CAPE FEAR RIVERKEEPER® Kemp Burdette is the Cape Fear Riverkeeper and Executive Director of Cape Fear River Watch where he works to protect and improve the water quality of the Lower Cape Fear River. He is a Wilmington native who grew up exploring the waterways and swamps that make our area so special. Kemp has lived and travelled around the world as a US Navy search and rescue swimmer, a Fulbright Scholar, and a Peace Corps volunteer. At home and abroad Kemp has always been interested in the way humans interact with their environment.

His academic background is in geology and history, graduating from UNCW magna cum laude with honors, and he holds a master of public administration (MPA), also from UNCW. He also holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University.  Kemp spends most of his free time with his two daughters Olivia and Caroline, working in his garden, or tinkering in his workshop, or exploring the waterways and swamps of the Lower Cape Fear Region. He has been the Executive Director and Riverkeeper for Cape Fear River Watch since 2010.


CATAWBA RIVERKEEPER® Sam Perkins is the Riverkeeper at the Catawba RIVERKEEPER® Foundation. He covers the entire basin and its 11 impoundments, from North Carolina mountains to South Carolina swamp. He was born and raised in Charlotte, with family and frequent trips in the North Carolina mountains. After completing undergraduate degrees in journalism and environmental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, he stayed and earned a Master of Science degree in the Department of Marine Sciences, studying rivers, geochemistry and hydrology. The Catawba River basin has a lot of human and land use impacts because of the many people who lie within the relatively small basin but depend on it for drinking water. His work has recently focused on the three coal ash sites in a 29-mile span of the river, where lakes also serve as drinking water reservoirs. CRF currently has cases in both state and federal court based on his investigations at these sites. Other current Catawba issues include water supply planning, agricultural waste runoff, sediment, storm water, sewage spills and land application of sewage sludge. In his spare time, you can find him at a local brewery or a disc golf course.


CRYSTAL COAST WATERKEEPER® Larry Baldwin is the Crystal Coast Waterkeeper and Executive Director of Coastal Carolina Riverwatch. He has a long career in the Waterkeeper Alliance movement spanning almost 15 years to 2002. Larry has focused, and continues to be heavily involved in the fight against the corporate-controlled Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) which pollute our waters. He has been working with Environmental Justice organizations and the communities they serve to stop the negative impacts that the swine and poultry industry continues to have on the water, air and families of those who live in the vicinity of these operations. His educational background includes a B.S. degree in Environmental Sciences from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, PA., and is a Graduate of the School of Conservation, Professional Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Program, Atlanta, GA.

Larry became the Crystal Coast Waterkeeper in January, 2016 and is responsible for the monitoring and advocacy of the area covering Bogue Sound, Back Sound, Core Sound and the rivers and creeks and land masses that drain to the Sounds. The area also includes the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The Crystal Coast Waterkeeper protects these waters by actively patrolling the area from the land, on the water and from the air, looking for pollution in our waters and on our shores and identifying pollution sources. He also works closely and cooperatively with local communities, businesses, academic and governmental agencies to educate them of potential water quality hazards and work toward resolutions.


HAW RIVERKEEPER® Emily Sutton is the full-time Haw Riverkeeper who monitors and protects the Haw River watershed, including Jordan Lake and the tributary creeks. Emily joined the staff of Haw River Assembly in 2016, managing citizen science projects to watchdog against sediment pollution and monitor the tributaries and main stem of the Haw River. As Riverkeeper, she is now leading the fight against pollution in the Haw River on many fronts, including emerging contaminants, Jordan Lake nutrients, and sediment pollution. Emily grew up paddling rivers in the Midwest, and moved to North Carolina to received her B.A at Appalachian State University in Sustainable Development, where she studied Agroecology, Watershed Ecology, and Outdoor Education. Emily lives in Saxapahaw, NC.



FRENCH BROAD RIVERKEEPER® Hartwell Carson has worked to protect and defend the French Broad River as the Riverkeeper for the last six years. He has played a key role in reducing sediment pollution, starting and expanding bacteria, sediment, and coal ash monitoring programs, implementing over two miles of stream restoration, and ensuring regulations are adequate and enforced to meet the goals of the Clean Water Act to have all waters be fishable and swimmable. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Georgia studying Recreation and Resource Management. While a student there, he worked with the Outdoor Recreation Center as an environmental educator and guide. After working for the Forest Service in Colorado, Hartwell earned his Master’s of Science from the University of Montana, where he conducted extensive work examining social and ecological impacts on the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. Hartwell has also served as a community advocate on the City of Asheville’s Flood Damage Reduction Task Force and Watershed Policy Committee, and currently serves as the president of Tennessee Riverkeeper.


GREEN RIVERKEEPER® Gray Jernigan is the Green Riverkeeper. Gray has been Southern Regional Director with MountainTrue since May 2016, and previously was Staff Attorney & Communications Coordinator for Waterkeeper Alliance’s Pure Farms, Pure Waters campaign in North Carolina where he worked with Riverkeepers across the state to address water pollution issues associated with Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). He holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Environmental Law & Policy degrees from Vermont Law School and completed undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earning B.S. Psychology and B.A. Environmental Studies degrees.


UPPER WATAUGA RIVERKEEPER® Andy Hill is the Watauga Riverkeeper and the High Country Regional Director. As a long-time fly fisherman, educator and guide, Andy is intimately familiar with the Watauga watershed from the headwaters to the tailwater and is passionate for clean, cold, fishable, drinkable and swimmable water and protecting the places we love. Andy has a BS in Outdoor Experiential Education and a MS in College Outdoor Program Administration from Appalachian State University. Also a NOLS graduate, Andy thrives on using the outdoors as a source of learning and connecting people with our shared wild places.

Sound Rivers


PAMLICO-TAR RIVERKEEPER® Heather Jacobs Deck is the interim Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper having assumed the role of Executive Director for Sound Rivers in September 2017. She provides the scientific expertise to aid members’, the public’s, planners’ and lawmakers’ understanding of the complexity of that ecosystem. She responds to the public’s environmental concerns, notifies agencies that enforce water quality regulations and monitors the responses to pollution events. She cooperates with civic organizations, schools, religious groups and others to restore and monitor the Tar-Pam waterway, and she educates the public in the watershed about how they can all help protect the river.  As the Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper, she is typically sought after and appointed to commissions and working groups related to North Carolina’s water policies and management of the Tar-Pamlico watershed.  Heather joined Sound Rivers in July 2003 and lives in Washington, NC.


LOWER NEUSE RIVERKEEPER® Katy Langley joined Sound Rivers in June 2016 and is based in New Bern. As Lower Neuse Riverkeeper, Katy is Sound Rivers’ primary representative for the Neuse River basin from Lenoir-Wayne County line eastward to the mouth of the Neuse River.

Katy graduated with a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Science from University of New Orleans in August 2015. Katy lives in New Bern’s historic Riverside neighborhood, about two blocks from the Neuse River. She has a long time passion for water and the environment, is a dog lover, an avid kayaker, and a U.S. Department of Interior Certified Motorboat Operator.

UPPER NEUSE RIVERKEEPER® Matthew Starr is the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper for Sound Rivers. He serves as the Vice Chairperson of the City of Raleigh Stormwater Management Advisory Commission.   As of 2015, Matthew was heavily engaged in seeking relief and clean-up of coal ash pollution from the H.F. Lee plant near Goldsboro, and protecting Falls Lake which supplies drinking water to more than 500,000 people in the Raleigh area.

Matthew was born and raised in Raleigh and grew up exploring the creeks and streams of the Upper Neuse River Basin.  He lives in Raleigh with his wife Nicole and three children. In his free time Matthew loves getting outside with his kids and playing in the creeks and streams as he did as a child.


WHITE OAK-NEW RIVERKEEPER® The position as the White Oak-New Riverkeeper in currently vacant. The White Oak-New RIVERKEEPER® Alliance was founded in 2008. At the time there was a strong need for a program that would restore and protect our local rivers. Therefore, a group of concerned citizens joined together to create an alliance for strong advocacy. Some of the issues worked on by the White Oak-New Riverkeeper Alliance are CAFOs, Operation Medicine Cabinet, Litter clean-ups of both the New and White Oak Rivers, and advocacy work particularly focusing on preventing injection of wastewater into our drinking water aquifer.

Winyah Rivers Foundation


WACCAMAW RIVERKEEPER® Cara Schildtknecht is the Waccamaw Riverkeeper, a program hosted by Winyah Rivers Foundation.
Cara has an MS in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies from Coastal Carolina University (CCU). She received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Bachelor of Arts in English at Shepherd University (SU) in Shepherdstown, WV. Headquartered in Conway, SC at Coastal Carolina University, Cara leads the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER program of Winyah Rivers Foundation, an organization that watches over the lower Pee Dee Basin in North and South Carolina.


YADKIN RIVERKEEPER® The position as the Yadkin Riverkeeper in currently vacant. Yadkin RIVERKEEPER® seeks to respect, protect and improve the Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin through education, advocacy and action. We are a 501c(3) non-profit organization, funded by individuals and foundations who share our commitment to promoting a clean and healthy river that sustains life and is cherished by its people. Yadkin Riverkeeper is a licensed member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, which connects and supports local Waterkeeper programs to provide a united voice and to champion clean water issues around the world. Waterkeeper Alliance seeks to protect fishable, swimmable and drinkable waterways worldwide.