The Orton Foundation supports Cape Fear River Watch’s (CFRW) effort to ensure a healthy Cape Fear River, which drains 9,100 square miles of the state, the health of which is largely determined by activities upstream – including heavy industry and confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). On the front lines, CFRW monitors water quality and activities that impact the watershed, makes recommendations for environmental improvements, advocates for important policy changes, and engages the community to become stewards of their river through eco-summer camps, paddle series, citizen science and clean ups. CFRW work is recognized at the state and federal levels.


Conducted more than 20 flights and countless ground patrols documenting pollution and resulting in numerous referrals of waste management violations on swine and poultry farms to the state.

Through a lawsuit filed with Southern Environmental Law Center, forced Dupont company Chemours to invest hundreds of millions to clean-up GenX and toxic compounds at their facility site and in the river.

Educated and organized members on the waste management permit for swine farms, and pushed the state for improvements to protect communities impacted by environmental injustice.

Won a multi-year fight against the poorly conceived attempt to reclassify of a portion of the Lower Cape Fear as a swamp.

Continued to investigate and expose the extent of coal ash contamination from spills in Sutton Lake and the Cape Fear.