Lake Hickory Covekeepers

Welcome to our webpage. Please join us at our monthly meeting, which is held the 3rd Monday of each month at 7:00 pm at Mauney Hall at Lenoir-Rhyne College on 7th Avenue NE.

Please check our calendar of events to confirm the time and location of the monthly Covekeeper meeting.

Our first group of Lake Hickory Covekeepers

Lake Hickory Covekeeper Graduation

The Lake Hickory Covekeepers are a diverse group of volunteers who care about the water quality of their watershed.  The covekeepers are responsible for patrolling the Catawba River, educating the public, and creating a network to increase protection efforts.

For more information about Lake Hickory click here.

Issues concerning the upper basin

-Wastewater Treatment Plants-

Rising demands from increased development make treating wasterwater extremely difficult.  If sewage treatment plants are not monitored and updated with new technology, rising demands can cause plants to have system overloads, mechanical breakdowns, or improper operation.  This can result in raw sewage overflow into the receiving water body.  In order to meet rising demands, upgrades to out-of-date wastewater treatment plants throughout the upper basin are necessary to maintain and improve water quality.  For more information about wastewater treatment plants click here.

-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.  For more information about local nursery operations click here.

-Steep Slope Development-

Many potential development areas are along steep slopes located in the headwaters of the upper Catawba 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.  For more information about steep slope development click here.


-Big Sweep on Lake Hickory -

2011 Lake Hickory Big Sweep participantsEach year, the Hickory Covekeepers participate in Big Sweep on the first Saturday in October. 

On Saturday, October 6, 2012, volunteers worked from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM removing trash from the Lake Hickory shoreline near the US 321 Bridge.  Betsy Dalton, with her pontoon boat, and Bill Kopp, who lifted the bags  from the canoes onto the boat,  hauled the trash to the dock.  John Martin and Joe Corn then carried the bags to dumpsters.  Volunteers collecting trash from the shoreline included Hugh McCammon, Diane Arbour, Sue and Steve Anderson, Paul Magnuson, Don Bowen, and Caroline Martin, who coordinated the event.  Paul found a large plastic inflatable duck, and placed it on Caroline's car for a hood ornament!  One and one-half dumpsters were filled with bottles, cans, bait containers, pieces of styrofoam, broken chairs, and so may other items that make the shoreline unattractive and unsafe for the wildlife.  We appreciated the City of Hickory's use of the dock  and the provision of dumpsters.  Lake Hickory Marina contributed the use their covered seating area, where the Martins treated the volunteers to a well-deserved picnic lunch.

In 2011, the Covekeepers and other volunteers braved difficult conditions to shuttle trash in canoes from the shore to a waiting pontoon boat.  The pictures only begin to tell the difficulty of collecting the trash from this site. For more information about the 2011 cleanup, click here.

In 2010  A group of twelve volunteers consisting of Lake Hickory Covekeepers and Catawba Valley Outing Club members focused their clean-up effort in the area surrounding the US 321 bridge. More than two dumpsters full of trash were removed from this area by this group alone.  Most of the waste consisted of beer bottles, food wrappers, and plastic and styrofoam bait containers. 

The group would like to encourage the public to keep Lake Hickory beautiful by removing their own trash all year long.

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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