The Lumber River watershed comprises 1,750 square miles of which 1,631 square miles is in North Carolina and 119 square miles is in South Carolina. Its headwaters, Naked Creek and Drowning Creek, are designated High Quality Waters/Outstanding Resource Waters by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. All 115 miles of the Lumber River in North Carolina have been designated as a North Carolina Natural and Scenic River by the State, and 81 miles have received designation as a National Wild and Scenic River. Almost a dozen federally endangered species are found in the watershed, with dozens of plants and animals listed as significant in the state of North Carolina. However, large portions of the watershed are heavily impacted by industrial farming, the absence of adequate riparian buffers, and stormwater runoff. Pipelines, coal ash, climate change, industrial sites, and the lack of community education and advocacy also threaten the watershed. The Lumber River watershed is home to approximately 200,000 people, including the Lumbee people with its Tribal Council, a majority of which live in rural communities - including some of these states’ most disadvantaged communities attributed to low health rankings, economic well-being, and multi-year flooding impacts. The Lumber River Waterkeeper advocates to protect clean water for our families and our future.
Jefferson Currie II is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and a native North Carolinian. Jeff grew up east of Raleigh, North Carolina, although his roots on both sides of his family are in southeastern North Carolina. He is a graduate of UNC-Pembroke (BA, American Indian Studies) and is pursuing a post-graduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Jeff started work with Winyah Rivers in August 2018 as Lumber River Advocate and conducted extensive field and aerial investigations of flooding and potential water quality conditions in the Lumber River watershed during and after Hurricane Florence. Jeff previously worked at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh where he curated numerous exhibits, and while enrolled in the Master of Arts program in Folklore at UNC Chapel Hill, Jeff researched Lumbee Indian traditions of fishing in the Lumber River Watershed. In recent years, Jeff has worked with many different communities while also doing research on native plants in Eastern North Carolina. Jeff continues his work protecting clean water and healthy communities in this important watershed as the Lumber Riverkeeper, leading education and advocacy efforts to protect swimmable, drinkable, fishable water for all communities in the Lumber River watershed.
PO Box 261954
Conway, South Carolina 29528-6054