Protecting the waters, woodlands and wildlife of the New River Watershed


New River Conservancy envisions a completely healthy New River watershed which is where people want to live, work and play.

NRC believes that clean water, healthy land, and empowered people benefit our communities and the watershed. The watershed includes all the streams and brooks that feed the river and all of the forest, fields and communities that surround it.

How We Work


Share and Foster Research

Establish a highly credible and respected entity to influence public policy development, promote sound environmental decision making and guide direct action that protects or improves the health of the New River watershed.


Educate and Inspire

Instill a collective vigilance in citizens and communities to advocate for policies that recognize the river as a vital resource, educate planners on ways to develop land use policies that minimize or eliminate negative impacts on the River’s watershed, and encourage agencies to enforce regulations that protect the river’s health.


Protect and Restore

Land conservation, permanent sustainable management plans and river and stream restoration, New River Conservancy’s direct citizen action is critical to ensure the River’s health and beauty.

Our Staff

George Santucci, President

George Santucci has been president of New River Conservancy since mid-November 2005. From April 1998 to November 2005 he worked for North Carolina Cooperative Extensions Ashe Center as a 4H Program Associate, Outdoor Education. While with Extension, George started 4H Blue Ridge Conservation Corps a workforce preparation, academic and behavior improvement program for Ashe County high school students. BRCC did trail construction, park and river clean-ups, campsite construction and river restoration projects. He was introduced to the New River while running 4H's summer Wilderness Experience camping program. Prior to his work with Extension, George was a high school Math teacher in the Bronx, an Instructor with the North Carolina Outward Bound School and an Adjunct Instructor in Appalachian State University's Recreation Management Department. He has paddled, biked and climbed along the New River. His passion for environmental conservation was intensified during four months spent leading Outward Bound Courses in the Florida Everglades. Seeing the wholesale alteration of an entire ecosystem as rare and unique as the Everglades led him to dedicating his professional life to the preservation and protection of natural wild places.

Linda Slade, Development Director

Linda joined the New River Conservancy in November 2014 in the newly created role of Development Director. Her association with the New River began in the late 60’s when her parents bought property in Ashe County, North Carolina as a place to “escape the city on the weekends”. The property, still in the family is now permanent home to Linda and husband Joe. It’s the gathering place for her entire family, with the 4th generation now enjoying what the River has to offer. Linda has spent 15 years in the non-profit arena in donor development and grant-making first with the Community Foundation of Gaston County and most recently as the Executive Director of High Country United Way in Boone NC. Linda enjoys connecting people to their passions through giving.

Laura Green, Operations Coordinator

Laura Green is New River Conservancy's operations coordinator and master of the front desk. She's likely to answer the phone when you call, will help you find the right person to answer your question, and she can get that much-needed t-shirt or hat in the mail to you. Laura, her husband Jim, and Molly the very spoiled canine, live on the North Fork of the New River in Ashe County. She's originally from the Fayetteville, NC, area but spent much of her adult working life in Raleigh. A veteran of the high tech world, Laura worked for IBM and Nortel Networks for 20+ years. Laura and Jim have been on the North Fork since 1995; full time for the last two years. She loves the New River -- that's why she loves New River Conservancy!

Chelsea Blount, River Builder Coordinator

A Northern Arkansas native, Chelsea gained an appreciation as a child for the mountains and streams that surrounded her family home, frequently packing a bag of Little Debbie snacks and exploring the woods against her mother’s orders. Her family moved to Granville County, North Carolina in 2003. At NC State, Chelsea majored in animal sciences and planned on going on to veterinary school for large domestic animals, but heard the mountains calling. After two years in Raleigh, she transferred to Appalachian State where she graduated with a B.S. in Biology and received a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). After interning with New River Conservancy in the summer of 2014, she became familiar with the River Builder Program and now works as River Builder Coordinator.

Alex McMahon, Water Quality Coordinator

Originally from the Raleigh area, Alex developed a passion for the outdoors during a youth spent camping, hiking, and mountain biking in the woods of the North Carolina Piedmont. At Appalachian State University, Alex studied Geography and Physics. His interest in hydrology was piqued during a trip to the Peruvian Andes, a region where rural communities that rely on meltwater sourced from glaciers are being challenged by rapid glacial retreat. Following graduation, Alex began a Master’s in Geography at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. His thesis work focused on improving water temperature models for mountain streams in order to better inform riparian and river management. After a couple years abroad, Alex returned to North Carolina in fall 2016 to join New River Conservancy as Water Quality Coordinator.