Haw River Assembly Archives

25 Years of Accomplishments for HRA!

Paddling the Haw — Route and Flow Information

Haw River Facts

Haw River Issues and Impacts

Questions and Answers about Algae

Peaceful Coexistence with Beavers

We're Hiring! Event and Outreach Coordinator Position is Open

The Haw River Assembly is seeking applicants for our Event  and Outreach Coordinator position. The Event and Outreach Coordinator organizes our programs for schools and public events including our annual river clean-up, the Haw River Festival, and other outreach activities. A key component of this job is the organizing and on-site coordination of our annual 3 week Learning Celebration program for schools on the Haw River each fall. The Coordinator camps onsite for the three weeks with the volunteers and other staff. View the full job description with details for submission.   Applications due Monday, June 24.

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Announcing the 30th Annual Haw River Festival - May 4th in Saxapahaw

Join the Haw River Assembly in Saxapahaw from 4-8 pm on Saturday, May 4th for an afternoon of live music, the opening of the Saturdays in Saxapahaw market season, a Paperhand Puppet parade, a guided river walk, canoe rides for kids, a kayak raffle, a silent auction, food trucks, and more! The Haw River Festival is FREE, and all donations collected during the festival support the Haw River Assembly’s work to protect the river. Each year over 1,000 people come out for this annual celebration of the river! This event kicks off the fifteenth season of Saturdays in Saxapahaw, a summer long market and music festival.


Music Lineup:

The festival kicks off at 4 pm with Triangle Afrobeat Orchestra’s eclectic mix of African percussion and Jazz, followed by the warm and folksy three part harmonies of Honey Magpie. Ragweed Brass will round off the lineup with their take on old-time American music from the early 20th century, featuring a banjo and a trombone!

For more info click HERE.

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Siler City Permit Comment Deadline Extended to Jan 31


The Rocky River is a beautiful small river that flows through western Chatham County before joining the Deep River (our sister river in the Upper Cape Fear watershed). It is one of the most biologically diverse streams in NC and is home to the endangered Cape Fear Shiner. It has long suffered from nutrient pollution from Siler City’s waste water treatment plant, and poultry processing wastewater, resulting in algae blooms and fish kills.  Siler City has requested a change in their Wastewater Treatment plant permit that would allow the new poultry processing plant, Mountaire, to send their untreated wastewater to be treated at the public wastewater treatment plant. This permit currently has no limit of the amount of nitrogen that is discharged and has no way to treat nitrogen at the plant. The proposed permit would allow the wastewater treatment plant to discharge inadequately treated water in the waterways with no nitrogen limitation until 2023. A public hearing was held in Siler City last week with most speakers opposing the permit.  The proposed change could have devastating effects on the Rocky River and the Cape Fear watershed. The public comment deadline has now been extended to Thursday January 31. You can submit comments to Mike Templeton at

Read more and see our talking points at


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Haw River Cleanup Success!

Over 450 volunteers joined our 29thAnnual Haw River Clean Up A Thon on March 16th!

There was no shortage of work to do to remove tires, plastic bottles, and all sorts of wild objects like TV sets, car bumpers, coolers, and balls from the Haw River and the creeks that flow into it, especially given the frequent flooding and multiple hurricanes that have occurred since our last cleanup.  Teams of families, boy scouts and girl scouts, environmental clubs, neighborhood groups, church groups, and residents from Guilford County to Durham County and everywhere in between turned out at 30 different locations with incredible enthusiasm and love for the Haw River Watershed, and they removed 606 bags of trash and recycling!

To see more visit



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General Swine Permit Renewal: Submit Comments by March 4th!

The background:

  • A state “general permit” determines how most of the 9.5 billion gallons of waste from  North Carolina’s nearly 10 million hogs is handled.
  • That state permit is being revised and renewed for a new five-year term  
  • A civil rights case Waterkeeper Alliance and other environmental groups settled with the state informed proposals in the draft permit.

Why this is important:

  • Waste is kept in unlined open cesspools, and sprayed on nearby cropland. The risk: Flooding, hazardous air emissions, and groundwater and surface water contamination.
  • In almost half the areas with the highest density of swine operations, 85 percent of neighbors depend on well water.
  • No publicly available records show when or how much waste is sprayed, what types of crops are receiving the waste, and if crops can absorb nutrients in that waste.
  • Industrial swine operations are concentrated in communities of color.
  • The North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation, over Gov. Cooper’s veto, limiting the property rights and legal remedies for neighbors harmed by swine operations.

The process:

The big picture of what we’re asking for:

  • Smithfield Foods, the multinational company that makes hundreds of millions off this industry, and other corporations that contract with North Carolina operations for swine production, should have responsibility for managing the waste produced by the animals they own.
  • The NC Department of Environmental Quality needs to either collect or require the collection of data required to assess hog waste pollution on a large-scale basis.

Specific asks:

  • Mandatory groundwater monitoring when there’s evidence of off-site impacts
  • Required use by swine operators of a formula, which was created at great taxpayer expense, to evaluate the risk of phosphorus pollution when animal waste is applied to cropland.
  • Monthly electronic submission of reports on records of land application of waste, cropping, stocking, and soil or lagoon sampling.

What we’re asking you to do:


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