About HWA

Current Newsletter

Our mission is to maintain and improve surface water quality in the Pigeon River Watershed of Haywood County, North Carolina. We accomplish this through two objectives directed at reducing nonpoint source pollution:

  1. Educating and focusing attention on the watershed as a natural, economic and recreational resource to be conserved and enhanced for this and future generations; and
  2. Working with public agencies, conservation interests, businesses, community groups, and public and private land owners to implement water quality improvement strategies.

We recognize the importance of partnerships between science, economy, government and the community to protect and improve water quality. We are not a regulatory agency. Our focus is on wise use of our natural resources by serving as a non-governmental catalyst for beneficial change.

The U.S. EPA's non-point source capacity building workgroup would like to recognize your group as an outstanding example of how to set up and operate an effective watershed management group. EPA would like to use your success as a watershed organization to assist others…It is exciting to think that the work you have completed will assist other groups as they strive to achieve similar goals in watersheds across the United States.
– U.S. EPA, 2003

We are guided by a governing Board of Directors (page link), highly qualified staff (page link), a Strategic Plan, and the Pigeon River Watershed Action Plan (pdf). The Plan focuses on Board development, fundraising, public relations and succession and is designed to guide short-term operations as well as long-range planning necessary to maintain a strong organization.

Partnerships are critical for our success. Each partnership brings a certain set of skills necessary to improve water quality. Some of our key partners are the Southwestern RC&D Council, Haywood Soil & Water Conservation District, Haywood County Schools, and the Pigeon River Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Many partners serve on our Technical Advisory Committee, which is a professional coordinating committee consisting of individuals with hundreds of years of professional conservation expertise in a wide variety of fields and disciplines. The members represent public agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit and for-profit corporations, and individual citizens.

Haywood Waterways became a non-profit, member corporation on September 23, 1998, and received IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status on January 29, 1999.

Click here to see our 2014 Annual Report

Awards & Recognition
1999 - North Carolina Water Conservationist of the Year – Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards program
1999 - Partner of the Year – Tennessee Valley Authority
1999 - Invited to SAMAB (Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere) conference themed "Community Solutions"; one of the three non-profit organizations cited as examples of a community solution.
2003 - Building Capacity for Nonpoint Source Management, EPA document citing HWA as a model watershed organization and our Watershed Action Plan as a "model plan" for other organizations nationwide.
2005 - Natural Resource Enhancement Award – Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Soil & Water Conservation Society
2008 - 1st Place - Community Pride Awards – Haywood County Commission for a Clean County
2009 - 1st Place - Community Pride Awards – Haywood County Commission for a Clean County (Adopt-A-Stream program)
2013 - Received Guidestar Exchange's Gold Seal for nonprofit transparency
2013 - Formally recognized by Haywood County School Board for contributions to Environmental Science Education of students of Haywood County.

HWA also has some of the most dedicated and sincere people you could find involved in the projects and there is never any question about their motives or whether they have a hidden agenda. With the people leading this group, there is public support and belief that they are doing what is in the best environmental interests for the community.

Public Service

Haywood Waterways is focused on the waterways of Haywood County, NC. However, we frequently assist with regional, state and even national efforts. We are currently partners in several efforts:

HWA Board of Directors, Officers, and Staff

Lauren Bishop

Yvonne Kolomechuk

Don Ebaugh

Yvonne Hannah

Richard T. Alexander, Jr.
Derric Brown
Kerry Carreno
Bill Eaker
Mark Ethridge
Steve Fraley
Marty Prevost
Shannon Rabby
Steve Fraley
Shannon Rabby
Clark Williams
Bill Yarborough

Eric Romaniszyn, Executive Director
Eric started working as an aquatic ecologist in 1994. He earned a B.S. degree in Biology from Kent State University and a M.S. degree in Entomology from the University of Georgia. His expertise is with benthic macroinvertebrates but he has also worked extensively with freshwater fish and wetlands. He joined Haywood Waterways as Project Manager in 2004 and in 2010 he became Executive Director.

Christine O’Brien, Project Assistant
Christine started working for Haywood Waterways as a Sediment Technician in 2006. Today she continues those duties as well as managing administrative operations and performing education and outreach efforts. Christine earned her BS in Natural Resource Conservation, a MS in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, and a Certificate in Wetland Ecology from the University of Florida. Over the years her main focus has been on freshwater mussels and snails, but she has also worked with fish, land snails and slugs. When she has time, she enjoys kayaking, camping and hiking.

Stephen Brinson, Project Manager
Stephen moved to Haywood County in 1992 and worked with SOAR outdoor educational camp for 5 years. Stephen earned a B.S. degree in Environmental Health and Biology from Western Carolina University, while also working at Clyde’s Restaurant to help pay for college. He spent seven years with NCDENR working on numerous watershed projects throughout WNC with the WaDE Program, which included the Hyatt Creek Restoration Project. He has an extensive knowledge of soil, landscape and water and the effects each has on one another. Stephen is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist and specializes in on-site wastewater. He has spent many days and nights in the wilderness of these mountains. In his spare time, Stephen enjoys fly fishing, camping, hiking, and disc golf.

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