reconnected and improved cold-water aquatic habitat.