About the Upper Catawba River Basin
The upper Catawba basin refers to the portions of the Catawba River and its tributaries above Lake Norman including four major lakes (James, Rhodhiss, Hickory and Lookout Shoals). The upper basin extends to the source of the Catawba River near Old Fort, to the headwaters of the Linville River and Wilson Creek on Grandfather Mountain, to those of the Johns River near Blowing Rock, and includes the cities of Hickory, Lenoir, Linville, Marion and Morganton.
The upper Catawba River basin faces many challenges including steep slope development, logging activities, plant nurseries, the highest density of septic tank systems in North Carolina, and agricultural run-off. The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation recently hired an advocate to assist the Catawba Riverkeeper in focusing on the issues in the upper Catawba basin, including the headwaters of the Catawba River.
Millions of visitors each year seek out the natural splendor of the upper Catawba River basin, including Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blowing Rock, and sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. The Linville River, one of only four state-designated Natural and Scenic Rivers in North Carolina, flows over spectacular Linville Falls and through the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. Wilson Creek is one of only four National Wild and Scenic Rivers in North Carolina and a favorite destination for hikers, anglers and whitewater enthusiasts.
Tourism and development are critical to the upper Catawba basin economy, yet they place extraordinary pressure on water resources. The upper Catawba basin faces many of the same environmental challenges as the lower Catawba basin, including sedimentation and stormwater runoff from residential and commercial development. Other impacts to the upper Catawba basin may be more acute than in the lower basin, including mining, logging, and ornamental shrub and tree nurseries.
Maps of the Upper Catawba River Basin
To view maps and satellite photos of the Catawba-Wateree basin, click on one of the following links:
Information about specific areas in the upper basin
Information about issues in the upper basin
- For more information about the Upper Catawba Basin program, click here.
- For more information about how to help support the Upper Catawba Basin program, please contact either Rick Gaskins (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Terra Patterson (email@example.com).
- For more information about the Lakes in the upper Catawba River basin, click here.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP PROTECT THE CATAWBA RIVER AND WATEREE RIVER, CLICK HERE.