Our Mission:

To celebrate and preserve our watershed, and raise awareness in our community about the importance and need for clean water systems that nurture us.

wa·ter·shed [ wáwtər shèd ]:  a region draining into river or ocean: the land area that drains into a particular lake, river, or ocean;  a turning point: an important period, time, event, or factor that marks a change or division.

A Watershed Moment for our Civilization: as a civilization we are at a watershed moment, a crisis, a turning point, a crossroads between saving the planet and allowing further ecological catastrophe to unfold. We cannot save and heal the planet in the abstract. We can only heal the planet one watershed at a time. There are 2000 watersheds in the US; 17 in NC. The Yadkin / Pee Dee is 2nd largest in NC at 7,221miles. The Yadkin is our ecological address. This is our watershed, the basin of life that holds and sustains our life and all of life.


Our Partners

Many local organizations and businesses have joined along with us in support of clean water education and awareness. Below are a list of local participants we'd like to give thanks for :

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital - Access to fresh, clean water is essential for good health. Likewise, keeping pollutants from entering waterways prevents serious harm to both public health and to the environment. Hugh Chatham, a not-for-profit community health care network headquartered in Elkin that sees more than 140,000 patient visits a year at its affiliated medical offices and hospital, partners with Watershed NOW to provide public education and visibility about the importance of keeping local waterways clean and safe. For more information, visit HughChatham.org or follow Hugh Chatham on Facebook or Twitter @HughChatham.

Foothills Arts Council - Provides a great venue for events like the Yadkin River exhibit gallery (shown during the summer of 2016), and helps to market and support other organizations such as Elkin Valley Fiddlers Group, whose members play for events promoting trails and clean water initiatives. Click here for more information on the arts council.

Town of Elkin - In response to the water improvement study, the Town of Elkin supports the watershed initiative by adopting an annual Creek Week, is initiating storm water smart runoff solutions, and is exploring a regional watershed stewardship strategy with other municipalities. For a copy of the executive summary for the Elkin water supply protection and restoration plan, please click here. You can also visit the town website elkinnc.org.

Elkin City Schools - With the new STEAM education plan in the Elkin City Schools that will soon include all children K-12, the Elkin Middle School was the first group of students to experience STEAM learning curriculum with hands on experiences. (Then) Middle School Principal Pam Colbert worked with educators to align their curricula to assist in cohesiveness with Watershed NOW events. She now continues this as Principal of the Elkin Elementary School.

The middle school group was involved in using the information gained through the watershed stewardship lessons to conduct a thorough assessment of the Elkin Presbyterian Church grounds to collect data on environmental concerns and to locate sites for solution based practices.  They learned how to contribute to environmental health solutions by improving green spaces, identifying sources of water pollution, and implementing strategies to address sources of pollution.  The information gathered through the assessment was used to guide the placement and design of storm water best management practices for the Church property.

Watershed NOW is excited for a future curriculum at Elkin City Schools to include water stewardship practices at various grade levels of their student's STEAM learning experiences.

Piedmont Triad Regional Council - PTRC is fully invested in the long-term maintenance, restoration, and protection of the natural environment and its water resources.  This is evidences by the PTRC actions and investments in regional water quality and sustainability projects such as the Elkin and Jonesville Water Supply Protection Plan. To learn more about PTRC, click here.

Faith-based Involvement - We are seeking as people of faith to be good stewards of all that the Creator has given us by preserving and conserving Big Elkin Creek and our surrounding watershed. Big Elkin Creek is the life-giving source of clean water for our community but is increasingly at risk from threats of pollution. Many local churches in Elkin have joined our cause and are volunteering their time and energy for clean up days and stewardship. For more information about the Tri-County Ministry click here.

The Winston-Salem Foundation has awarded a $4000 grant to Watershed NOW offering an arts-based learning experience to Elkin High School students during the 2016-2017 school year. This will be conducted by "Authoring Action" of Winston-Salem designed to help students find their voices for action in their community. For more information about the foundation, click here.
Friends of Big Elkin Creek - A new group now forming which includes residents who own property along the Big Elkin Creek. These members will join together to support erosion control and maintain their creek's health together. Learn more.

Our Watershed

These are the rivers that make up our watershed:

  • Yadkin River
  • Mitchell River
  • Ararat River
  • Fisher RIver
  • BigElkin Creek

Elkin Creek Sub-Watershed facts:

  • Part of the Yadkin River basin; 7,213 square miles
  • Headwaters in Alleghany County below Roaring Gap
  • Drains 35 square miles
  • Contains 3 major tributaries
  • Primary drinking source for Elkin

What does watershed stewardship mean?

  • Watershed stewardship means not taking clean water for granted. It means “replacing” ourselves in the essential habitat of all life- our watershed. We have thought of ourselves as above our “habitat” because we turn on our faucets and water flows. We pay our water bill. Why do we need to be concerned about our watershed? We are concerned because water is life. Water is sacred. Fresh, clean water cannot be taken for granted.
  • Watershed stewardship means becoming “students” of our watershed. Celebrating and enjoying it, learning about its treasures and threats, protecting its life forms, its own vitality, finding our place alongside of other species that depend on the watershed and are members of the watershed community.
  • Watershed stewardship is protecting and preserving clean water for our community which is drawn from Big Elkin Creek and the Yadkin River and is becoming compromised by pollution. Watershed stewardship means understanding our connection to other communities that share our watershed. Or as Wendell Berry put it: “Do unto others downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you”

At a local watershed level Big Elkin Creek, Roaring River and the Yadkin River are all facing challenges from non-point source pollution.  Non-point source pollution and the threat it poses on our water is hard to eliminate without communities taking a proactive and protective stance in the watershed.  Church congregations have a special ability to become disciples or students of our watersheds by identifying where the threats are coming from and determining the most effective and locally acceptable way of addressing water quality concerns.  Congregations can use their church as a site to explore methods of watershed restoration by becoming stewards of our environment and installing best management practices.  Church congregations also have the ability to disperse watershed stewardship throughout the community and greatly improve water quality conditions.

Enjoy these upcoming events supporting watershed stewardship

Community involvement and awareness provides families with a better understanding of the importance of clean water for future generations.

Activities have been scheduled for 2016 for all ages to participate in. We hope you'll join us!

Film and Lecture Series - At times we have events scheduled at the Foothills Arts Council, pictured above. Stay tuned for updates on our next film and lecture series.

Earth Day - Elkin Middle School storm drain project has  a storm drain decal program promoting awareness of the storm drains that lead to the Yadkin River. Recently, students from EHS art classes painted a sidewalk mural on Main Street in downtown Elkin, of water flowing into a drain to bring awareness to safe water practices.

Annual Creek Week Restoration event -  Each year we celebrate stream restoration work with the community and the Elkin Middle School students.

Tour de Yadkin events - Join the community in floats down the Yadkin River, along Elkin's downtown district at Crater Park. Everyone welcome. Kayak rentals available during these events.  Learn more at yadkinriverkeeper.org or contact any local outfitter that services Ronda-Elkin-Rockford.

We have also started a kayaking group that enjoys the Yadkin River on quarterly basis. Please contact us via this website if you are interested in joining us.


Watershed NOW Community Updates and Interviews:
WIFM Radio (Audio files)
Interview on November 26, 2016 - 20 minute audiohttp://www.wifmradio.com/Features/PeopleDoingGood.aspx  (links to page on WIFM; click on November 26th Watershed Now). 


Update from November 2016:

Article September 2016 

This is about Friends of Big Elkin Creek partnering with landowners along the creek, and Watershed NOW partnering with Authoring Action and Elkin High School 9th graders:


Article December 2015