Now nature lovers can explore the Catawba River from the comfort of their smartphone, and even help protect it.
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation has a new smartphone app. Available in the Apple (Catawba Water Watcher) and Google Play (Catawba Riverkeeper Water Watcher) stores, the app allows users to report pollution and trash locations, or when users can make best use of the lakes and river for recreation.
“Especially with reference information, like recreation access points and lake levels, this is an app that can be enjoyed by boaters, kayakers and citizens interested in protecting our waterways whether they are on our river and its lakes, or inland around the creeks that feed the main stem,” said Riverkeeper Sam Perkins.
The Water Watcher app has eight features — a pollution reporter, trash logger, basin explorer map, enforcement contacts, lake levels, dam release schedules, and the Riverkeeper website and social media.
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“We believe mobile apps can help nonprofits, not just with fundraising and organizing their members, but with directly achieving their core mission,” said Brett Crossley of Asheville, N.C. -based Shiny Creek, the web and mobile development firm that worked with the foundation.
The foundation, now 20 years old, has a history of connecting residents to Lake Wylie. The lake has a Covekeeper program in York County, and a separate action group through its Covekeepers that work on advocacy issues. On Oct. 7, more than 650 volunteers came out on a rainy morning for the 15th annual Riversweep collecting more than 29,000 pounds of trash from the lake -- from tires to lumber to recyclables.
“The Water Watcher app helps people explore and fall in love with this river, as well as make it easier and more efficient to get pollution documented and reported,” Perkins said. “This app ensures we receive critical information, such as location details, while making it convenient for the user to submit the report and for us to handle it.”
In all, the foundation serves about 5,000 square miles of Catawba River basin.