The Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition is a 20-year-old private, nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining good water quality in creeks, lakes and rivers that flow into the Hiwassee River. The Coalition works with local landowners, governments, schools and businesses to understand and address threats to our water resources. With a staff of knowledgeable professionals, the Coalition plans and implements volunteer-powered projects to solve problems before water quality is beyond reasonable recovery. The Coalition also monitors water quality across the region and conducts education programs for all ages about water quality concerns and what individuals can do to help.
Over the past 15 years, the Coalition has brought $6.8 million in grant funding into the upper Hiwassee River watershed. Approximately 93% of these funds were spent for on-the-ground projects and programs to facilitate water quality improvements in areas where it has declined! Less than seven percent went to the Coalition for operating support.
Today, grants for the Coalition’s work are more competitive than ever! And although we are confident in our ability to continue to secure some grant funding for projects and programs, most grants will no longer pay for staff salaries or operating support. If the Coalition is to remain viable, membership dues, proceeds from fundraising events, and contributions from major donors must be the foundation of our effort, not grants. Also, the more local support we have, the more likely we are to receive larger donations from private foundations and corporations. If every family in our area joined for only $30/year and brought a friend to one of our fun events, we could continue to avoid the water quality problems in so many other parts of our country and the world.
Please join us in our work to sustain good water quality in our rivers, lakes and streams.