25 Years of Accomplishments!

HRA’s Work for the River 1982 Hundreds attend February charter meeting of HRA in Pittsboro. HRA organizes “Canoe-A-Thon” for clean water at the dedication of Jordan Lake May 1, 1982.

1983 “Great Haw River Race” held in Haw River, field trip program, landowner contacts, and work with elected officials to help protect the Haw River underway.

1984 State begins “Stream Watch” program, and Miles Agee of HRA organizes volunteers to begin monitoring the Haw.

1985 HRA publishes “Haw River Drinking Water Survey, A Study of Synthetic Organic Chemicals in Pittsboro Drinking Water and Influent Haw River Water”–a scientific study funded by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Report and recommendations on clean water legislation are made to the General Assembly.

1986 First Haw River Spring Festival is held at Jordan Lake. HRA is involved in efforts to build trails at the Lake, and continues educational work on clean water.

1987 HRA works with the Bynum community and public health officials to investigate possible cancer link to Haw River drinking water.

1988 HRA works with Alamance citizens to stop siting of landfill on the river (not for long, unfortunately). First Haw River trash clean-up held, in Bynum!

1989 HRA talks with officials about the possibility of a future state park on the Haw. Louise Kessel proposes new “Haw River Festival Learning Celebration” for schools, modeled on programs she took part in on the Hudson and Mississippi rivers. Organizing begins, with Louise and amazing volunteers leading the way.

1990 The first Haw River “Learning Celebration” takes place for three weeks in May, bringing hundreds of volunteers (including naturalists, cooks, artists, scientists, musicians, inventors) together with over 2000 schoolchildren.

1991 Annual March Clean-Up-A-Thon now expands to sites upriver. HRA sponsors “River Jamboree” in Pittsboro, bringing together 20 N.C. river groups. HRA works with citizens to stop re-zoning around Lake Jeanette, and a sewage discharge at the Haw headwaters near Oak Ridge. Learning Celebration is now 4 weeks long, plus public Festival Finale. Clyde Jones designs first Festival T-shirt.

1992 HRA teams with Jordan Foundation to hold first “Meadowfest” concert and fundraiser–a weekend of music in the hills over the Haw in Saxapahaw. HRA joins the battle to stop siting of Alamance landfill at Austin Quarter.

1993 HRA gets a home! Bynum mill owner Mr. Stevens rents the last house still owned by the mill to HRA for a very modest sum; we renovate and move in. Stream Watch project is revived and re-envisioned as River Watch; grant funding is sought to hire staff person to coordinate it.

1994 HRA receives grants from EPA and Z. Smith Reynolds to start “River Watch” monitoring project, and provide funding for new outreach work to bring in a more diverse membership (including geographically).

1995 Learning Celebration evolves to a new model: 3 weeks at 3 sites with 3 public “finales”, partnering with Alamance Community College and The Summit Conference Center. Pete Seeger and grandson Tao Rodriguez perform benefit concert for Learning Celebration. We launch the new “River Watch” project. Cary annexes Chatham land on NE side of Jordan Lake, approves plans for huge “Amberly” development.

1996 Hurricane Fran causes massive flooding along Haw–crests bridge at Saxapahaw, alters streambanks, rapids and islands. HRA joins with other organizations in the state calling for a moratorium on intensive swine operations, and storage for low level radioactive waste. HRA organizes meeting at Camp Guilrock to discuss vision for a future “Haw River Trail”. HRA co-founder Chuck Brady is NASA flight surgeon on the Space Shuttle!

1997 HRA is asked to be on the state’s River Assessment Advisory Committee. HRA joins with Deep River activists to protest building of Randleman Dam–Greensboro’s increased water supply will end up as wastewater in the Haw. (American Canoe Association sues Greensboro under Clean Water Act for pollution from their WWTP). HRA organizes “flotilla” on Jordan Lake for clean water.

1998 Chris Carter, River Watch Coordinator, takes to the air to investigate massive sediment plume; tracks it to huge land clearing in Guilford Co. HRA helps save old Bynum Bridge from destruction. We receive grant from U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the new N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund to preserve the headwater springs of the Haw in Forsyth County. Kudos to Lynn Featherstone!

1999 10th Learning Celebration takes place (with first Puppet performance)–over 20,000 4th graders have attended! HRA Advocacy Committee focuses on the problems of unprecedented growth and sprawl in the watershed.

2000 HRA gets and takes part in public hearing on state water quality permits for huge golf course development near Jordan Lake (now “The Preserve”). HRA receives its first EPA/DENR 319 grant and launches “Stream Steward Project” to work with Pittsboro community to clean up Robeson Creek. HRA joins other orgs. asking state for mandatory stream buffers on the Cape Fear.

2001 Heron Circle begins! City of Graham opens new canoe access on Haw at Hwy 54. HRA joins N.C. Watershed Alliance for first Clean Water Lobby Day. We join Alamance citizens protesting air pollution from Stericycle incinerator. Severe drought results in winter algae blooms on the river.

2002 Massive developments proposed in Chatham threaten tributaries and Haw. HRA publishes and distributes “Stream Steward Handbook”. Upper New Hope Arm of Jordan Lake put on federal “Impaired Waters” list.

2003 Stream Steward Campaign teams up with Summerfield community in Guilford for conservation education and outreach. New Haw River State Park is created at beautiful wetlands on the Guilford/Rockingham county line. State begins process of new rules to reduce nutrient pollution in Jordan Lake–HRA joins Stakeholder Project.

2004 N.C. buys 900 acre Duke land in Chatham (between Bynum and Hwy 64 bridge) for river corridor park: Lower Haw River State Natural Area. HRA urges strong rules for Jordan Lake, and joins with other state groups for passage of rules to control polluted runoff. HRA helps Swepsonville create new River Park.

2005 HRA becomes a partner for the EPA Environmental Justice grant to the Mebane-based West End Revitalization Association fighting for “Rights to Basic Amenities”, including clean water. HRA helps win passage at General Assembly of “Drinking Water Reservoir Protection Act”. HRA is invited as presenter at the 5th Korean River Day in South Korea, focusing on river festivals (HRA represented by JJ Richardson, our Learning Celebration coordinator).

2006 We buy our office (the old mill house in Bynum)! We work with Triangle Land Conservancy to get 122 new acres added to State Natural Area on the Haw. New Bridge Watch and Lake Watch initiatives launched with volunteers. We Partner with Elon University on a river conservation assessment funded by CWMTF. Local governments along the Haw River sign memorandum of agreement to promote trails and conservation along the Haw.

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