The New River Protector
Mike Sanderford is the New River Protector. Mike is an Onslow County native. Mike returned to Onslow County after retiring from the Army. Mike and his wife Suzanne have three adult children. They love the river and spend a lot of their free time on the water. Mike has been a part of the New River Foundation since 2005. He believes it takes more than one person to speak for our rivers.
Mike works to recruit “protectors” that can add eyes and ears to the rivers. He sees retirees, young adults, recreational water lovers, homeowners, businesses and government to all work as “protectors” of our rivers. On any given day you may see Mike on his personal boats without so much signage patrolling and investigating on the river. You will most likely recognize him when he is driving the New River Foundation pontoon boat, The Protector.
Mike takes a unique, "work-with" approach in his efforts to find solutions to problems facing the New River/White Oak River Basin. Collaborating with fishermen, businesses, government agencies, citizens, and other stakeholders. Mike advocates for solutions that are pragmatic, scientifically sound, and effective.
“We can't be complacent just because we hear the New River is improving. Our citizens will have to make difficult decisions in the near future about sewage discharges, stormwater runoff, development near the rivers and beaches and how we will protect the New River that begins and ends in Onslow County! This asset will cease to exist if it is not respected and protected by those who live and work here in Onslow County.”