“Helping people recognize and address threats to our water resources”

Every stream we encounter in life is interconnected to a much broader network of streams that all work together, draining into rivers and eventually the sea. Each of these streams encompasses its own watershed which is all of the land that drains up into that point that we cross into streams. These watersheds (millions existing all over the world)  collectively impact our daily lives through our drinking water, serving as primary habitat for many plants and animals, being areas we enjoy as natural beauty, and usage for recreation. The Hiwassee water coalition serves as a driving force to protect and sustain these resources so streams can continue to make crucial impacts in our daily lives now and for generations to come.

The Coalition is a nonprofit organization that operates to sustain, restore, and enhance water quality in streams, lakes, and rivers that flow into the Hiwassee River. The coalition covers areas in two counties in Western North Carolina including Cherokee and Clay and two counties in Northern Georgia. The partnership is comprised of local landowners, residents, businesses, local government organizations, land conservationists, Soil & Water Conservationists, and advocates who care about preserving natural resources in their community. The coalition tackles and addresses threats to these resources through volunteer driven projects and local partners and conservationists that recognize and bring light to water resource threats. These projects are strategically implemented to prevent further threats and save water before it is too late and unrestorable. The coalition is not affiliated with any political and legislative advocacy. Funding towards the coalition comes from various sources including membership dues, fundraising, sponsorships, grants, and contributions. In the past 15 years the coalition has been able to raise an impressive $6.8 million through grants and over 93% of this funding has gone towards local projects to improve water quality, with the rest going to coalition operations.

Type of Organization




Primary Contact

Administrative & Outreach Coordinator, Amanda Kanac

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hiwasseeriver

Issues of Focus

  • Watershed land use

  • Water resource threat

  • Soil and Water Conservation

  • Water Quality


History of Organization

Programs and Projects 

  • Reduce excess sedimentation in streams, rivers, and lakes that connect to the Hiwassee river

  • Restore aquatic habitat through embankment improvement projects and restoration

  • Eradicate non-native and invasive plants along streams

  • Planting native plants and shrubs to provide bank stability, filtration of runoff and shade

  • Technical assistance and education to landowners in region

  • Water quality education to all age groups regarding water quality concerns and resolutions

  • Shade your Stream Program beginning Fall of 2015

  • Water restoration in Brasstown Creek and Valley River watershed

  • Lakes Program: Lake studies performed to improve water quality through the Lake Chatuge Action Plan, Lake Nottely Action Plan, Lake Hiwassee Action Plan, and Lake Apalachia Action Plans.

  • C.R.E.E.K (Creative & Recreational Educational Kids Days Summer youth education program. Youth learn general information about water quality in their local streams, aquatic life, and science experiences using scientific equipment to collect data from streams. There are over 130 CREEK graduates!

  • Water quality data collection(ongoing)]

  • Watershed Gala

  • Low cost rental of no-till grain drilll for local farmers program

  • Adopt a Stream Program


Partners and Frequent Collaborators