Haywood Waterways Association Recognizes Great Partners

By Jane Falkenstein | Dec 11, 2012
Photos by: Jane Falkenstein VWIN volunteers, past and present, receive 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award.

Each December, Haywood Waterways Association hosts an Annual Membership Meeting and Dinner to recognize some of the stewards of water quality with whom we share our successes.  When great partners get together, it can lead to accomplishments beyond what each of the partners could naturally achieve on their own.  Haywood Waterways Association (HWA) depends on our partners to do the work we do.  Without them, we would not be able to continue to protect and improve the rivers and streams in Haywood County. 


2012 was a great year in many ways for Haywood Waterways.  Each volunteer’s gift of time and talent used on behalf of the Pigeon River watershed is a blessing for us.  If each of them represents a drop of water in our cup, then our gratitude surely runs over.  The 2012 award recipients are great examples of organizations, agencies, and volunteer groups that perform seamlessly on the surface and represent a dynamic web of relationships, much like the natural resources they protect and serve. 


The 2012 Pigeon River Award was given to the Asheville Regional Office of the NC Division of Water Quality for its work to improve water quality in the Pigeon River watershed.  This included recognizing their efforts to facilitate and expand more effective use of educational, technical, and scientific resources in the Pigeon River watershed.  Present to receive the award were Ed Williams, Ted Campbell, and Cathy Tyndall, all from the Asheville office.  “Even though protecting water quality is part of the job for these people, we felt they should be recognized for their extensive participation in promoting watershed improvements in Haywood County,” said Eric Romaniszyn, director of Haywood Waterways Association. 


Haywood Waterways Association chose to honor the staff in the Asheville Office of the DWQ based on these accomplishments:

  • Reintroducing native fish species to Richland Creek
  • Walking watersheds in order to do effective monitoring to track sources of bacterial contamination
  • Being an active member of the Richland Creek Restoration Group
  • Studying septic systems’ influence on groundwater quality
  • Working with students during Kids in the Creek educational events
  • Organizing the Water Quality Collaborative to make optimal use of local resources for the protection of water quality
  • Participating in various planning initiatives

“We at the Division of Water Quality are honored to receive the Pigeon River Award,” said Ed Williams.  “The Haywood Waterways Association is a great model to follow for how to bring together different partners, leverage resources, and tap into different sources of funding to improve Haywood County rivers, streams, and lakes.  Implementing projects through partners, getting to witness and measure real improvements in water quality, and the re-establishment of native fish species to the Pigeon River watershed have been some of the most rewarding parts of my career.”


The Partner of the Year for 2012 was awarded to the Southwestern Commission for their outstanding work on the following:

  • Creating the Mountain Landscapes Initiative and including the HWA Resource Assessment for Mountainside Development projects as a case study
  • Awarding two Toolbox Implementation Fund grants for Haywood County: one for the Lake Junaluska Assembly Stormwater Management Plan and the other for Geologic Stability Mapping in the Upper Jonathans Creek Watershed
  • For their work on the Mountain Resources Commission and nominating HWA to the Technical Advisory Committee
  • For initiating the Regional trails inventory and concept plan that will help promote greenways
  • For helping to permanently protect the 860 acre Rough Creek watershed near Canton and the 7,000 acre Allens Creek Watershed in Waynesville
  • For all their work to help make Haywood County a great place to live and work


Bill Gibson, Executive Director of the Southwestern Commission, received the award for his organization.  He commented, “Haywood Waterways is an incredible organization of committed professionals and volunteers. I salute your passion, your absolutely essential boots-in-the-creeks work, and the many measurable successes you have produced to date. I am delighted to accept Haywood Waterways' 2012 Partner of the Year Award on behalf of the Southwestern Commission, and specifically our "Mountain Landscapes Initiative."

Gibson added, “The credits list for the Mountain Landscapes Initiative is long and diverse; yet, I must mention the base funding granted by The Community Foundation of WNC, and the essential leadership provided by Vicki Greene, now retired from our staff and recently sworn in as a new Jackson County Commissioner.”


In a move to recognize the immensely important contribution of our VWIN (Voluntary Water Information Network) volunteers, the HWA 2012 Volunteer of the Year award went to the VWIN volunteers, past and present.  For the past 16 years, these folks have regularly sampled Haywood County waterways to provide water quality data critical for understanding watershed health.  This data has been invaluable for monitoring trends and the effects of changing land use in Haywood County and for keeping streams and rivers healthy.  They are our boots-on-the-ground and are critical to our success in stream restoration, stormwater management, agricultural best management practices, and education.  They deserve the utmost praise for all their hard work on behalf of our waters.


Haywood Waterways also wishes to also thank our Annual Dinner sponsors:  the Town of Clyde, Town of Waynesville, and Keller Williams Realty.  Progress Energy generously agreed to sponsor the awards.  Thanks for a great evening and please remember that membership in Haywood Waterways does make a difference!