Though Catawba River is prominent in the nonprofit’s name, Catawba Riverkeeper advocates for all waters of the Catawba River Basin

Because of their involvement with our waterways and our work of making connections along the river and creeks, we meet from time to time to keep each other updated on projects. During a recent outdoor meeting at Valdese Lakeside Park (a trailhead for Burke River Trail), Ryan Carter, Policy Manager and Grant Buckner, Northern Basin Director for Catawba Riverkeeper, reviewed area conservation efforts for water, land and wildlife with Rep Blackwell and Burke River Trail Executive Director, Beth Heile.

The discussion started with the much needed and appreciated state funds coming to Valdese for restoration work on Hoyle Creek (thanks to Representative Blackwell), other legislation that would protect the headwaters of our river, and future legislative opportunities. Since the Catawba River flows into South Carolina (there as Wateree River), Carter works with legislators in both North and South Carolina. Ryan shared new ideas being proposed in that state regarding widened vegetative buffers along perennial waterways, ingenious legislation for tax credits to increase public trails, and harsher penalties for illegal tire dumping.

Grant Buckner, Watershed Manager- Northern Basin shared specifics of how creek restoration is the perfect time to add a hiking trail. Buckner has been involved with surveying Canoe, Hunting, McGalliard and Hoyle Creeks for erosion damage. Restoring creeks involves widening the creek with a gentle slope out. As that work is being done with heavy equipment and level areas created on each side, if trails are being planned this is a logical time for them to be constructed.

The two organizations are also looking at the health of the Henry Fork. This terminus of the Burke River Trail at Henry River Mill Village will provide hikers access to that river. They may want to just take in the view or put in a kayak for a paddle.

The partnership between these two nonprofits is an example of outdoor recreation and conservation blending for the good of everyone.