Located in the far northwest corner of North Carolina, the New River Basin is one of the smaller basins, comprising 752 square miles or 2.2% of the total land area. There are only 830 stream miles in this basin. Tourism and resort development, along with related water-oriented businesses associated with canoeing and trout fishing, are a few examples of how water resources are used in this basin.
Only four counties, Allegheny, Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes, are contained in the drainage area of the New River Basin. A small fraction of the total population of North Carolina, 0.8% or 53,662 people, live in this basin.
The overall surface water quality of the New River Basin is very good with the exception of approximately 60 miles or 7% of the basin streams. These streams are impaired due to sediment, low pH from acid mine drainage, ammonia, and metals. The major sources of these impairments are from agriculture (including Christmas tree farms), urban runoff, construction, point source discharges, forestry, and mining.
Currently, there is one regional water quality project applicable to this drainage basin, as well as all of the state-related water quality projects and programs.