Kemp Burdette

Cape Fear Riverkeeper
North Carolina, United States

Kemp Burdette is a Waterkeeper Warrior.

The Cape Fear River Basin is home to massive feeding operations for over 9 million hogs and 300 million chickens. All of that livestock creates a lot of waste. And guess where that waste goes…

Directly into the Cape Fear River Basin.


Even though some people rely on it for drinking water.

That’s just one of the reasons why Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette fights for the health of the basin.

Here’s another: Power plants have been leaking tons of toxic waste into the river for years and years. And one more: The Cape Fear River flows directly into the Atlantic Ocean… making the issues of one River in North Carolina spread far beyond its shores.

Kemp was born and raised along this river. That’s why he fights so hard to protect it. Monitoring pollution… Raising awareness… Taking legal action to ensure tougher regulations and fund costly cleanups.

He has restored hope for the people who rely on the Cape Fear River for swimming, drinking, and fishing…

Because when it comes to fighting for his river…Kemp has no fear.

Listen to Kemp’s story:

Photographed by © Colby Katz, courtesy of Culture Trip, with story voiced by Gordon Ramsay

Waterkeeper Magazine

Learn more about Kemp in the two-part 20th Anniversary edition of Waterkeeper Magazine.

Return to the full Waterkeeper Warriors gallery.