Moon over Lake James
Oct. 19, 2021, 1:39 p.m.

First Annual Lake James Watershed Symposium

Join LJEA and Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation for the

First Annual Lake James Watershed Symposium

Examining the State of the Watershed

Planning for Tomorrow

November 10, 2021 8:00 am to 4:30 pm at the Foothills Higher Education Center, 2128 S. Sterling Street, Morganton, NC

From the mountains above Old Fort, to the west slope of Grandfather Mountain, the Lake James Watershed contains over 250,000 acres of forests, streams, rivers, and lakes that provide beauty, recreation, and clean water to its residents and many thousands who visit each year. This one-day symposium is dedicated to helping protect and enhance the long-term environmental health of Lake James and its watershed. It will be a day full of information about current watershed conditions and opportunities to get informed about, and engage in, planning for future generations.


Check-in: 8:00 - 8:30

Welcome 8:30 - 8:45

Morning Sessions: 8:45 - 12:00 - Examining the State of the Watershed

  • Overview of LJEA science and education programs - Sophie McCarthy (LJEA)
  • Trends in Water Quality - Ann Marie Traylor (Environmental Quality Institute)
  • Nutrients and Algal Production in Lake James - Mark Brenner (Warren Wilson College)
  • Macroinvertebrate Analysis - Levi Reece (Reece Environmental, LLC)
  • Wetlands Assessments and Research - Josh Holbrook (Montreat College)
  • Ecotoxicology studies in the Lake James and Wilson Creek watersheds - Shea Tuberty (Appalachian State University)
  • DEQ Data and Observations (Catawba River Basin Plan) - Jim Hawhee, NC Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Resources, Basin Planning Branch

Lunch 12:00 - 1:00 (poster session open with student presenters)

Afternoon Sessions (1:00-2:45 PM) Planning for Tomorrow

  • Lake James Watershed Assessment - Overview and Access - Todd Bell (LJEA President)
  • Prospective Aquatic Restoration Projects in the Little Tennessee River Basin- Jack Henderson (RiverLink)
  • Conservation in the Lake James Watershed -Andrew Kota (Foothills Conservancy)
  • Northern Catawba Basin Planning Grant Update and Overview -Grant Buckner (CRF)

Panel Discussion (moderated by John Searby, CRF) (3:00-4:00)

Engaging the Public - A discussion with representatives from:

  • Lake James Environmental Association - Sophie McCarthy, Executive Director
  • Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation - Brandon Jones, Riverkeeper
  • Foothills Conservancy - Andrew Kota, Executive Director
  • Duke Energy - Michael Abney, Sr Environmental Resource Manager and Dr. Brett Hartis, Lead Scientist
  • Western Piedmont Council of Governments - John Wear, Assistant Director of Community and Regional Planning
  • Catawba Wateree Water Management Group- Brad Boris, Water Resources Director, City of Morganton

Award of Poster Prizes and Adjourn - 4:30

Please join us for Happy Hour at the Catawba Brewery immediately following the event!

Registration is limited. Register today at:

Please email [email protected] with any questions.