Paddling the Little River in NC: America’s 4th Most Endangered River


It’s hard to believe Little River is #4 on American Rivers’ America’s Most Endangered Rivers list, and even harder to believe the reason is because this beautiful area is threatened by dam construction. Several weeks ago I accompanied local reporters, the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper Alissa Bierma, and a dozen concerned citizens on a paddling trip up the Little River to where the dam would be built. We saw dozens of birds, fish jumping, beautiful forestland, unique river plants and turtles galore.

The dam is proposed by the City of Raleigh and Wake County, and would be huge, expensive and unnecessary. Further, it would inundate miles of this beautiful, pristine river and hundreds of acres of high quality wetlands.

The goal of the dam is to provide additional water supply, but the big catch is that the new dam simply is not needed. At least four alternatives have been identified– each separately would provide as much water as the dam, at a fraction of the cost and environmental impact. American Rivers urges a harder look at these alternatives.

Read more about the Little River and its current threat, and take action on our America’s Most Endangered Rivers page about the Little River.

The reporters were impressed, and the next day we were fortunate to have a great article in the front page of the local paper. A follow-up press conference on the issue attracted the attention of local news stations too! Then last weekend I again joined Alissa and volunteers for a River Clean-up. Not too surprisingly, we didn’t find much trash, a tribute to how clean and nice the Little River currently is.

See additional pictures of our paddling trips on the Little River in this Flickr set. Stay tuned — we’ll post a video of our trip soon!