Introducing our Lumber Riverkeeper – Jefferson Currie II |
Winyah Rivers is so pleased to announce that, in addition to hosting the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® Program, we now host the Lumber RIVERKEEPER® Program. Jefferson Currie II is our new Lumber Riverkeeper! He will lead our education and advocacy efforts to protect swimmable, drinkable, fishable water for all communities in the Lumber River watershed.
Jeff is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and a native North Carolinian. He is a graduate of UNC-Pembroke (BA, American Indian Studies) and is pursuing a post-graduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Jeff started work with Winyah Rivers in August 2018 as Lumber River Advocate and conducted extensive field and aerial investigations of flooding and potential water quality conditions in the Lumber River watershed during and after Hurricane Florence. He continues his work protecting clean water and healthy communities in this important watershed as the Lumber Riverkeeper.
The Lumber River watershed comprises 1,750 square miles of which 1,631 square miles is in NC and 119 square miles is in SC. Its headwaters, Naked Creek and Drowning Creek, are designated High Quality Waters/Outstanding Resource Waters. All 115 miles of the Lumber River in NC have been designated as a North Carolina Natural and Scenic River. In addition, 81 miles in NC received designation as a National Wild and Scenic River. The diversity of plant and animal life in the watershed is significant. Almost a dozen federally endangered species are found there with dozens of plants and animals listed as significant in the state of North Carolina.
In addition to its natural inhabitants, the Lumber River watershed is home to approximately 200,000 people, a majority of which live in rural communities and include some of these states’ most disadvantaged communities attributed to low health rankings, economic well-being and other factors, including multi-year flooding impacts. These and other factors combine to highlight the susceptibility of the Lumber River watershed and the need for a local advocate to protect clean water for our families and our future.
"I do genuinely believe that when people have knowledge, when they see and make connections between their own lives and the river, they grow to respect it more and grow to love it and protect it and fight for it,” said Jeff Currie, Lumber Riverkeeper.