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Catawba River Basin

By: Hayley Boyles and Erin


The Catawba Indians and their
ancestors have lived in the Catawba
River Basin for more than 10,000 years.
Their name means people in the fork
of the river.
During the 19th century, the Catawba
River Basin was briefly made navigable
through the construction of a canal
During the 20th century, dams along
the river provided the energy and
water needed for textile mills and other

History Cont.
In 2006, the Catawba River Basin became
the center of water use controversy between
the residents of the Catawba Watershed and
Cabarrus County, NC.
Starting in early autumn of 2007, the
Catawba River Basin began to feel the effects
of an extreme drought.
In April 2008, the river was named the
most endangered river in America by the
Environmental Group.

That wildlife that live here include
Wolves bears mussels beavers spider lily
bald eagle

and the rare Edmunds snaketail and


Physical Features
The Catawba River rises in the Appalachian
Mountains and falls in the piedmont.
The main channel of the river basin is impounded by
the 7 reservoirs that start at Lake James(in the
mountains) and runs to Lake Wylie which straddles to
the SC border.
In total, the river basin makes up 9,389 miles.
The river basin includes Grandfather Mountain, the
Pisgah National Forest, and Linville Falls, one of the
most prettiest cascades in the Appalachian Mountains.
Contains a large national wilderness area near its

Towns & Populations

14 counties make up the Catawba
River Basin such as Alexander, Burke,
Caldwell, Catawba, and Watauga.
Alexander is the second most
populated region within the counties.
Approximately 1,000,000 people live
in the Catawba River Basin.

Location in the state

South Western region of the
It takes up 8.1% of the state of NC
It extends from North Carolina to
South Carolina

Recreation and
You can explore the sights of the Catawba
River Basin through walking on the trails,
hiking, and biking.
You can paddle in creeks, ponds, streams,
rivers, and lakes such as Lake Norman.
The upper Catawba river trial is an 82 mile
route for canoes, kayaks, biking, and boats.
Some sights on the river basin include the
Catawba River Greenway park, Crowders
Mountain State Park, and Lookout Shoals Lake.

Catawba River Basin Today

Today, the Catawba River Basin is
one of the fastest growing areas in the
Today, it is used for power production,
industry, agriculture, drinking water,
recreation, and electricity.
16% of the water is impaired by
polluted runoff.

Additional Facts
Several Catawba lakes are polluted with nitrogen
and phosphorus due to storm runoff. Some nutrients
are good for the water but others cause algae and
leads to loss of water taste and loss of aquatic life.
The largest reservoir in the state is Lake Norman
which is part of the Catawba River Basin.
Many clear streams in the upper reaches of the
basin have received state and national attention for
their beauty.
The Catawba River Basin contains the most major
dams of any NC river basin.

The End