Roanoke River Basin

By: Carter Gentle, December 2, 2014, Red #6

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Total Miles of Streams and Rivers

There are 2,213 miles of rivers and streams in the Roanoke River Basin.
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Rare and Endangered Animals!

There are a lot of different animals in the Roanoke River Basin. There are several which are very rare and/or in danger of becoming extinct. Some of these are:
  • Red Cockaded Woodpecker
  • Shortnosed Sturgeon
  • Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat
  • Wehrle's Salamander
  • Rusty Sidesucker
  • Bald Eagle

Major Towns and Cities

Most of the Roanoke River Basin is rural area or is part of the Roanoke River Wildlife Refuge. There are many small towns and several larger towns in this basin:
  • Walnut Cove
  • Hanging Rock State Park
  • Danbury
  • King
  • Eden
  • Henderson
  • Roanoke Rapids
  • Halifax
  • Plymouth
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Counties in the Basin

There are 17 counties in the Roanoke River Basin. Only 40% of the Basin is in North Carolina. Major counties include: Forsyth, Granville, Stokes, Surry, Halifax and Rockingham.

Other Water Features

In the Roanoke River Basin, there are many different water features. There are swamps, Cypress-Tupelo Forests, Estuaries, Reservoirs, Lakes and the Albemarle Sound. The Albemarle Sound, Devil's Gut Swamp and the Kerr Lake are all beautiful and very different!

Where and What I'd Do!

A bit of personal background: I like to Kayak! I go kayaking every summer on a marsh on the Outer Banks and also kayak different rivers whenever possible. I would choose to go Kayaking on the 128 mile Roanoke River Paddle Trail, which begins at Roanoke Rapids and ends at the Albemarle Sound.
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Three Fascinating Facts!

  1. It is the widest floodplain in North Carolina, up to 5 miles wide in places!
  2. The Roanoke River carries more water than any other river in North Carolina!
  3. It is the largest intact ecosystem (Bottomlands, Cypress-Tupelo Forests and Estuaries) on the East Coast!
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Water Quality

  • The Roanoke River Basin is protected by the Nature Conservancy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. This protects much of the water in the basin.
  • 100,000 acres make up the Roanoke River Wildlife Refuge and the water here is highly protected.
  • In 2014, Duke Energy's coal ash holding ponds broke and contaminated the Dan River, making the water undrinkable for a long time. The clean up of this coal ash spill is just getting started.
  • The NC State University Water Quality Program says only 9% of the streams are impaired and 27% are threatened by runoff or sediment.
  • The Virginia part of the basin has had several bans on eating fish caught in their rivers due to runoff from Uranium mining.
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Where I've Been!

I've been to Walnut Cove, Hanging Rock, Danbury, King, and the Albemarle Sound. I have also been in Forsyth County, Guilford County, Surry and Stokes County. Raven Knob Scout Camp is also within the Roanoke River Basin and it is one of my favorite places!
Porky Pig Cartoon Ending "That's All Folks!"