Friends of the Lower Greenbrier River will use their portion for staffing to support all their activities and programs. They currently rely on a VISTA worker, an arrangement that can continue if the campaign is a success.
Chanlett says the Greenbrier's most immediate problem is the formation of large amounts of algae in the river during the summer months because of phosphorus from sewage treatment plants.
"The algae forms in such large blooms that it gets in the way of boating, fishing and swimming and it's generally unpleasant for people using the river," he says.
In cooperation with its sister organization, the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, the Friends is addressing the issue with water authorities to try to upgrade the systems to release less phosphorus.
Another problem is E. coli, which comes from various sources, including livestock and dysfunctional septic systems. The Muddy Creek watershed is a point of focus for the Friends in this respect. They have a project with the soil conservation district for upgrading septic systems and cost sharing to exclude livestock from grazing along the creeks.
Both Friends and NCNR began in protest of certain projects that would have significantly impacted the rivers -- a hydroelectric impoundment in the case of the New and a pressure-treated wood plant in the case of the Greenbrier. They have grown into organizations with a wider focus on watershed health.
Chanlett says he feels good about the direction the country has moved since passing the Clean Water Act in 1972, but that maintaining that positive change requires continued efforts at the local level.
"Publicly, we've invested in rivers, and it shows. More people can live along them and spend their days enjoying them," he says."But it takes local organizations like ours to sustain the energy to take care of places, keep government bodies accountable, and organize citizen activities along the rivers."