At the core of our mission is to preserve and protect the waters of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin. Our efforts to preserve the quality waters in our basin for future generations takes on many different forms. We know that these waters have experienced damage over the years from misuse, unchecked pollution, development, and human irresponsibility. It is our job to both mitigate the damages of those factors today and work to return our waters and their surrounding lands to their original form wherever possible.

Here are a few ways we preserve the waters of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin:

Litter Gitters

In partnership with Coca-Cola ConsolidatedOsprey Initiative, and area municipalities and land owners we install passive litter collection devices on area creeks and streams called Litter Gitters. These small floating cages are tethered to the shoreline on both sides of a creek and collect trash and debris as it flows down stream. Whenever the Litter Gitter is full, our Catawba Riverkeeper staff and volunteers clean them out, sort the recyclables from the trash, and document what we have collected for submission to the EPA ETAP program.

If you are interested in having a Litter Gitter on a creek or stream near you, contact John Searby – for qualifications and costs.

Tactical Cleaning

Catawba Riverkeeper can deploy teams of highly experienced paddlers and boating experts to get to some of the toughest stretches of water in the basin. These tactical clean-ups are done on an as needed and identified basis. If you are interested in being on our tactical clean up crew and have advanced paddling experience, please contact Greg Nance – for more information.

Source Water Protection Tool

Although the ecological benefits of forests and natural land are widely understood in the scientific community, they have not been fully translated into the language that most often drives planning and land use decisions at the local level including their economic benefit. To bridge this gap between ecosystem services and land use management, the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, has partnered with the Catawba Wateree Initiative, Foothills Land ConservancyCatawba Lands Conservancy and Research Triangle Institute International to create a watershed prioritization tool to identify “hotspots” – drainage areas within the watershed that are the most critical for the conservation and protection of source water in the Catawba –Wateree basin. Learn more here.

Stream and Shoreline Restoration

Catawba Riverkeeper is currently developing a stream and shoreline restoration program. If you have an area of stream or shoreline that needs attention, please contact Claire Atkins-Davis ( for a consultation. We work on restoration projects on an “as funded” basis and can help private landowners, communities, and municipalities find funding sources for projects.


For the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, advocacy means writing, speaking, and acting on behalf of the best interests of the Catawba River and those who depend on and enjoy it. Whether it’s about the laws that effect the river, the use of the river as a resource, or the effect of human development around it, Catawba Riverkeeper advocates to protect the river in the following ways:

  • Holding polluters accountable
  • Comment on proposed legislative/regulatory actions
  • Participating in local development and planning initiatives
  • Participating in new rulemaking
  • Testifying at public hearings
  • Organizing community meetings
  • Meeting with elected officials
  • Reporting illegal activity related to the waterways
  • Recognizing companies and individuals who are examples of responsible environmental behavior
  • Engaging in litigation as a last resort against individuals/entities who willfully harm the environmental integrity of the Catawba-Wateree Basin