Diana Toledo will speak on “Resources Available to Grassroots Groups Who Protect Their Rivers” at the Annual Meeting of Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River (WATR) on Monday, Feb. 28 at 6:30pm in the Community Room at the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex in Cherokee.
Her talk will be a call to action for residents of Jackson and Swain Counties and the Qualla Boundary to inform ourselves about the importance of clean mountains streams and how to protect them.
Toledo is the Southeast Program Manager for River Network, a national nonprofit that provides resources and coordination for many of the 5,000 state, tribal, regional, and grassroots organizations dedicated to the protecting our nation’s waterways. River Network has more than 600 dues-paying partner organizations.
Toledo’s role is to assist organizations across the southeast region through trainings and consultations. Prior to joining River Network, Toledo assisted watershed organizations as staff of the River Alliance of Wisconsin. She has nearly 20 years’ experience helping build grass roots community and conservation groups, having also worked with citizen groups while serving in the Peace Corps in the Central African Republic and the Dominican Republic.
“I am excited about visiting the Qualla Boundary and getting an opportunity to meet people who are concerned about conservation on the Boundary,” said Ms. Toledo in a recent interview. “I am also impressed by the groups that have come together to develop a seven-county, regional system for training builders about the techniques of erosion control. It is so important that excess mud be kept out of our clean mountain streams. This regional level of coordinating erosion control training is unprecedented in North Carolina.”
Toledo is referring to the Regional Erosion & Sediment Control Initiative coordinated by WATR and six other nonprofit environmental groups plus representatives from the Eastern Band’s environmental department. The preliminary phase of this regional effort is funded by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.
WATR’s Annual Meeting is open to the public. The meeting will also feature a short preview of a video showing how a group within a midwestern tribe works to improve their local water quality. According to Roger Clapp, WATR executive director, “This video could be the basis for a future meeting where we focus on the issues common to the Oconaluftee and the Tuckasegee Rivers.”
All green-minded citizens on and off the Boundary are encouraged to come. Refreshments will be served. Please see the www.WATRnc.org for details.