Make no mistake about it, responsibility for the continuance of fish dying from low levels of dissolved oxygen in the Yadkin River lies squarely on the shoulders of the Yadkin Riverkeeper organization!
They've tried to blame it on Alcoa. But Alcoa did not cause it. The waters which enter the Yadkin Project are low in dissolved oxygen. It's the natural state of the river. 'Sides, in a moment of abject ignorance, the new Yadkin Riverkeeper stated to the Stanly News and Press “Large amounts of dissolved oxygen emitted from Alcoa’s dams have been detected in the Yadkin. Dissolved oxygen is detrimental to the survival of fish.” (Will Scott, January 2015).
They've tried to take credit for stopping it. But, the terms of the Relicensing Settlement Agreement which Alcoa and other stakeholders signed in May 2007 contained provisions for installing technology in the dams which would improve dissolved oxygen levels. That was two years before a Yadkin Riverkeeper existed! The provisions called for improvements to be made in the Narrows Dam in 2008-2010, and in High Rock Dam in 2010 - 2012. (Improvements in the other two dams will be made if needed. However, it is anticipated that improvements at High Rock and Narrows will carry through to the remainder of the project.) Had Alcoa been issued its license in 2008, those improvements would have already been finished, and would have been in operation for at least three years by this time.
What has delayed these improvements being made? The Yadkin Riverkeeper, which has tied up 401 Certificates in court, and intervened in the state's two-year losing battle to claim ownership of the Yadkin riverbed, delaying Alcoa's new license, and all its benefits to the river and the surrounding area.
The Yadkin Riverkeeper also opposed Alcoa capping previously contaminated sediment in Badin Lake (although now they're trying to take credit for it).
And let's not forget that the Yadkin Riverkeeper opposed the jobs Alcoa tried so hard to bring to Badin. It still escapes me why that would fall under a riverkeeper's mission.
The Yadkin Riverkeeer claims to be effective "clean water champions." And yet, over and over again, their actions have harmed clean water in the Yadkin River basin, and the people who live here.
This organization needs to stop spending its time and money trying to 'save face' and face up to what it has done. The Yadkin River needs and deserves a better voice.