Neuse named River of the Year at Goldsboro event

A bend in the Neuse River at Old Waynesboro Park in Goldsboro, where the Neuse River of the Year event was held.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Neuse River was named American Rivers’ River of the Year — a celebration of the work that has been done to improve the health of the river and the work yet to come.

Sound Rivers Executive Director Heather Deck joined a “who’s who” of environmentalism for the announcement made at Monday’s event on the banks of the Neuse River. Along with Heather, speakers included American Rivers President Tom Kiernan, N.C. Rep. John Bell, New Bern activist and director of Peletah Ministries Dr. Dawn Baldwin Gibson, Congressman G.K. Butterfield, Congresswoman Deborah Ross, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth Biser and EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who returned to his hometown of the Goldsboro for the event at Old Waynesboro Park.

“We’ve come a long way since the early days of dumping toxins directly into the Neuse, but many still bear the burdens of pollution, outdated infrastructure and flooding,” Heather told the assembled crowd. “Working together to address these issues in our watershed, that work begins with our most vulnerable communities. What we need is greater investment in our communities.”

She asked that legislators — state and federal — to prioritize investing in: safeguarding communities from flooding and helping the Neuse watershed become resilient to climate change; updating sewage infrastructure, starting in our most vulnerable communities on the Neuse; investing $20 million in the state’s Swine Buyout Program to remove toxic pollution such as swine waste from flood-prone areas of the Neuse and its tributaries; and restoring funding to our regulatory agencies so they are fully staffed and equipped to strongly enforce protections for the Neuse watershed.

View photos of the event below!

You can make the same request of state legislators through our Action Alert – WRITE NOW! and help us write the next chapter in the story of a healthy Neuse River!

Read Heather’s full comments here.

Watch WITN’s coverage of the event here.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan arrives to the River of the Year event.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan returned to his hometown of Goldsboro for the Neuse River of the Year announcement.
Southern Environmental Law Center attorneys Kelly Moser (left) and Julie Youngman were among the 100+ attendees at Monday’s event.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan chats with U.S. Congresswoman Deborah Ross and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Elizabeth Biser, while Sound Rivers Executive Director Heather Deck speaks with N.C. Rep. John Bell behind them.
American Rivers President Tom Kiernan welcomes guests to the River of the Year event on the banks of the Neuse River at Old Waynesboro Park in Goldsboro.
N.C. Rep. John Bell welcomes the crowd to his hometown of Goldsboro.
Sound Rivers Executive Director Heather Deck talks about the honor of Neuse River of the Year as EPA Administrator Michael Regan looks on.
Dr. Dawn Baldwin Gibson shares her experience and effort to increase resiliency on the Neuse River.
U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan, U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield and U.S. Congresswoman Deborah Ross.
American Rivers President Tom Kiernan greets EPA Administrator Michael Regan at the podium.
An unexpected guest at the Neuse River of the Year announcement.
Sound Rivers Executive Director Heather Deck poses with EPA Administrator Michael Regan (while Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell is interviewed in the background).
The Neuse River at Old Waynesboro Park in Goldsboro.