Stormwater is probably the number one source of pollution of the Catawba River. Stormwater runoff includes runoff from industrial sites (which may carry hazardous pollutants), runoff from parking lots and roads (which typically carries oil, grease and other pollutants), lawns, agricultural properties and golf courses (which often has nutrients from fertilizers, pesticides and urbicides), logging activities (which often has large amounts of sediment) and construction projects (discussed above under "Sedimentation"), Both the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff is a problem.

Stormwater Issues
Stormwater and runoff are the primary reason that most urban and suburban streams in the Catawba-Wateree basin fail to meet basic water quality standards. As the region grows, these problems will become more prevalent unless we encourage low-impact development for future growth.
2008 American Rivers Report on Stormwater Solutions
Waterkeeper Alliance Report on Stormwater
Raingarden Design for Homeowners
Rain Gardens
Rain gardens can substantially reduce the impact on the environment from stormwater and building rain gardens is an easy way for homeowners to help minimize their contribution to water pollution.
Rainwater in yard
Rainwater in yard. medium sized 640 × 480 pixel photo of several people standing in rain looking at standing water in residential yard
Creating a Rain Garden
This information was obtained, edited and summarized from the NORTH CAROLINA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION web site.
Plants for Rain Gardens in the Piedmont
Piedmont Rain Garden - Shade
Piedmont Rain Garden - Sun
Plants for Rain Gardens in the Mountains
Mountain Rain Garden - Shade
Mountain Rain Garden - Sun
Rain Garden Native Plant List
List of native plants appropriate for rain gardens.
Plants for Rain Gardens in the Coastal Plain
Rain Garden in front of house
Rain Garden in front of house. Medium sized 780 × 525 pixel wide shot photo of house with rain garden in front yard
Piedmont rain garden
Piedmont rain garden. Medium sized 1024 × 768 pixel photo of rain garden in residential yard
Cross-section of rain garden
Cross-section of rain garden
Rain garden drawing
Rain garden drawing
Artistic Ways to Address Storm Water
Storm water run-off is one of the primary causes of pollution in the Catawba Basin and we need creative solutions to address this problem. The following video highlights artistic and environmentally beneficial solutions to the storm water problem in other cities.
January 2015 Mecklenburg County Stream Use Support Index Map
January 2015 Mecklenburg County Stream Use Support Index Map
Document Actions
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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.

Clean Air / Clean Water Alliance Logo

NC Conservation Network Logo


EarthShare of North Carolina Logo


4-H Clover leaf logo


River Network Logo


SC 4H Science on the Move logo



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