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Introducing the New River Conservancy

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Jun. 12 | Modified: Jun. 12
Introducing the New River Conservancy

The New River Conservancy will continue its efforts to protect and raise environmental awareness concerning the High Country’s most well-known waterway.

Photo submitted

“It’s been a long time coming.”

That is how executive director George Santucci described the renaming of the National Committee of the New River, a locally founded nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the watershed and advocating for environmental change.

After receiving direction from its board of directors in November 2013, the organization solicited citizen input on what the new name for the nationally recognized agency should be.

“We received a lot of feedback from many people about how we should change our name, because it’s challenging to say and understand,” Santucci said.

After much consideration and marketing research, the organization settled on its new namesake: New River Conservancy.

“This was a massive effort to come up with a new logo, website and (refocus) our social media,” Santucci said.

NRC enlisted the services of two separate public relations and marketing firms in researching a suitable name.

“We have some incredible supporters who are excited about this initiative,” Santucci said. “They thought the new look and logo were exactly what we needed.”

In addition to a new name and look, the NRC is also retooling how it networks with regional resources for the sake of protecting the New River.

“The big change we are focusing on is more science-based research, and that is guiding a lot of the work we do,” Santucci said.

As a result, the NRC has created the New River Consortium — a coalition of research institutions, such as Radford, Virginia Tech and Appalachian State universities, in the watershed to focus on researching the waterway.

“This harnesses a lot more power and scientific knowledge around the issues,” Santucci said. “It’s almost like having 50 researchers without having to hire them.”

The consortium will allow the NRC, grad students and professors a network to share research and other scientific information pertaining to the river, Santucci said.

“I can see how, in a year or two, this will generate some great information,” he said.

About the NRC

National Committee for the New River was formed in the early 1970s to protect the New River from a proposed hydroelectric dam project that would have flooded more than 42,000 acres in southwestern Virginia and northwest North Carolina destroying critical habitat and one of the most pristine and scenic sections of the river, according to a news release.

Since that time, the organization has led efforts to protect the river through land acquisition and conservation easements, water quality monitoring, collaborative research, stream and river bank restoration, river clean-up efforts, citizen activism and legislative initiatives throughout the three-state New River Watershed.

To date, New River Conservancy has protected almost 8,000 acres and restored over 88 miles of stream and riverbank in the New River’s watershed, according to the organization’s website.
For more information, visit

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