Upper Catawba

Information about issues in the Upper Catawba River Basin, including Johns River, Wilson Creek, and Linville River.

Globe Valley
The Globe Valley is a particularly scenic and almost pristine valley located between Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain. The valley contains the headwaters of the Johns River.
Wastewater Treatment Plants
Wastewater treatment plants in the upper basin are facing development pressures to keep up with the rising demand for wastewater treatment. Currently, wastewater treatment plants provide an approved method for treating raw sewage coming from industrial and residential projects. However, rising demands for more development in these areas put a strain on the amount of wastewater a particular plant can handle on a daily basis.
Nutrients from Nursery Operations
Local nursery operations also create very important issues concerning the upper Catawba basin. Nurseries throughout the basin contribute to eutrophication by using fertilizers containing phosphates. Runoff water from local nurseries has created many environmental issues, especially with sediment and other nutrients filling into nearby streams.
Steep Slope Development in the Upper Catawba
There are many areas in the upper Catawba Basin that are being faced with increased development pressure. Many of these potential development areas are along steep slopes located in the headwaters of the drainage basin. Continued development in these areas will greatly increase the amount of runoff water and sediment entering the drainage basin. If steep slope development is left unregulated it can negatively impact the riverbed over time.
Steep Slopes Asheville NC
Photo of steep slopes in Asheville NC.
Corpening Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
Photo of the Corpening Creek wastewater treatment plant.
Nursery greenhouse in North Carolina.
Hunting Creek - Morganton Area
In many ways, Hunting Creek is an example of the issues threatening the upper Catawba Basin. The creek begins in rural areas with steep slopes and passes through suburban and urban development in Morganton. The creek is impaired as a result of a variety of contributing factors including stormwater runoff, and excess nutrients. The Hunting Creek Partnership was created to address the problems.
The Story of the Hunting Creek Watershed
Powerpoint presentation on issues facing Hunting Creek and proposed solutions.
Lower Creek
Lower Creek runs from near Lenoir to Lake Rhodhiss. The stream is impaired due to sewage, runoff, and a variety of other problems. The Lower Creek Advisory Committee, of which Catawba Riverkeeper is a member, is working to address the problems and restore the stream.
Presentation to Lower Creek Advisory Team
Powerpoint presenation containing information about Lower Creek
Map of Lower Creek
Map of Lower Creek with impaired segments in red.
Forest Service Announces Meeting Dates on New Forest Management Plan
The USFS has set the meeting times and places (also listed below) for the start of their plan to revise the management plans for the Pisgah and Nantahala Forests in North Carolina. It is important that conservationists provide input into the revision of these management plans because the next 15 years of US Forest Service activities will be guided by the contents of the Plan. We need to be sure that water and other ecological considerations are given full consideration with other values as the Plan is developed.
Catawba Riverkeeper Collects Fish Tissue for First Ever PCB Analysis on Lake James
In collaborative effort with NC DENR, channel catfish from each arm of lake collected for complete PCB analysis
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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