Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains just east of the Eastern Continental Divide, the Catawba River begins near the Town of Old Fort in western McDowell County. Nearly 220 miles long, the Catawba flows east-to-west through the heart of Foothills Conservancy’s land trust region. Turning southward, the river flows past Charlotte and into South Carolina where it joins the Wateree River before draining into the Atlantic Ocean.
Foothills Conservancy’s conservation work in the Catawba River’s upper basin helps protect water quality by preserving watershed forests and natural stream-side vegetation – thus preventing erosion and sedimentation, and filtering pollutants. These same natural areas are key functional components of healthy terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that provide habitat for wildlife, as well as places for people to enjoy the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills.