The Catawba Riverkeeper is the only non-profit, on-the-water advocate for the entire 8,900 miles of waterways in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin. We provide accurate, science-based information about your water and the issues affecting it. 

Our experienced network includes diverse community members, engaged volunteers, a representative board, and professional staff members whose dedication of time, talent and resources protect and enhance our river today and for future generations. We serve our communities through Protection and Experiences.

OUR RIVER flows through 26 counties in North and South Carolina and provides drinking water for more than 2 million residents and generates electricity for nearly 3 million residents. It has been aptly named “The Hardest Working River in America!”


Riverkeeper Brandon Jones

The Catawba Riverkeeper serves the public by acting as the voice of the river and the residents who care about her. It is our goal to protect your waters without compromise. To protect these waters, it takes a combination of our professional staff of scientists, advocates, and enthusiasts working hard in the field and YOU joining in the efforts as well.  

Our efforts include patrolling the waterways in the basin and reporting violations of local, state, and federal water quality regulations, conducting water and sediment sampling to test for contaminants and reporting those to the public through programs like Swim Guide. We also meet with elected officials and government staff to educate them on the challenges the river faces and working with them to develop further safeguards for our waterways. By recognizing companies and individuals who exemplify responsible environmental behavior, monitoring and commenting on proposed public actions or rules that impact our waterways, and responding to the reports and needs of citizens related to water quality or risks to the waterways we strive to engage with our communities to create the change we seek.

We work to preserve our waterways through programs that mitigate plastics and other litter, conducting major tactical clean-ups on hard to reach areas, and stream and shoreline restoration projects with for profit and non-profit partners. We call on residents like you to join us in protecting our waters through local and basin wide clean-upscommunity science programs such as Water Watcher, and letter writing and public comment opportunities to speak on behalf of our waters.

We pride ourselves on being an impartial, trusted source for information about the health of the river and quality of its waters. When necessary, we will litigate against individuals and entities that take actions to harm the Catawba-Wateree Rivers. Protection and preservation of the Catawba-Wateree Rivers are our highest calling as an organization and we encourage our members and all 3 million residents of our river basin to join in this work.


We know that when people experience the water personally, they care more deeply about protecting it. Everything we do with our experiences is designed to teach the residents of our basin how they can better preserve and protect their water and to give them an opportunity to enjoy their waters first hand. Whether folks are learning with us or playing with us, we hope they will walk away with a passion for the waters of the Catawba River.

We offer opportunities for kids and adults alike to LEARN with us. From Spring Break and Summer Camps to field trips and Riverkeeper half day programs, we have tons of ways for kids to spend time with certified environmental educators to learn all about the plant and animal life of the river basin, hydrology, ecology, and conservation. Our education doesn’t stop with kids, either. Our monthly Riverkeeper Learning Series explores a new topic each month related to water and our Water Watcher Trainings and Rain Barrel Workshops give adults the first-hand knowledge they need to PRESERVE and PROTECT the river!

If you are looking to PLAY with Catawba Riverkeeper, we offer a variety of ways for you, your family, and friends to experience the water up close and personal under the brand Blue Heron Adventures. We offer kayak rentals and guided tours at three locations during the warm weather months (April – Sept) – Belmont, NC; McAdenville, NC; and The Boathouse at McAdenville. Each location offers a different experience on the water from flatwater kayaking on a lake to gently flowing moving water to class 1 and 2 rapids – all less than 30 minutes from Charlotte. We also offer guided trips to unique spots around the basin in our Thursday Night Paddle Series (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and our Eco-Tours that feature both on the water and near the water trail experiences. And if you’re really ambitious or looking to explore further, we can customize outfitting trips for groups of any size. Learn more and book an experience!

We are a membership supported organization. We welcome donations of any kind, but members who are looking for a deeper engagement can join us and receive discounts on special programs and events throughout the year, an opportunity to vote on organizational leaders and serve on our board of directors, and gain access to members only events and announcements. If you want to contribute to preserving and protecting YOUR water for generations to come, we invite you to join us today and BE A RIVERKEEPER!

Contact Us


PO Box 11838
Charlotte, NC 28220