Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
BREDL Chapter Spotlight

Friends of the Deep River
Guilford County, NC

The Deep River in Piedmont NC is part of our area's past, present, and future. Before our European and African ancestors arrived, it served as a travel corridor and provided food and water for the Native Americans who lived, fished and hunted along it. Later it also became a source of energy for many grist and textile mills, powering not only the machinery but the rapidly expanding agriculture and trade economy that began to flourish in the eighteenth century. Growing towns and cities needed ever-increasing amounts of water, as well as a way to dispose of municipal and industrial waste. Neither we nor our forebears have always been fully aware of the burdens placed on our natural resources, so today we find that the Deep, like many other rivers, is "overworked and underpaid," its ability to carry out functions essential for the life it supports (including ourselves) seriously compromised.

Therefore, a few concerned citizens joined together in early 2006 to form Friends of the Deep River, a nonprofit, tax-exempt group which is a chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, to protect, restore, and enhance the river that touches us personally. Our concerns include:
* the illegal use of streams as waste dumps, and the effects of runoff that carries both visible and invisible substances into the river.
* the use of streams as receivers of effluent from wastewater treatment plants--although High Point's Eastside plant has been upgraded recently, including backup power, parts of the old sewer pipe collection system must continue to serve until replaced in the next year or two.
* the "complaint-driven" enforcement system of the NC Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which means that if standards or Best Management Practices are not followed by those working in or near the water, it is up to us to bring that to DENR's attention.
* the existence of an old landfill and a nearby chemical waste dump (Seaboard) where monitoring and cleanup programs exist, but public awareness needs to be increased.
* the planning and construction of new roads like the Jamestown Bypass that will adversely affect the river unless we follow the process and offer constructive suggestions as needed.
* the underuse of a great educational and recreational opportunity due to lack of access to the water via trails for walking, pedaling and paddling, and to the poor water conditions that keep this from being a high priority for many residents and visitors.

Contact information:
PO BOX 624
Tom Duckwall (treasurer)

Friends of the Deep River website

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posted online July 26, 2006