A Short Explanation of Watershed Reclassification
Beech Mountain is seeking to reclassify a portion of the Watauga River watershed located in a 10-mile radius east of Guy Ford Bridge to WS-IV. Part of this area is already classified HQW (High Quality Water) and its land use restrictions would not change. The change to WS-IV would place certain limits on the density of new residential development (15A NCAC 02B.0624), but would have no other impact on the rural area.
This new classification would not change any permitted use of the Watauga River for hikers, fishermen, bikers, swimmers or any other individuals and all could continue to use the Watauga River as before including the Guy Ford Bridge swimming area and various canoe/kayak put-ins.
The new classification would further protect the Watauga River watershed by increasing the protected area by 290% and limiting certain future development. A resolution to agree to regulate land uses in support of the reclassified watershed would need to be passed by the Watauga County Commission.
Maps from town informational meeting appear below.