Geography

The Catawba-Wateree River begins in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and flows through the Charlotte metropolitan area into Lake Wateree in South Carolina. The name of the river changes to the Wateree River in Lake Wateree and eventually joins with the Congaree River in Lake Marion. The River is 225 miles and flows through 26 counties in North and South Carolina.

Belmont Peninsula

Lakes

The River Basin includes thousands of miles of creeks, streams, and tributaries. The Catawba River has 14 dams and includes 11 lakes.

  • Lake James
  • Lake Rhodhiss
  • Lake Hickory
  • Lookout Shoals
  • Lake Norman
  • Mountain Island Lake
  • Lake Wylie
  • Fishing Creek Lake
  • Great Falls Lake
  • Rocky Creek Lake
  • Lake Wateree

Features

The Catawba-Wateree River Basin is home to the Linville Gorge National Wilderness Area and Congaree National Park. It’s also the location of the world’s largest colony of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies. Hikers enjoy scenic views of Catawba Falls at the river’s headwaters near Old Fort, NC.

Uses

The Catawba-Wateree River is used for drinking water (for more than 2 million people), electricity generation (3.7 million homes), industry, agriculture, and recreation. The River also provides a strong property tax base.

Threats

The single biggest threat to the quality and quantity of the Catawba River is a rapidly growing population. Our watershed is facing increasing pressures from development. This increases pollutants and their mobility while decreasing the water available for dilution through consumption.

Organizational Priorities

  • Stormwater – runoff from changes in land use
  • NPDES – Permitted liquid waste discharges
  • Bacteria – monitoring for fecal contamination
  • CAFOs – unregulated industrial animal waste

Other Initiatives

  • Invasive Species
  • Plastics
  • Harmful Algal Blooms – toxin producing algal blooms
  • Active construction – sedimentation from development
  • Drinking water – under and unregulated toxins
  • Coal ash – plant remediation and offsite fill