Neuse Riverkeeper attends West Coast conference

Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop was on the West Coast over the weekend, representing Sound Rivers and North Carolina Riverkeepers at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.

The four-day conference was held in Eugene, Oregon, and was held in person for the first time since the pandemic.

“The conference was on my radar, because I used to live in Eugene and presented a few times at the conference for my previous work,” Sam said. “Being at this conference for the first time in years really reinforced how beneficial I think it is to attend these events and build bridges with national and international allies doing similar work to our own.”

Sam officially represented Waterkeepers Carolina and said she made some great connections with people stopping by the WKC table, including fellow riverkeepers from the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and East Coast, allies such as the Wild Fish Conservancy, and even folks from the Center for Biological Diversity who recently got the endemic Neuse River waterdog listed as an endangered species a few years ago.

Sam said she learned a lot from attending the panel discussions, including those on factory farm biogas, co-presented by North Carolina’s very own Blakely Hildebrand with SELC (Southern Environmental Law Center), and another on the implications of the Sackett Supreme Court case to wetlands and ephemeral waterways.

“I connected with some folks who are involved in impressive fights against fracked gas pipelines and who are excited about joining in our work on RNG/factory farm biogas, and I was pretty inspired by presentations from indigenous youth on the power of grassroots organizing and ecological forest management,” Sam said. “Suffice it to say, there was no shortage of mentally stimulating content, and there is truly a surplus of incredible folks out there doing this work.”

Sam said she’s aiming to get a crew of North Carolina Riverkeepers to next year’s conference, and put together a panel of their own on the issues facing North Carolina waterways.