WNCA supporters gather
by Jeff Eason
In addition to sponsoring both the Watauga Riverkeeper and the French Broad Riverkeeper programs, the group works to ensure that future generations will enjoy clean air, water and land the way residents do today.
Pamela and Leigh Dunston of Blowing Rock hosted a WNCA fundraiser last Saturday that was attended by dozens of people who have been working on behalf of the environment.
"The Western North Carolina Alliance turns 30 years old this year," said Julie Mayfield, a director with the organization. "We've done a lot of work in this region. It was founded in Macon County, N.C., by citizens who were mad at the Forest Service because it was proposing to lease public lands to energy companies for gas and oil exploration. The leases would've been for one dollar an acre per year. So, they were basically giving it away."
Since 1982, the WNCA has grown into an organization present in 33 counties in Western North Carolina. Its primary goals are to protect water quality and public lands, as well as monitor the uses of public lands.
The WNCA has started the Beyond Coal Campaign and has worked with the Blue Ridge Mountain Club in Watauga and Wilkes counties to curb sediment and runoff from its new golf course.
"They did a lot of work to minimize the impact of their development," Mayfield said of Blue Ridge Mountain Club.
"This year is the 40th anniversary of our country's Clean Water Act," said Donna Lisenby, a Watauga Riverkeeper. "You have to remember that it was signed into law by Richard Nixon, a conservative. It is a common sense petition that states that our nation's waterways belong to all of us. And the Citizen Law Provision of the act gives all Americans the right to sue polluters."