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.
Andy is MountainTrue’s Watauga Riverkeeper, protecting and advocating for the Watauga River Basin. Andy has a passion for clean, cold, fishable, drinkable, swimmable water. As a long time fly fisherman, educator and guide, Andy is intimately familiar with our watershed from headwaters to the tailwater and is passionate about protecting the places we love.
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
MountainTrue’s Clean Water Team works hard to monitor and improve the quality of water in the region, but the so-called “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” would create a huge challenge for our daily work. Will you call on your Representatives to say no to this rule?
We have compiled a map of farms in our region that feed us while using practices that support healthy rivers, lakes and streams. Check out the map to find sustainable farms in your local watershed, and sign the pledge to support sustainable farms here.
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!
On April 28, MountainTrue’s Western Regional Director Callie Moore hosted a live webinar to explore water quality issues in the draft management plan for Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. From protecting our cleanest streams to the effects of delayed road maintenance on our waters, here’s a quick rundown of some of the topics Callie covered.
MountainTrue will kick off our series of topic-specific info session on the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest Management Plan on Tuesday, April 28 with a deep dive into water quality issues in the draft plan.
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 Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.