Voice for the River

Sound Rivers was created by the merger of two of the state’s oldest grassroots conservation organizations, combining the deep history of advocacy of the Neuse River Foundation, established in 1980, and the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, established in 1981.

Prior to the founding of these two organizations, people had noticed a fundamental change on the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico rivers. Fish and crab, so abundant in previous decades, had declined. Forests of sea grass had disappeared, seemingly overnight. Fish kills began to be a regular occurrence.

The cause seemed to be cumulative: development, more farming and industry, more wastewater plants along the length of the rivers, from the Piedmont to the Pamlico Sound, were all contributing to the downward spiral of the rivers’ health. Those concerned with the decline they’d witnessed took action, taking the health of the rivers in their own hands, forming these grassroots organizations to serve as watchdogs for the waterways, holding polluters and the state accountable.

Decades later, boards and staff of both organizations understood the issues affecting both rivers were the same, and in 2015, the Neuse River Foundation and the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation merged to become Sound Rivers, strengthening our impact within the state and becoming a powerful advocate for our most cherished waterways.