Catawba Riverkeeper recently published the “Northern Catawba Basin Protection and Restoration Plan,” which identifies potential projects that would improve water quality across the mountains and foothills portions of the basin in North Carolina.

The plan, created by Northern Basin Watershed Manager Grant Buckner, focuses on waterways in the northern portion of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin – from the headwaters above Old Fort, NC to the dam that creates Lookout Shoals Reservoir above Lake Norman. The Northern Basin includes 2,673 miles of streams in 6 counties (Alexander, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, and McDowell). Lake James, Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Hickory, and Lookout Shoals are all part of the Northern Basin.

With funding from the NC Land and Water Fund, and with input from numerous stakeholder groups, Grant identified 27 projects that would improve water quality. Projects range from restoration, trash abatement, streambank replanting, shoreline stabilization, dam removal, livestock exclusion and unique pilot programs.

Unlike other watershed plans, Catawba Riverkeeper’s plan is a living document presented as an interactive story map. Users can explore different regions, waterbodies, and projects. Explore the plan below or click here.

The Protection and Restoration Plan can be updated to include new projects that have yet to be identified. To suggest ideas, contact

Catawba Riverkeeper does not own the identified projects nor have exclusivity to complete them. Any group, organization, or municipality is invited to execute proposed projects. While Catawba Riverkeeper expects to lead on many of these projects, we are also happy to support efforts led by other entities.

Request a presentation!

Grant Buckner will be presenting the plan to municipalities, educational institutions, civic organizations, and elected officials over the next year. Interested parties may request presentations here.


Catawba Riverkeeper would like to publicly thank the following partners for their involvement with this plan: NC Land and Water Fund, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Lake James Environmental Association, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, A Clean Wilson Creek, Friends of the Valdese Rec, Duke Energy, the Catawba Wateree Water Management Group, and Waterkeeper Alliance.

Interview Requests
Email or call 704-679-9494 ext. 110 to schedule an interview.