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Our Vision: A completely protected New River as a treasured national resource.

NCNR Mission Statement

NCNR protects land critical for preserving important wildlife habitat, rare and endangered species, cornerstones of biodiversity, and working farmland along the New River and its tributaries, through voluntary acquisitions and conservation easements.

NCNR works with private landowners to stabilize eroding stream banks, restore riparian buffers to preventing further erosion, and to create healthy riparian habitat for wildlife and aquatic life.

NCNR works to increase citizens’ capacity to defend and protect the New River watershed, by working with local citizens to identify and address specific land and water use activities that threaten the New River’s health, wildlife, and scenery.

History of NCNR

NCNR was organized in 1974 to stop the construction of two dams on the New River. The proposed projects would have flooded 42,000 acres in North Carolina and southwestern Virginia. The dams would have displaced at a minimum 2,700 people, 893 dwellings, 42 summer cabins, 10 industrial establishments, 23 commercial facilities, five post offices, 15 churches, and 12 cemeteries. (Click here for map)

With the destruction of so much land and property – and with the unaccountable damage to the New River itself, the fight became a national one.

NCNR was successful in 1976, when a 26.5-mile section of the River was designated a Federal Scenic River. NCNR continued to function as an advocate for the New as a volunteer organization. Over the years NCNR has worked with citizen groups to stop other ill-conceived projects on the River like a power plant, flood plain development and a prison.

In 1991, NCNR reorganized and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The reorganization expanded NCNR’s mission by adding a land protection dimension to river advocacy. NCNR acquired its first conservation easement in 1993. To date NCNR has protected over 5,500 acres of land important to the health and natural resource values of the New River.

In response to rapid development and concerns about water quality, in 1998 NCNR began the River Builder program to help landowners stabilize eroding stream and riverbanks. The program has continued to expand; NCNR is now doing full restoration projects in addition to the stabilization work. To date NCNR has stabilized or restored more than 55 miles of stream and riverbank.

The NCNR Staff

George Santucci, Executive Director
George Santucci has been the Executive Director for the National Committee for the New River since mid-November 2005. From April 1998 to November 2005 he worked for North Carolina Cooperative Extensions Ashe Center as a 4H Program Associate, Outdoor Education. While with Extension, George started 4H Blue Ridge Conservation Corps a workforce preparation, academic and behavior improvement program for Ashe County high school students. BRCC did trail construction, park and river clean-ups, campsite construction and river restoration projects. He was introduced to the New River while running 4H's summer Wilderness Experience camping program.

Prior to his work with Extension, George was a high school Math teacher in the Bronx, an Instructor with the North Carolina Outward Bound School and an Adjunct Instructor in Appalachian State University's Recreation Management Department. He has paddled, biked and climbed along the New River. His passion for environmental conservation was intensified during four months spent leading Outward Bound Courses in the Florida Everglades. Seeing the wholesale alteration of an entire ecosystem as rare and unique as the Everglades lead him to dedicating his professional life to the preservation and protection of natural wild places.

Courtney Wait, Advocacy Coordinator
Courtney should have gills. Or at least some fins. It’s not like she grew up on a coastline—she’s originally from the middle of North Carolina—Cary to be specific. But she quickly immersed herself in the world of H2O, focusing her college studies at UNC Asheville on water quality issues. She surfaced having earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in pollution control.

Along the way, Courtney gathered experience in hydrology, limnology, and physical/chemical/biological testing. She even founded a campus recycling organization, and expanded its activities to include the local business community. And, as an intern at North Carolina Clean Water, she focused her learning in the field on sediment and erosion control.

Is it any wonder she found her way to NCNR? If you’ve talked with Courtney, you’ve probably noticed how contagious her passion for protecting our irreplaceable water resources is. And, she’s a real “doer” when it comes to protecting the New River. Over the summer, Courtney organized our efforts in North Carolina and Virginia for the annual Big Sweep River Clean Up. She recruited volunteers, sponsors, in-kind contributions, and jumped in the water herself that day, fishing out her share of tires, as well as other interesting trash.

Lynn Caldwell, Restoration Director
Lynn is a Granville County, North Carolina native, with a Watauga-county grandfather; growing up she visited our North Carolina service area frequently. She's a graduate of NC State and also earned a Degree in Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University. She practiced veterinary medicine for 20 years. In 2002, Lynn began employment with NCNR as an advocate in the fight to stop a pipeline and power plant affecting the New in Carroll County, Virginia. Since 2004 she has worked with the River Builder Program and numerous streambank restoration projects to restore and enhance waterways in the New River watershed. Lynn and her husband, Paul, have two children, Sarah and Jeff.

Carol Coulter, Director of Operations
An experienced conservation professional, Coulter most recently served as Executive Director of High Country Conservancy in Boone. In addition to her conservation background, Carol brings a strong background in non-profit management.

A New York native, she moved to Ashe County in North Carolina in 1995, after having worked in outdoor/leadership programs at UNC Charlotte and the NC Outward Bound School. In Ashe County she served as an administrator for the Ashe County Partnership for Children and directed the Family Central project that converted a vacated high school into a community center that currently houses family support services, a business incubator, parks and recreation programs, and for the past year, the offices of NCNR.

Carol and her husband, Lon, live on a farm in Ashe County where they operate an agri-tourism business offering workshops on blacksmithing, broom tying, hide tanning and also a goat dairy.

In addition to directing day-to-day operations activities, Carol works extensively with landowners on projects to protect their lands that are important to the well-being of the New River. “As a farmer myself, and as someone who loves the New River, I’m really looking forward to helping preserve the irreplaceable natural resources of the New River throughout the watershed,” said Coulter.

Laura Green, Administrative Assisstant
Laura Green is NCNR's administrative assistant and master of the front desk. She's likely to answer the phone when you call, will help you find the right person to answer your question, and she can get that much-needed t-shirt or hat in the mail to you. Laura, her husband Jim, and Molly the very spoiled canine, live on the North Fork of the New River in Ashe County. She's originally from the Fayetteville, NC, area but spent much of her adult working life in Raleigh. A veteran of the high tech world, Laura worked for IBM and Nortel Networks for 20+ years. Laura and Jim have been on the North Fork since 1995; full time for the last two years. She loves the New River -- that's why she loves NCNR!

Brad Baskette (a.k.a 12 Grain), Stewardship Coordinator
Brad is a native of Northern Virginia, having grown up immersed in the suburban gridlock of Washington, D.C. As an Eagle Scout, he developed his appreciation for the outdoors early in life by hiking, canoeing, backpacking, and camping. At Virginia Tech, Brad found his home in the Natural Resource Conservation and Forestry programs where he spent countless lab hours cruising timber and nurturing his new-found love of the New River. Leaving the watershed in 2008, Brad attended graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University, honing in on developing his GIS skills while earning a Master�s in environmental and urban planning.

It wasn�t long after his tenure in Richmond, VA that Brad heard the New River calling him back �home.� During the late summer of 2010, he joined NCNR as an AmeriCorps volunteer focusing on assisting NCNR with land protection and stewardship program areas. Now an official staff member of our team, Brad currently serves as our Stewardship Coordinator where he is grateful for the opportunities to work with such wonderful landowners and members who share his passion for protecting, enhancing, and recreating on the New.

NCNR Board Members (return to top)

Russ Moxley, President
Dr. Robert Lovett, Vice President
Bob Kelley, Treasurer
Martha Stephenson, Secretary
Jonathan Halsey
Mike Horn

Julio Stephens
Dixie Leonard
John Pine
Larry McGee
Dr. David Wallace
Anna Ziegler
























































































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