We educate and advocate to protect the Catawba-Wateree River Basin's lakes, rivers and streams for everyone who depends on and enjoys them.

Silhouetted Tree at River Walk 2 (Morganton) by Raymond Grubb

The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation ("CRF") was formed in 1997. It is an award winning 501(c)(3) non-profit operating in the 24 counties of the Catawba-Wateree River watershed in North and South Carolina. The Catawba Riverkeeper Program is the only environmental organization to receive three Best of Charlotte Awards for “Best Effort to Improve the Environment” in 1999, 2000 and 2004. Other awards include the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission’s Blue Fin Award for 2003 and 2011, the Lake James Task Force Award for Outstanding and Distinguished Service in 2004, and the 2005 J. H. “Mac” McSwain Community Service Award for exemplary community service to the Lake Wateree Community.  More recently, Catawba Riverkeeper received the Charlotte Community Sustainability Award for Water in 2012 and 2013. Also in 2013, CRF's Executive Director received the James S. Dockery Award for Environmental Leadership in the South from the Southern Environmental Law Center and CRF was named as one of "seven non-profits worth your money" by Charlotte Magazine.  A more complete list of awards can be viewed at http://www.catawbariverkeeper.org/aboutus/awards

CRF seeks to maintain its independence by remaining a member supported non-profit organization with administrative headquarters in Charlotte, NC. CRF is not a government agency.  We train and lead six locally based Covekeeper Programs on Lake James, Lake Hickory, Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, Lake Wylie and Lake Wateree. Our Lake Norman Covekeepers manage an Island Keeper Program that has removed trash from Lake Norman's 42 islands since 2002.  We also have trained volunteers through our Covewatcher, Streamwatcher, Waterwatcher and Muddy Water Watch programs.  In addition, we operate a youth kayaking program and lead periodic family paddling trips.  We are licensed by the Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. 

More information about CRF: 

Waterkeeper Alliance

The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a member of Waterkeeper Allicance.  Waterkeeper Alliance is a global environmental organization uniting more than 200 Waterkeeper organizations around the world. It focuses its citizen advocacy on the issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeepers patrol more than one million square miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.

The History of the Waterkeeper Movement

What do Waterkeepers Do? 

Waterkeeper Alliance "Join Us" from W2 Films on Vimeo.


Contact Information:


421 Minuet Lane, Suite 205

Charlotte, NC  28217- 2784

Phone:  704.679.9494 

Fax:  704.679.9559

Toll Free:  888-679-9494 


Hill Island Bluff Just Before Dawn (Great Falls) by Nancy Pierce


I realized the RIVERKEEPER® was really about the right of any child to cast a line in the river and catch a fish for the family table. Of all the complex issues we would endeavor to solve...none would prove a greater challenge than that small, simple dream.  -- John Cronin, founder, Hudson RIVERKEEPER®



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Help in other ways

Oct 07, 2015 Riverkeepers Release "Sludge In Our Waters" Report, Map
Details and maps the issue of land application of sewage sludge in North Carolina
NC DEQ (formerly DENR) reduces proposed fine 98%, seeks to stop enforcement at all 14 coal ash sites statewide
Sep 21, 2015 Wateree Volunteers Remove 3,400 Pounds of Trash
Forty-five volunteers turn out to two sites for second annual Wateree Riversweep
Sep 01, 2015 Troubled Waters: Protecting Charlotte's Most Endangered Resource
We recently had a chat with Emilee Syrewicze, the new Executive Director of the Catawba Riverkeeper. She filled us in on the state of the basin, how we can help improve it, and her favorite places to paddle along its shores.
Aug 26, 2015 Neighborhood Fighting Big-Box Development
Franklin Woods, Gardner Woods, Garner Park and Sedgefiled neighborhoods near Duhart's Creek on Lake Wylie are coming together to fight the most recent (of many) attempts to build a big-box store in an environmentally sensitive location.
More news…
Report Pollution in the Catawba River

Help protect your River! 

Tell your Riverkeeper if you see:

  • Sewage Overflows
  • Failure to control sediment from construction sites
  • Illegal clearing of buffer areas
  • Fish kills 
  • Unpermitted discharges
  • Other issues that concern you

Click here to fill out a pollution report or to report water pollution to Catawba Riverkeeper by phone, call 1-888-679-9494 or 704-679-9494.  In addition, to informing your Riverkeeper, you should also report spills or contamination to federal, state and local environmental officials.

To report South Carolina water pollution call 1-888-481-0125.

To report North Carolina spills or fish kills, call your local regional Department of Environment & Natural Resources office during normal business hours (704-663-1699 for most Catawba basin areas or (828) 296-4500 for Burke, Caldwell, McDowell and other mountain counties) or 800-858-0368 after hours.  (For more information on NC spill reporting, click here)


The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare North Carolina, the North Carolina Conservation Network, River Network and the Waterkeeper Alliance.  It also in in an alliance with Clean Air Carolina to address issues, such as sprawl, that cause air and water problems.

Clean Air / Clean Water Alliance Logo

NC Conservation Network Logo


EarthShare of North Carolina Logo


River Network Logo



421 Minuet Ln Ste 205 . Charlotte, NC 28217-2784 . Phone: 704.679.9494 . Fax: 704.679.9559