Mission and Achievements

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch (CCRW) is a women-led grassroots organization driven by the voices of the coast and working through community collaboration to protect water quality and coastal habitat.

The work is funded by your donations and accomplished by an efficient and effective two-person staff, dedicated board of directors, top-of-their-field scientific and research advisors, local government and industry community stakeholders, pro-bono attorney groups, captains and pilots, university partners, local sustainable businesses, and local advocates.

Our mission is to protect the quality of water and quality of life in coastal North Carolina.

ACHIEVEMENTS in 2022 (so far):

Through Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s boots-on-the-ground rapid response program we have documented significant water quality problems that threaten human health and aquatic life and utilize that information to increase awareness and support for improved policies.  We conduct research and use facilitated collaborative methods to engage advocates, scientists, industry, government, and other stakeholders to provide top-down prioritized gaps-in-service programming for the communities in coastal NC.  

In 2022, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch…

  • Published Weekly Newsletter to over 2,500 subscribers. Sign up, click here.
  • Investigated significant pollution events (averaging 1-2 per month) and published outreach content to a social media audience of over 20,000 per month and 2,500 newsletter subscribers.
  • Investigated potential pollution events (averaging 3-6 per month).
  • Entities were held accountable for pollution through proper documentation and reporting (averaging 2-3 violation reports per month).
  • Advocating for the protection of coastal habitat, water quality, and quality of life by providing comments on legislation, policies, regulations, and local planning and development activities (averaging 5 public meetings per month).
  • Create and sustain gaps-in-service programming that protects water quality:
    • Water Quality for Fisheries (WQ4F), (NEW IN 2021)
      • This work encompasses a comprehensive long-term strategy to study and advocate for water quality protection measures in coastal communities.
      • Achievements for this program in 2022:
        • Collaborated and communicated with fisheries representatives to address concerns about how water quality impacts fisheries and next steps on prioritized project development.
        • Collectively learned (from the WQ4F Assessment Process) what is currently being done in the State to address water quality issues impacting fisheries and use the information to develop prioritized project proposals to fund ongoing research and outreach efforts that will protect water quality for fisheries.
        • Collaboratively made recommendations on what more needs to be done to improve water quality for fisheries.
        • Proposed next steps that address gaps in addressing what is not currently being done to address water quality issues.
        • Submitted three project proposals in 2022 to fund further WQ4F work.
        • Screened the WQ4F Film “Tidal Alert” several times in-person and virtually in 2022 with an estimated audience of +5,000 people in 2022.
        • Developed the Algae Bloom Response project in collaboration with commercial and recreational fishermen participating in the WQ4F program.
      •  Water Quality for Fisheries Prioritized Actions Items in 2022:
        • Industrial Agriculture and Factory Farming Pollution:
          • Advocated for updated waste management systems for industrial agriculture and factory farming practices.
          • Advocated for improving the requirements for pre-storm preparation.
          • Worked to bridge the gap between scientists and policymakers.
        • Stormwater Pollution:
          • Advocated for the implementation of sustainable development techniques (wetland and forest protection, permeable surfaces, increased vegetated areas, on-site runoff treatment technologies).
          • Advocated for green infrastructure policy development (standardize the use of permeable pavement, green streets, filtration systems, and nature-based infrastructure). • Enhance the monitoring of stormwater runoff.
          • Publicized successful stormwater control efforts.
        • Industrial Pollution:
          • Advocated for the reduction of industrial activities that utilize harmful industrial chemicals in their process and the development of new filtration technologies.
          • Advocated for policies that enforces the maximum contaminant levels for municipal water treatment facilities.
          • Increased education efforts providing information to consumers on PFAS-containing products.
        • Plastic Pollution:
          • Advocated for changes in the manufacturing process of plastics that prevent plastic pollution.
          • Advocated for single-use plastic-bans and extended producer responsibility. • Research green chemistry (alternatives to current chemical composition of plastic) and research the physiological effects of plastic on fish.
        • Wastewater Pollution:
          • Advocated for preventative repairs and updates on current infrastructure.
          • Advocated for the establishment of water quality standards for additional wastewater pollutants, including plastics and industrial chemicals.
          • Working with researchers to understand wastewater treatment infrastructure for coastal regions, with high water tables and flooding, to determine effective best management practices for reducing wastewater pollution.
          • Increased community outreach support for improving wastewater treatment infrastructure.
    • Pure Farms, Pure Waters, (UPDATED IN 2022)
      • This work encompasses a comprehensive long-term strategy to create a just food system that does not damage water or communities.
      • Achievements for this program in 2022:
        • Continued this work in 2022 without additional funding from Waterkeeper Alliance.
        • Documented pollution and reported the impacts of CAFOs 
        • Slowed the proliferation of directed biogas projects.
        • Supported funding and mechanisms for buyout of swine and poultry operations in the floodplain.
        • Building groundwork to achieve permitting for poultry operations.
        • We conducted water monitoring in waterways adjacent to CAFOs. 
        • Advocated for more protective water standards.
        • Utilized DNA tracking to identify pollution sources
        • Provided support to communities being impacted by CAFOs.
        • Provided support to local sustainable farms and farmers.
    • Equity in the Environment, (NEW IN 2021)
      • Provided a $1,000 scholarship to one student in 2022.
    • Algae Bloom Response Project, (NEW IN 2022)
      • Responded to Rust Tide (Harmful Algae Bloom on New River) from September 2022 – October 2022)
        • Weekly investigation by water and air.
        • SouthWings partnership (donated flights) for fly-over investigation.
        • Citizen science (Advocacy Team – click here to join) drone investigation.
        • Waterkeeper algae identification, reporting, and local notification (news media, boots-on-the-ground, and through connections with the local fishing community).
    • PFAS Research and Outreach in Coastal NC,  (NEW in 2022)
      • CCRW participated in multiple research projects on PFAS in coastal NC in 2022.
        • PFAS – National Study (White Oak River)
        • PFAS – NC Study (New River, Bogue Sound, Newport River, and North River)
        • PFAS in Foam
    • Advocacy Book Club.  (NEW IN 2022)
    • Micro-plastics Research (NEW IN 2022)
      • CCRW participated in a Statewide micro-plastics research in 2022-23.
  • Provided information to increase participation in government actions.
  • We take legal action on behalf of communities when necessary and when legal representation is available:
    1. Address Impacts of Environmental Hazards to Human Health.
    2. Pure Farms Pure Waters: Continue our efforts to hold the industrial hog and poultry operations accountable.

CCRW Equity and Inclusion Statement:

CCRW’s vision is to be a diverse, culturally competent organization, capable of including and serving all people in our watersheds. This vision calls for our board, members, volunteers, and staff to be composed of individuals who are representative of the racial diversity that exists in the communities we serve and for our advocacy, programs, and organizational processes to be aligned to create a culture of inclusion. Our work as a clean water advocacy organization is directly impacted as a result of systemic racism and inequality. The concentration of harmful land uses, industry, and flooding that impact water quality is a product of these forces; we must acknowledge and recognize this for our approaches and strategies to be successful. For there to be positive, statewide, systemic change in how our waterways and communities experience the environment, we must also engage in the systemic causes contributing to water quality issues in certain communities in the first place.


CCRW is a Waterkeeper Alliance member serving the White Oak River Basin.

CCRW advocates for clean water for ALL.