Covekeeper Programs

The Covekeepers, Covewatchers, Waterwatchers, Streamwatchers, and Muddy Water Watchers are the eyes and hands of the Catawba Riverkeeper. It would not be possible to patrol the entire basin and respond to all of the issues and investigate possible violations of the environmental laws without these dedicated volunteers.

canoe on dock at sunsetThe goals of the CRF Covekeeper program are to (1) involve citizens in patrolling the Catawba River; (2) educate and involve residents in protection efforts; and (3) to create a network of active CRF ambassadors. This is accomplished through CRF's Covekeeper, Covewatch, Waterwatch, Streamwatch and Muddy Water Watch programs.  What we have discovered is that these programs have a ripple effect that, once begun, builds from its own positive momentum. Many of our volunteers when they begin our intensive training session expect, as do most Americans, that our waters are clean and that governmental action will deter polluters. At the end of our year-long program, they have the scientific knowledge to identify pollution events and they have the political and legal wisdom to put their work into a larger context.

We provide the tools our volunteers need to effectively advocate for river preservation in their communities, local public hearings, stakeholder committee meetings and regional wastewater management planning meetings. We are very proud of this program and believe it is one of the most effective ways that we are working to build grass-roots environmental activists that have a commitment to the river.  Our volunteers have created "Covekeeper" groups that meet monthly for Lake Hickory, Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, Lake Wylie and Lake Wateree.

There are more than 200 active Covekeeper, Covewatch, Waterwatch, Streamwatch and Muddy Water Watch volunteers. Covekeepers make a minimum commitment of ten hours per month patrolling, attending meetings and solving pollution problems to protect the Catawba River by patrolling more than one thousand hours each month!  The other types of volunteers have gone through slightly less training and made smaller time commitments.  The master plan calls for the Catawba Riverkeeper® to spend one year organizing, training and outfitting a Covekeeper Group on each of the 11 impoundments of the Catawba River. This covers 225 miles and 14 counties in both Carolinas.

Please come and visit one of our Covekeeper meetings.  The meetings are intended to be an opportunity for all of our volunteers (including Covekeepers, Covewatchers, Waterwatchers, Streamwatchers, and Muddy Water Watchers) to talk to each other and Catawba Riverkeeper staff about current issues and the public is always welcome. Click on the Lake communities below to find out more information on the Covekeeper programs on each lake..

Covekeeper Meeting Schedule (all meetings will be at 7pm):

Lake Norman - 4th Thursday of each month at the East Lincoln Fire Department on South Pilot Knob Road off Hwy. 16. This location is just south of Hwy. 73 and Hwy. 16 intersection.

Lake Wateree - 2nd Thursday of each month at the Dutchman Creek Fire Department. Click here for a map to the meeting place.

Lake Wylie - 2nd Wednesday of each month at River Hills Marina (54 Marina Rd, Clover, SC 29710).

Mountain Island Lake - Usually the 2nd Monday of each month at Cook's Presbyterian Church, just west of the intersection of Hwy 16 (Brookshire Blvd.) and Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road. Click here for a map to the meeting place. Click the link below to our webpage for more information and the date of our next meeting.

Upper Catawba Basin - 3rd Monday of each month at 320 Mauney Hall at Lenoir-Rhyne University

Please check the calendar section of the website to confirm the time and location of the covekeeper meetings.  For more information about the Covekeeper programs please contact Lauren Kim at  You can view information about each of the covekeeper programs by clicking on the following links:





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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