Dedicated volunteer helps Sound Rivers raise $10,000

Published 7:14 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2017

From Sound Rivers

Last week, Sound Rivers recognized a dedicated volunteer, Ed Rhine, who raised $10,000 for the organization in the fall of 2016. Rhine has been a central player in the Save Blounts Creek community campaign, which has been pushing back against Martin Marietta Materials’ plan to discharge wastewater from a permitted 649-acre limestone mine into Blounts Creek in Beaufort County.

Sound Rivers works to protect and preserve the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico river basins; their three riverkeepers monitor this region’s waterways, serving as scientific experts and educational resources to schools and communities living in the watershed. The organization relies on the assistance of dedicated volunteers, which Sound Rivers’ Deputy Director Heather Deck said Rhine “absolutely is,” adding “within the Blounts Creek community, I have found water activists with the type of staying power you can only dream of, and Ed has been one of those leaders.”

This past fall, Rhine, a skilled woodworker, crafted a hybrid watercraft for a Sound Rivers raffle. The 14-foot boat, which Deck described as “somewhere between a single-person canoe and a kayak and only 31 pounds” was built of Atlantic white cedar planking and strengthened by fiberglass and epoxy; it also included walnut accents inspired by Native American designs. Rhine has made about a dozen of these kayak-canoes, and he and his wife, Margie, have paddled all over the Adirondacks in them.

Sound Rivers offered 500 raffle tickets for $20 each in September and October 2016. The Save Blounts Creek community was instrumental in the success of this fundraiser, doing much of the ticket-selling, including manning a booth at a downtown festival to sell the last of the tickets. Rhine himself sold over 100 tickets, which sold out and the winner was drawn in late October.

“We are incredibly grateful to those involved with Save Blounts Creek who helped make this fundraiser a success, and Ed’s absolutely beautiful boat was a wonderful gift to our mission,” Deck said.

The raffle fundraiser resulted in $10,000 raised for Sound Rivers’ Save Blounts Creek efforts, which includes legal fees.

“I greatly appreciate the work of the Riverkeepers and Sound Rivers to protect our water resources. We will continue to mobilize the community to ensure that Blounts Creek is protected for the long-term,” Rhine said.

Just last week the Save Blounts Creek campaign received a legal victory as a lawsuit against Martin Marietta Materials was allowed to proceed. Sound Rivers and partners began the challenge of a permit to Martin Marietta in 2013. To develop a 649-acre open pit mine outside Vanceboro in Beaufort County, Martin Marietta Materials plans to pump up to 12 million gallons per day of ground and mining wastewater into Blounts Creek’s headwaters. Deck said of the permit, “The discharge will transform the swampy, high-quality headwater habitat into a stream unlike anything found in coastal North Carolina, consisting primarily of the mine discharge water, permanently altering the creek’s diversity of life and abundance of high-quality habitat for fish.”

If you are interested in volunteering with Sound Rivers, you can find more information on or email A variety of volunteer opportunities are available, from one-time events to longer-term projects.