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Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and the Catawba River

Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and the Catawba River

The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a non-profit citizens group formed and committed to protecting one of North and South Carolina's most precious resources, the Catawba-Wateree River Basin.

 Spider Lillies 2

"We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one." - Jacques Cousteau

 These words by scientist, explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau describe the connection between water and life, one that is mirrored in the relationship of the resource of water and those who depend on it. They also remind us how easy it is to lose sight of important threads that bond our lives to the world we live in. If we have learned nothing else during our last one hundred years of exploiting natural resources it is how careless mankind can be as we take what we need from the earth. If we're to ensure there's enough water for our children and our children's children in the future we must plan and work together now to make sure our water resource will last into the next century and beyond. 

MIL Sediment sample prep


The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation advocates for the Catawba-Wateree River Basin because this is where we live, work and play. To do that we need safe, clean water. Right now over eighty percent of the people who live in the Catawba basin get their water from the Catawba River and its lakes. The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation acts as a guardian for the three hundred miles of the Catawba-Wateree River basin against the forces, the people, the development, the circumstances that threaten a resource we in North and South Carolina depend on everyday.



The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation exists as part of a larger network of non-profits within the Waterkeeper® Alliance organization. Spread throughout the world, these 200-plus groups provide a shield of advocacy for a resource that cannot protect itself against human or natural forces. Forces that could eventually shape a world without enough of the clean, safe water we need to survive.

Lake Hickory Covekeeper Graduation

 Members of the Foundation are volunteers donating their time, money and effort to support the small, overworked paid Catawba Riverkeeper staff. They are factory workers, doctors, truck drivers, teachers or retirees. They are people like you and your neighbors who know that something worth having is something worth protecting. That something essential like water must be protected and advocated for whenever and wherever it is threatened. Like most things guardianship takes money, because money affords action, encourages progress. As a non-profit the CRF is completely dependent on grants, donations and member contributions to fund a budget that supports water testing of our river, research of pollution in our lakes, investigation of sewage overflows into our streams or legal action to protect our watershed. We also organize lake and river clean-ups, citizen education programs, youth kayak activities and public hearing testimony. No single government office financially supports the CRF, it is an independently operating citizens group. However, the Foundation does support government agencies in their environmental oversight responsibilities by acting as eyes and ears at large in the battle against water pollution and preservation of the watershed.

This is the role the CRF and its members have chosen and the Catawba-Wateree River Basin is where we live our philosophy of Protection, Education and Advocacy.


"Thousands have lived without love, not one without water." - 20th Century American poet W.H. Auden



The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation educates and advocates to protect the Catawba-Wateree River Basin's lakes, rivers and streams for everyone who depends on and enjoys them.



 Go to the Catawba Riverkeeper Home Page by clicking here



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Jan 25, 2017 NC Riverkeeper Report
From the perspectives of 12 NC Riverkeepers, this report discusses how multiple environmental issues pose challenges in the pursuit of clean, plentiful water. Whether you are in North Carolina or downstream in South Carolina, read this report about the state of environmental enforcement.
Dec 13, 2016 Community Foundation of Gaston County grants $5,000 to CRF for Riverkeeper Program
The Community Foundation will fund Catawba Riverkeeper's work in Gaston County.
Dec 12, 2016 A Successful Launch of our Water Education Program at Great Falls Elementary
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in partnership with 4-H Clemson Cooperative Extension successfully completed our pilot Education Outreach Program with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from Great Falls Elementary.
Sep 27, 2016 Lake Wateree Fall Cleanup a Sweeping Success
86 volunteers collected 5,490 pounds of trash from Lake Wateree
Jun 13, 2016 Dozens of Youth Reached in Water Education Outreach Program Pilot Lessons
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.

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715 N. Church St., Suite 120 . Charlotte, NC 28202 . Phone: 704.679.9494 . Fax: 704.679.9559