June 12, 2014. New River Keepers Inc., a new non-profit organization, has been formed by a group of concerned citizens from Ashe and Watauga counties to protect the New River.
The corporation was formed as a direct result of meetings that began on May 13, 2014 in Todd. New River Keepers, Inc. has been certified by the NC Secretary of State to operate as a NCGS Chapter 55A non-profit corporation, and intends to operate in compliance with Federal 501(c)(3) regulations. The corporation is headquartered in Todd.
The mission of New River Keepers, Inc. is “to protect the New River Basin’s rivers, streams, and tributaries through study, education, and advocacy for the benefit of all those who depend on and enjoy these waters.” One of the first educational and advocacy efforts of the group will be towards providing data and information in an open and transparent manner regarding the town of Boone’s proposed water intake, actual and future projected water usage of the town, as well as environmental and private property rights issues that have failed to be adequately addressed openly.
The town of Boone has proposed a water intake project on the South Fork of the New River in the Brownwood community. This proposed intake plant is located more than ten miles outside of the Boone town limits and would be permitted to withdraw four million gallons per day (mgd) from this American Heritage River. This is in addition to the three mgd the town is currently permitted to withdraw at its current intake on the same river, for a total grab and control of seven mgd of this area’s vital water resources. The intake site would be located downstream from the point where the town currently discharges its treated waste water into the river. The NC Division of Water Quality in its most recent report listed the South Fork as impaired at a point just downstream from the waste water discharge.
Advocacy is an important element of the group’s mission to educate the public and ultimately make its voice heard by representative officials. New River Keepers, Inc. solicits volunteers and donations to move forward with this effort. Concerned citizens and interested parties can contact the group through their new website www.newriverkeepers.com or e-mail them at [email protected]. The web site also shows how the group intends to advocate for protection of the New River long term.
* Release from Board of Directors, New River Keepers, Inc.