"We have the water right here, and we EXPECT it to be cleaned up."
-Wilma Dykeman Stokely
Photo by WNC Magazine
The Cherokee called the Pigeon River the "beautiful maiden". The waters of have long served as a life-blood for the people that reside along its banks throughout Western North Carolina and East Tennessee, providing life and livelihood with its waters. Over a century ago (1908), the river got a new neighbor named Champion Paper Products, and life for everyone else along the downstream shores quickly changed.
History of the Pigeon River
Pigeon River Timeline
Clean Water Expected in East Tennessee was started by Brian Overholt, Will Johnson and Seth Smith, who joined together to organize through their experience as river guides. Inspired by the Dead Pigeon River Council, these founders sought to see the rivers of our region live up to their full potential by holding upstream polluters accountable to the standards set forth by the Clean Water Act. Choosing the name Clean Water Expected in East Tennessee based on Newport's famous author, Wilma Dykeman Stokely's quote: "We have the water right here, and we EXPECT it to be cleaned up."
Through the years, CWEET's activities have stayed true to its original mission and have also expanded to range from environmental activism and research to community activities that strengthen and help sustain our local (and global) ecosystem.
What We Do
Meet The Team
Deborah Bahr is the Director of CWEET and has been a community worker, mother, and artist living in East Tennessee for almost 30 years. She holds a degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Tennessee. Deborah is a mentor and life coach and is dedicated to a clean Pigeon River and the development of healthy Appalachian economies.
Mindy Shelton Seagle
Media and Marketing Coordinator
Mindy Shelton Seagle is a native of Cocke County Tennessee, currently residing in Asheville,NC. She is an artist, designer and educator with a BA in Media Arts and an MS in Education from University of Tennessee. She is a long-time environmental and social justice advocate with a passion for dogs, the outdoors, art and non-profit work.
Stream Monitoring Coordinator
Jillian Bryan has lived along the Nolichucky River in East TN for 20 years and is dedicated to monitoring and advocating for the health of our streams. She is naturally curious and enjoys everything outdoors, crafting, learning and spending time with her daughter.
William Isom II