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Charlotte Talks: 'State Of The River' With Catawba Riverkeeper

Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Our region’s source of life: the Catawba River. It’s been on the endangered rivers list three times but not in the past four years and we get an update on the river’s health.

The Catawba-Wateree River Basin supplies nearly two million people with drinking water, produces renewable power, and is a source of recreation for residents in both Carolinas. But this vital natural resource is under near constant threat from things like development, pollution, erosion and runoff.

The Catawba has appeared on an annual listof the country's most endangered rivers three times in the past - most recently in 2013 due to coal ash, which has remained a hot button issue. While two of North Carolina's rivers - the Neuse and the Cape Fear river basins - made the list this year, the Catawba has remained off of it for the fourth year in a row.

Credit Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
Aerial shot of Lake Hickory and Oxford Dam. The Catawba River forms eleven major lakes in the basin.

That may be due in part to the work of the Catawba Riverkeeper. Keeping the river healthy is a full time job, and for 20 years now, the Riverkeeper Foundation has worked to protect and advocate for the river. And they're looking for a little help - they have introduced a new smartphone app to enlist the public in reporting trash, pollution, lake levels and more along the waterways of the Catawba.

Mike Collins checks in with our local Riverkeeper Sam Perkins for a 'state of the river.' And since Duke Energy controls the Catawba for electricity generation, they also have a stake in the health of the river, so we'll talk with them about some of their efforts as well.


Sam Perkins - Catawba Riverkeeper at the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

Rick Rhodes - Director of Communications for Regulated Generation, Duke Energy

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.