As the summer winds down and we work our way through a wet hurricane season I am enthusiastically optimistic about the direction of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. To say 2020 has been interesting would be the understatement of the year, but this past Thursday we hosted our Annual Meeting virtually with over 200 people in attendance. That level of interest and support from our friends, neighbors, supporters, and allies is so encouraging for our staff and board. As we near the fourth quarter of our organization’s 23rd year, we have a lot to look forward to.
In just 3 weeks, the 17th edition of Riversweep will encompass the entire river basin with 42 sites boasting over 1,000 volunteers committing their morning on Saturday, October 3 to removing trash from our waterways. This outpouring of volunteer support is exciting and we hope you’ll be a part of it!
This month, we welcomed our first two AmeriCorps members in the organization’s history – Morgan Long and Zach Norton. Morgan and Zach are focusing their efforts on education and fish health respectively. Our opportunity to expand our capacity in both of these crucial areas is another important step to executing our mission!
At our annual meeting we announced our Vision 2025 Campaign – a capacity building campaign to raise funds that will allow us to develop an on-the-water headquarters, satellite offices across this vast basin, and expanded educational and engagement opportunities throughout the region. The interest we’ve had from supporters already to help us grow and expand our organization to better serve all residents of the river basin is exciting!
Also at our annual meeting we released our very first State of the River Report. This report takes a comprehensive view of the basin and breaks it down into the 4 key large watersheds that make it up. By evaluating the health and quality of the monitoring, point source pollution, non-point source pollution, water quantity, and recreation access around the various parts of the basin we are able to establish a baseline to measure the ongoing health of the river moving forward. The depth of information and collaboration used to create this report is an exciting step forward.
As we enter our fall season, our energies will turn to budgeting, planning, preparing, and organizing for 2021. To all of you who have supported us this year we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We would not have been able to maintain and advance our important work through these unusual times without your contributions. For those of you who are just learning about Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation or looking to get more involved, we welcome you to this huge family of riverkeepers that believe that drinkable, fishable, and swimmable waters are a necessity for a great quality of life and are willing to work hard to protect our waters. I look forward to working with all of you in the future to ensure our waters are clean and plentiful for generations to come.