Yadkin Riverkeeper Announces Opening of New Winston-Salem Office

Winston Salem, NC, February 21, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Yadkin Riverkeeper® is proud to announce the opening of its new office located at 308 Patterson Ave. in Winston-Salem. To celebrate the new office opening, the Yadkin Riverkeeper, Dean Naujoks, will host a community open house and free wine tasting Tuesday Feb. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Krankies Coffee on E. 3rd St. There will be a membership sign-up booth with T-shirts and maps of the Yadkin River. The community open house is sponsored by Green Drinks, with treats provided by Karma Catering and organic wine from Carolina Heritage Vineyard and Winery, owned by Pat Colwell, a Yadkin Riverkeeper board member.

Naujoks will speak about his goals for 2010 and highlights of Yadkin Riverkeeper’s accomplishments in 2009, including such subjects as:

- A call for the City of Thomasville to pay for testing, and improvements to an aging sewage system at the site of a raw sewage spill at North Hamby Creek. The sewage spill occurred on July 13, 2009, but was not reported for 20 days. Almost 16 million gallons, more than the oil spilled by Exxon Valdez, flowed into High Rock Lake and potentially impacted the public health of recreational users in the lake as well as customers in the town of Salisbury who use the lake as their source of drinking water. Naujoks wants to make sure steps are in place so that a similar situation will not occur again.

- A court injunction issued in May 2009 against the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources for issuing a 401 Water Quality Certification to Alcoa for the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project despite many water quality violations associated with Alcoa’s oversight of the Project. Alcoa needs the state certification in order to proceed with a federal application to continue to exploit the Yadkin for the next 50 years for tens of millions in hydroelectricity profits despite the firm’s refusal to address low dissolved oxygen levels from the dams cancer-causing PCBs found in the water, and former smelting operations near the river prompting a Fish Consumption Advisory. A final decision on the injunction is expected to be delivered this year, with an appeal likely from the losing side.

- The opposition to a proposed $140 million Fibrowatt LLC incinerator/power plant in Surry County near the Yadkin. The plant would burn chicken waste, and such incinerators emit more pollution than a newly-built coal-burning power plant, according to the N.C. Division of Air Quality. If approved, Fibrowatt could incinerate poultry litter and construction waste hauled in from hundreds of miles away. Many local groups have raised legitimate environmental, social, and economic concerns about the plant, including the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, the NAACP, the Coalition of Sensible Citizens, and the Coalition for Responsible Economic Development. The project is still pending final approval in Surry County.

“This office opening occurs after a year of great challenges and great excitement,” Naujoks said. “I know we have made a real impact in making North Carolinians think seriously about the contamination threats facing one of our state’s greatest resources that is affecting everything from aquatic life to recreational activities on the Yadkin River. With more development and population increases, we must make sure that our actions are not destroying the river’s water quality for future generations.”

The board of the Yadkin Riverkeeper Inc. environmental group, which formed in 2007, hired Naujoks to serve as an advocate for the river in the fall of 2008. He began his duties on November 14th of that year after having served as Riverkeeper for the Upper Neuse River (the main water supply for Raleigh and Wake County in North Carolina) since 2001. Before that, he worked for the N.C. Wildlife Federation for eight years.

As Riverkeeper for the Upper Neuse, Naujoks started a program called Muddy Water Watch, which trained residents to look for sediment runoff from construction sites. It is the biggest source of contamination in waterways across America, yet there is very little accountability among violators when the law is being broken. Naujoks plans to discuss the launch of that campaign for the Yadkin basin this fall at the open house.

“We can and should prevent a lot of pollution from affecting the Yadkin River,” concluded Naujoks. “I am so inspired by the committed citizens who share this goal, and I encourage all interested parties to come out Tuesday night for an evening of good food, drinks and conversation about how we can and will make this resource one of the finest waterways in the world.”

Media Contact:
Dean Naujoks
Yadkin Riverkeeper®
308 Patterson Ave.
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Yadkin Riverkeeper
Dean Naujoks