“Rivers run through our history and folklore, and link us as a people. They nourish and refresh us and provide a home for dazzling varieties of fish, wildlife, trees, and plants of every sort. We are a nation rich in rivers.”
-Wilmington Native Charles Kuralt, from The Magic of Rivers
I love the Cape Fear River. Being your RIVERKEEPER® is, for me, a dream come true. I am honored and humbled to be the voice of the river and excited to be a strong advocate for a clean, healthy, and beautiful Cape Fear River.
Cape Fear River Watch (CFRW) was founded in 1993 to protect and improve the water quality of the Lower Cape Fear River Basin through education, advocacy and action. Founders Bouty Baldridge and Bruce Watkins envisioned a permanent nonprofit organization, open to everyone, dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the health, beauty, cleanliness, and heritage of the Cape Fear River basin.
The Cape Fear is North Carolina’s largest river basin and nearly one third of the state’s population lives with in our watershed. The ecological diversity of our watershed is astounding, from the salt marshes at the mouth to the blackwater swamps and ancient cypress trees. The beauty of the river is awe-inspiring and the rich history and culture that surrounds the river reminds us that for most of our history the river, more than anything else, defined who we were.
Our vision for the future remains unchanged. We will build upon the legacy that so many people in our community have helped to establish. We will continue to build an active and engaged membership. We will strive to foster a connection to the river for each of our community. We will continue to expand our area of influence and we will embrace the diversity that makes our watershed so special.
There are challenges facing the river and we will face those challenges head on, supported by a dedicated board of directors, a robust membership, and an engaged community. We will continue to insist that our community is the wrong place for Titan cement. We will press on to hold factory farms accountable for the damage they do to our watershed. We will advocate for wise water use, allocation, and conservation and we will remain vigilant to prevent those that would harm the resource that belongs to all of us.
There are successes to be celebrated as well. We have made significant progress toward restoring anadromous fish populations in the Cape Fear River. Our education programs continue to grow both in quantity and quality. We have introduced countless people to their river and we now have a voice in policy decisions at the local and state, and even national level.
The coming year will be an exciting time for CFRW. Join us. We need your energy, your intellect and your wisdom, your creativity, and your diversity of background. We need you to stand with us to ensure that the Cape Fear River remains a clean, healthy, beautiful river for our children. We need you to take a stand for clean water.
See you on the water.
Kemp Burdette Cape Fear RIVERKEEPER®
Cape Fear River Watch, Inc.