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  In order to meet rising demands, upgrades to out-of-date wastewater treatment plants throughout the upper basin are necessary to maintain and improve water quality.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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Help in other ways

Sep 05, 2014 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
Sep 04, 2014 On-Line Classes Available
If you have ever wanted to learn more about the ability of ordinary citizens to stop pollution using the Clean Water Act, but haven't had time to attend one of our Covekeeper or Water Watch classes, now you is your chance to do on-line learning from the comfort of your home.
Aug 08, 2014 Lake Wylie Alligator of 2014
Many alligators have been seen on the Catawba River over the years, but they generally are either caught or unable to survive the winter.
Aug 01, 2014 SCE&G Removes Almost 500,000 Tons of Coal Ash from Banks of Catawba-Wateree River
Catawba Riverkeeper settled its lawsuit in August 2012
Jun 23, 2014 WCNC Takes a Deeper Look at Coal Ash Waste
NBC Charlotte I-Team Investigator, Stuart Watson, takes a deeper look into the coal ash controversy. Click on the play button on the video player below to watch this special edition of FlashPOINT (23 minutes).
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.  

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421 Minuet Ln Ste 205 . Charlotte, NC 28217-2784 . Phone: 704.679.9494 . Fax: 704.679.9559