Meet Donna Lisenby the new Upper Watauga Riverkeeper on Saturday, May 24th at The Mast General Store Annex in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. She will be available to answer questions and give much more information from 11 a.m. -3p.m. during the kickoff event to the Take it Outside series at the Annex.
From the headwaters on the slopes of Grandfather Mountain to the Watauga Lake Dam on the Tennessee border, the Upper Watauga River is one of Western North Carolina's treasures. The Watauga, a Cherokee word meaning "beautiful river," begins its westward flow to the Gulf of Mexico in Watauga County, North Carolina. A fast growing area in the Carolina Mountains, Watauga County is experiencing increased development that could impact the future of the Upper Watauga River. Unmonitored, this development could cause higher flooding events and more intense low water droughts. In the past, the health of the river was left to chance, but that is about to change with the addition of a Riverkeeper to protect the future of the Upper Watauga River.
Donna Lisenby comes to her new position as the Upper Watauga Riverkeeper from a similar position on the Catawba River, which flows through North and South Carolina. Donna, a South Carolina native and Clemson University graduate, is committed to "building sustainable relationships between people and Earth."
Donna began her mission as the Catawba Riverkeeper in 1998 with responsibility for all 300 miles of the river. Along with a network of trained volunteers, she monitored water quality and enforced environmental laws, among other tasks. Being the voice of the Catawba had many challenges but did not go unnoticed. Donna was named as the "1999 Guardian of the Environment" by The Charlotte Observer and received three "Best of Charlotte" awards for "Best Effort to Improve the Environment." In speaking of Donna, Hickory, North Carolina Mayor Rudy Wright said "She has been an advocate and a spokesman for what I consider the most endangered river in America."
Permission to reprint this information has been given by Mast General Store Webmaster - Bob.