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
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.
MountainTrue and several other community groups in North Carolina are intervening in Duke Energy’s appeal of the order requiring the company to clean up its toxic coal ash pollution.
Boone’s town government is taking leadership to modernize how Boone manages its stormwater – making Boone more prepared and adaptable for flooding in the future. Will you thank the town government here?
Thankfully, members like you spoke up to make sure the Spruce Pine community gets a public hearing to have a voice in the future of the North Toe before six new wastewater permits are approved. The hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, May 2. Now is the time to spread the word and make sure there’s a big public turnout for the hearing!
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.
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.