North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Stormwater and Runoff Pollution banner
River Basin Riddler Cards
Cut out the fact cards below to make your own river basin trivia game! Assign points to each of the facts and hold a class competition.
Broad
  • Contains the “Bat Cave,” the largest granite fissure cave in North America, which provides
    a home for the endangered Indiana Bat.

  • Home of the popular tourist destinations Chimney Rock Park and Lake Lure.

  • Contains 97 rare plant and animal species.
Savannah
  • This river basin contains no part of the river for which it was named.

  • Home of the 411-foot Whitewater Falls, the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies.

  • Three fish, the turquoise darter, redeye bass, and rosyface chub, are found only in this basin’s Gorges State Park.
French Broad
  • Home of the 6,684-foot high Mount Mitchell.

  • Begins as a 50-foot waterfall in Transylvania County.

  • Only NC river basin that is home to the common mudpuppy, an aquatic salamander, and the rare Eastern spiny softshell turtle.
Chowan
  • Contains Edenton, the first permanent European settlement in NC.

  • Along with the Roanoke River, it supplies fresh water to the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary, the second largest estuary system in the US.

  • Contains less than 1% of the state’s population.
Little Tennessee
  • Home of Bridal Veil Falls, a waterfall that you can drive a car under.

  • River otters were reintroduced into streams in the basin, which helps the basin keep a natural balance of native aquatic animal life.

  • Contains Nantahala Gorge, one side of which reaches more than 1,000 feet.
Hiwassee
  • Got its name from the Cherokee word meaning savanna or meadow.

  • Home of the endangered knotty elimia, a freshwater mollusk that lives nowhere else in the world.

  • Contains Peachtree Mound, one of the most important Cherokee ancestral sites.
Watauga
  • Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is located in this basin.

  • This is the second smallest river basin in NC with only 6 incorporated towns.

  • This basin’s rare animal residents include the peregrine falcon, the Carolina northern flying squirrel, the Virginia big-eared bat, and the spruce-fir moss spider.
White Oak
  • This basin is filled with coastal and freshwater wetlands, and is made up of four river systems.

  • The 160,000-acre Croatan National Forest is home to more insect-eating plants than any other national forest.

  • Insect-eating plants like the
    Venus flytrap, pitcher plants, bladderworts, butterworts, and sundews can be found in this basin.
Neuse
  • This river is the longest contained in NC’s borders, and at its mouth it is the widest in North America at 6 miles across.

  • Contains an unusual feature for the coastal plain, a 100-foot canyon carved by the river, located near Goldsboro.

  • Home to the Neuse River waterdog (a rare aquatic salamander), the rare Carolina madtom fish, and the panhandle pebblesnail.
New
  • This river is actually thought to be one of the oldest in the world, estimated at 300 million years old.

  • More bog turtles live in this basin than any other basin in NC. This rare and threatened turtle weighs only about 4 ounces when it reaches adulthood.

  • This basin is the largest supplier of Christmas trees in NC.
Pasquotank
  • This basin has more national wildlife refuges than any other and the fewest number of people.

  • Home of Lake Phelps, the second largest natural lake in NC. It has crystal blue water, and more than 30 ancient dugout canoes have been found on its bottom.

  • In 1987, red wolves were reintroduced into the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge located in this basin.
Roanoke
  • This river carries more water than any other in NC, it also has the widest floodplain – up to 5 miles in some places.

  • Contains the densest population of white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and black bear, and has at least 214 bird species.

  • This river was once called “the river of death” because its spring floods claimed so many lives.
Lumber
  • Lake Waccamaw is the largest water-filled Carolina Bay in NC.

  • Contains a large portion of the Green Swamp, which has the highest density of small-scale plant diversity in North America.

  • American alligators, carnivorous pitcher plants and Venus flytraps, as well as the Waccamaw silverside and Waccamaw darter, are found in this basin.
Tar-Pamlico
  • This basin contains Lake Mattamuskeet, NC’s largest natural lake.

  • 90% of all commercial seafood caught in NC is born in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary in this basin.

  • NC’s largest producer of tobacco (Pitt) and producer of corn, wheat, and sorghum (Beaufort) are located in the basin.
Yadkin-PeeDee
  • This basin was the location of the United States’ first documented gold discovery.

  • Location of the Uwharries, the oldest mountain range in North America.

  • This basin is called the cradle of civilization of the Carolinas. The area has artifacts of Native American culture that date back 12,000 years.
Cape Fear
  • The largest river basin located entirely in NC.

  • Home of the Cape Fear Shiner, an endangered minnow species that lives nowhere else in the world.

  • Contains ¼ of the state’s population.
Catawba
  • Contains the most major dams of any NC basin.

  • Home of Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in NC.

  • Home of the rare Edmund’s snaketail dragonfly.
SCORE CARD

Adapted from "River Basin Riddler" in 2003 Love-A-Tree Environmental Education Activity Book