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Watauga River Partners nets grant

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Article Published: Sep. 13, 2012 | Modified: Sep. 13, 2012
Watauga River Partners nets grant

Watauga River Partners staff members attempt to get a count of the fish inhabiting Beaverdam Creek.
Photos submitted

Watauga River Partners, a nonprofit environmental organization based in Boone, has received a grant from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources to develop a watershed rehabilitation plan for Beaverdam Creek, located in the western Watauga County community of Bethel.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources allocated $247,500 in 319 Non-Point Source Pollution Control funding to Beaverdam Creek because of water quality concerns.

Although Beaverdam Creek flows through a picturesque landscape, the stream itself has been listed as “impaired” by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality.

The presence of several pollutants, such as biological pollutants, sediment or high water temperatures, could be the cause of the impaired designation.

Impaired water quality from sediment, runoff and thermal pollution not only affects Beaverdam Creek, but also the overall water quality of the Watauga River because Beaverdam Creek is a headwater stream. Developing a plan to remedy these impacts is important to water quality in the Watauga River basin, according to NCDWQ officials.

Funding for the Beaverdam Creek Watershed Restoration Project will be used to help landowners prevent land loss, improve drinking water and fish habitats and implement best management practices for their farms.

Watauga River Partners is providing financial assistance to residents who own land along Beaverdam Creek or its tributaries and are willing to share costs, labor and equipment. The funding may be used for plants along creek banks, rain gardens, alternate watering and feeding approaches, cattle crossings and fencing, and other approved alternatives.

“This is a great opportunity for landowners to not only improve their property, but to ensure the Watauga River remains a vital, healthy waterway for fishing, habitat and drinking water,” said Kristan Cockerill, project manager for the Beaverdam Creek Watershed Restoration Project.

Watauga River Partners is working with Watauga County Cooperative Extension and North Carolina Division of Soil and Water Conservation to install projects in the Beaver Dam community.

Brushy Fork Environmental Consulting Inc., Appalachian State University Department of Chemistry and the N.C. Wildlife Commission are also assisting.

About the Watauga River Partners

The Watauga River Partners formed in 1999 as a chapter of the Western North Carolina Alliance in response to the growing pressures on the water quality of the Watauga River and its tributaries. The purpose of the organization is to educate the community about the Watauga River and to promote conservation and rehabilitation of the river.

Watuaga River Partners’ efforts to protect the Watauga River serve communities along the 60-mile stretch of river.

The Watauga River is perhaps the most outstanding natural resource of the North Carolina High Country, where it is a center for outdoor recreation, a site of scientific research, a fragile ecosystem that is home to endangered species of aquatic life, a source of high-quality water and a contributor to local and regional economies, according to officials with the Watauga River Partners.

For additional information about the Watauga River Partners, or to participate in the Beaverdam Creek Restoration Project, contact Ashley Wilson at (828) 278-9660 or (

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