About Sound Rivers

Sound Rivers is a nonprofit organization that guards the health of the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River Basins.

We unite with concerned citizens to monitor, protect and preserve the watersheds covering nearly one-quarter of North Carolina.

Founded in 2015 with the merger of two of the state’s oldest grassroots conservation organizations, Sound Rivers combines the deep history of advocacy of the Neuse River Foundation, established in 1980, and the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, established in 1981. This union to become Sound Rivers creates a powerful advocate protecting our most cherished waterways and bolsters our impact within the State of North Carolina.

Our Mission

To monitor and protect the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River watersheds covering nearly one quarter of North Carolina, and to preserve the health and beauty of the river basin through environmental justice.

Sound Rivers is committed to the goal of environmental justice and equity for all people in our watershed. We are a stronger organization and our work to protect our waters is more successful when our organization represents the full diversity of people living within our watersheds. We recognize the benefits and impact of diverse leadership, building of trust in impacted communities, and programs that are inclusive to ensure we serve the needs of all those communities within the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River basins.

We believe all people should have access to enjoyment of the natural world and a powerful voice in decisions that may affect their environment and health. No group of people should bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences, nor should they have less access to beneficial environmental goods.

We acknowledge that historically Sound Rivers has been a predominantly white organization. While we are working to change that, we are committed to ongoing activities focused on learning, reflection, adaptation and intentional and focused outreach to diverse communities to ensure our work reflects, respects, engages, and includes communities of color.

Pamlico-Tar River Basin

The Tar River begins as a freshwater stream in the Piedmont near Roxboro, and widens as it runs east to meet the Pamlico River near Washington before draining into the Pamlico Sound.

Neuse River Basin

The Neuse River stretches 248 miles from Falls Lake in the Piedmont to its mouth at the Pamlico Sound and the state’s original capital of New Bern. It serves nearly one-sixth of the state’s population.


Our three full-time RIVERKEEPERS® monitor our region’s waterways, serving as scientific experts and educational resources to schools and communities living in the watershed.