Land Planning & Smart Growth

Many of our water quality problems are the result of poor development practices which is made possible by outdated zoning regulations and building codes. The solution to many water quality problems is better planning and smarter growth. This section discusses how to protect water quality while continuing to grow and to have a healthy economy.

Information on Stream and Lake Buffers
Buffer zones around streams, rivers, lakes and other water bodies helps protect water quality.
Getting to Smart Growth by EPA
EPA document on smart growth.
2008 Citistates Report - The Dangers of Not Going Green
This report, sponsored by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, is a followup to a 1995 report on the region. The report concludes that the Catawba could dry-up, farmland could become scarce, and air quality could worsen if the region continues on its current course. The report also concludes that the region must do more to protect its strained natural resources to become a global player.
1995 Citistates Report
Report commissioned by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute on the issues facing the Charlotte region.
2007 UNC Charlotte Urban Institute Regional Indicators Project Report
Report summarizing various regional indicators including of growth, land development and environmental health.
Report of the Effects of Land Use on Water Quality
2001 report of the effects of land use in Mecklenburg County between 1994 and 1998 on water quality (primarily the Catawba basin).
Land Development in North Carolina: Losing Our Natural Heritage
2007 report on the impact of land development practices in North Carolina on the environment.
Low Impact Development Handbook
Handbook of techniques and best management practices for low impact development.
What is Smart Growth?
"Nearly half of what will be the built environment in 2030 doesn't even exist today, giving the current generation a vital opportunity to shape future development." By changing the way we design and build communities, we can substantially reduce the impact of our communities on the water.
Positive Outcome in Crescent's Lake James Rezoning Request
Conservation Coalition (including CRF), working since last September, successfully challenge major zoning changes on Lake James in hopes of preserving the progress made by the 2004 Conservation District Development Plan
Court Rules Against "Garden Parkway"
A Federal Court dealt what is likely the final killer blow to the controversial Garden Parkway, a proposed toll highway project near Charlotte.
Ruling Granting Summary Judgment
On March 13, 2015, Judge James Dever ruled that the North Carolina Department of Transportation (“NCDOT”) and the Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) violated federal law in their environmental review of the 21-mile toll highway. The ruling comes after the legislature has stripped the nearly $1 billion road of its earmarked funding. Construction of the project is now extremely unlikely.
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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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Fish Advisories

fish consumption chart crop

Fish consumption advisories have been issued throughout the Catawba-Wateree River basin.  Many of these advisories are the result of testing initiated by Catawba Riverkeeper and confirmed by state and local officials.  For a chart identifying fish types with the applicable advisories for the Charlotte area, click here.   For more information about the fish advisories, click here.

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