Yadkin Riverkeeper wins award

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

WINSTON-SALEM — Yadkin Riverkeeper will receive the Water Conservationist of the Year Award at the 2010 Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards program on Aug. 27 in Durham, the organization said in a press release.
Sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation, this award highlights individuals and organizations that have exemplified conservation activism across North Carolina. Yadkin Riverkeeper creates education, advocacy and action programs to protect and improve the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin.
Much of the organization’s work in 2010 focused on fighting Alcoa. Yadkin Riverkeeper and Stanly County won a legal victory to in their fight against Alcoa’s 50-year relicensing agreement to operate four hydroelectric dams along a 38-mile stretch of the Yadkin River.
During the year, Yadkin Riverkeeper advocated for legislation that would provide greater oversight of cleanup efforts, criminal prosecution of anyone who falsifies information when filing for water quality certification; and the imposition of a franchise or privilege tax on unregulated utilities.
“Thankfully, we have been very successful in building a bipartisan support for our efforts to ensure this river will be clean, healthy and vital for many years to come,” said Dean Naujoks, the Yadkin Riverkeeper. “We have a lot of work ahead; and we’re so glad to have found so many new supporters this past year.”
Annually, Yadkin Riverkeeper offers opportunities for people to learn about the river and experience its beauty. This past April, the Tour de Yadkin attracted a record number of paddlers who took to their kayaks and helped Naujoks complete the 185-mile paddle of North Carolina’s second-longest river. The month-long journey is paddled annually to showcase the beauty of the Yadkin and educate about environmental preservation issues that affect the river.
The organization also embarked on the first of many Operation Medicine Cabinet activities designed to help people properly dispose of unwanted or unneeded medications. Through two events in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, the organization collected pounds of drugs that, if improperly discarded, would have contaminated North Carolina’s water basins.
A highlight of the year was a visit by noted environmental activist and lawyer Erin Brockovich. Brockovich, who is involved in a legal case against Alcoa in Australia, spoke at Wake Forest University, met with legislators and gave interviews to the media about the importance of actively taking a role in the protection of rivers and ground water.
Visit www.yadkinriverkeeper.org for more information or call 336-722-4949. Yadkin Riverkeeper can be found on Facebook and Twitter @YadkinRivKeeper.