The National Committee for the New River (NCNR) announced this week it has changed its name to the New River Conservancy. The new name and look for the 40 year-old organization reflects its redefined leadership role in protecting the New River in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia for the next generation.
NCNR was formed in the early 1970’s to protect the New River from a proposed hydro-electric dam project that would have flooded more than 42,000 acres in southwestern Virginia and northwest North Carolina destroying critical habitat and one of the most pristine and scenic sections of the river. Our name came from this fight.
The organization, along with a coalition of other environmental and conservation groups, was successful in gaining National Wild and Scenic River designation for a 26.5 mile stretch of river protecting it for future generations.
Since that time, the organization has led efforts to protect the river through land acquisition and conservation easements, water quality monitoring, collaborative research, stream and river bank restoration, river clean-up efforts, citizen activism and legislative initiatives throughout the three state New River Watershed. To date New River Conservancy has protected almost 8,000 acres and restored over 88 miles of stream and riverbank in the New River’s watershed.
Today the organization’s priorities include
• Research and data analysis to guide sound land use planning, resource conservation and public policy development.
• Advocacy at the city, county, state and federal levels for effective evidence based policies and positions to ensure a protected and healthy New River
• Direct action for stream and river water quality improvement projects, habitat protection and citizen engagement to promote a health river through community stewardship.
“The challenges facing the river today are driven primarily by encroaching development, pollution from agricultural and storm water runoff and outdated or lack of county and municipal policies and infrastructure to protect the river,” says New River Conservancy President George Santucci. “Our mission has evolved from one of engaging individual threats to a more comprehensive three-state approach to protect the entire watershed.”
Santucci says the name better reflects where the organization is today and its priorities for the future.
“While many options were discussed, based on the feedback we received from 500 of our members and partners, New River Conservancy resonated with the majority.”
The adoption of a new name and a new logo coincide with the kick-off of the organization’s three-year Next Generation fund raising campaign to help fund the NRC’s programs and ensure the financial stability of the NRC.