An Attitude of Gratitude

Take me to the river

When you donate to RiverLink, you educate the next generation of river stewards; underwrite water and land management for a healthy watershed, and advance economic vitality and public access to a thriving French Broad riverway. In a time of rapidly changing climate–when marginalized communities are repeatedly demonstrated to suffer greater social and economic costs downstream–RiverLink seeks to promote a new wave of watershed stewards. Please join us with a gift of your time or treasure.

It Takes a Village: Give!Local 2021

The seventh annual Mountain Xpress Give!Local campaign funds dozens of community nonprofits–including RiverLink!–and runs throughout November and December. Last year’s effort saw 570 individual donors give a total of $233,564.00, a 65% increase over the previous year. Matching funds boosted the increase still further, for a grand total of $297,735.00 to local nonprofits. We love how you love us–so please have a look at the Give!Local Guide online or in print, and consider making a gift to RiverLink in this season’s drive. The first ten donations of $100 or more will be entered into a drawing to win a rain barrel package with installation video! RiverLink is thrilled to be included among the local organizations putting in the work to improve the quality of life in Western North Carolina! THANK YOU!

Program Updates

Excellent Partners in Education

Fall has been a busy time for our RiverRATS education program and we’re so happy to be back out in the field and classroom with students! During the month of October, we got to work with some bright, passionate students–young people who truly give us hope for the future of the river and our environment. We tested for water chemistry and looked for macroinvertebrates with 8th graders from Charles D. Owen Middle School. We ran interactive river simulations on our stream table with 4th and 5th graders from Black Mountain Elementary and Rainbow Community School. We also went in-depth on water chemistry with AP Environmental Science students from T.C. Roberson High School. 

All in all, we were able to engage over 600 students in exploring local water resources this past month. Their time with our program helped to connect and solidify concepts of water quality that they learn in class. We’re so grateful to these students and teachers for their commitment to the river and their partnership with RiverLink!

More Rain Gardens Please!

Our AmeriCorps members and volunteers have been busy planting rain gardens as part of our ‘DIS in the Mountains’ innovative stormwater project. The goal is to develop innovative designs for addressing stormwater runoff on steep slopes. 

Six homeowners in the Central Asheville Watershed were selected to participate in the project that will disconnect their downspouts from our municipal stormwater system and redirect the runoff into a rain garden. In the rain garden, native plants and soil microbes will work their magic to filter and clean the water, keeping pollutants and large volumes of runoff out of Nasty Branch. 

Blue Earth Engineering & Design and Wildlands Engineering are developing the innovative designs and monitoring their effectiveness over time. This project is made possible by a N.C. Land and Water Fund grant. For more information, visit the project page on our website. To learn more about rain gardens, check out our WaterRICH rain garden guide.

Help Keep Our Stormdrains Clean

This project is just 20 drains away from meeting our goal of 100 storm drains adopted by 2022! If you are interested in taking a storm drain under your wing and keeping it clean of trash and leaf litter, please email or follow the steps here. We also want to give a big thank you to the businesses that have adopted storm drains! We’re pleased to let them be known:

Living Roof, Inc. | Joe Ransmeier Woodworking | Tribute Properties | Archetype Brewing | Square Foot Surface Design | Heaver Davis Studio + Gallery | Asheville Free Walking Tours

Grateful Stewardship

As part of our work to protect the health of the French Broad River Watershed, we rely on a sizable army of volunteers to help steward our protected lands. As with many nonprofit organizations, volunteers are crucial to our efforts to keep litter, sediment, and pollutants out of our waterways. Without their hard work removing invasive plants, picking up litter, creating rain gardens and more, the French Broad River would have little chance of recovery. So thank you to everyone who has volunteered with us! Your efforts are vital for the continuing restoration of the French Broad River Watershed.

If you’re looking to help keep the French Broad River clean and healthy then check out our volunteer page for upcoming opportunities.

Other News

Jack Henderson Headshot

RiverLink Welcomes a New Land Resources Manager

Jack’s been gratefully living in Western North Carolina since 2010. A native of northern Virginia, he studied geography, GIS, and recreation management at Appalachian State University in Boone. Since then he has been working on land protection, conservation, water quality, and outdoor recreation projects in the southern Appalachians, and beyond. 

Jack’s burgeoning career includes stewarding conservation easements for land trusts in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Idaho. He curated a nationwide spatial database and website for paddling opportunities. He identified, cataloged, and planned stream restoration projects to improve native fish habitat. He’s also consulted on dozens of GIS and cartography projects with many of the nation’s leading advocates for responsible protection, stewardship, and public access to our rivers and trails.

$150,000 for Stormwater Management

Check out this Asheville-Citizen Times article on a $150,000 grant awarded to RiverLink by the NC Attorney General’s Office‘s Environmental Enhancement Grant program, which will help fund the Southside Stormwater Project at Erskine Apartments. This project will address flooding, decrease runoff pollution, and provide green job training through a partnership with Green Opportunities. We are super excited to move this project one step closer to construction. Questions or comments? Feel free to email

Wildlife Wonders: The Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons are apex predators along the French Broad River, occupying the top of the food chain. They hunt by wading in the shallows or by patiently waiting along riverbanks, posed like statues. When fish pass by herons quickly scoop the prey up or spear it with their long, sharp bills. After a successful catch, they are able to swallow their prey completely whole. Their mouths are not designed to chew their food; instead, their throats and stomachs allow them to consume large prey intact. Because top predators bioaccumulate toxins that their prey has consumed, their presence and health are great bioindicators of the health of an ecosystem.

Profiles In Partnership

Girl Scout Troup 42503

A local group of Girl Scouts are working hard to protect our local waterways. These girls took it upon themselves to do a trash cleanup at Charles D. Owen Park to keep the Swannanoa River clean. They also set up a booth at a farmer’s market to teach people about salamanders. At this booth, they collected donations for RiverLink and were able to raise $103.55 to support our work. We’re so grateful to these wonderful girls and we hope that they continue to be great stewards of the river. 

Prestige Subaru

Prestige Subaru

Our fall programming season is wrapping up for in-school education programs. This fall we were able to educate over 1,100 students about the river and their impact on it! All of our lessons are offered free of charge which is only possible thanks to generous supporters like Prestige Subaru. This year they gave $2,000 to support our education programs as part of the Subaru Loves Promise. Thanks to their support we’ve been able to empower many of the next generation of watershed stewards. 

FernLeaf’s Trash to Art Show

FernLeaf Charter School is hosting a fundraiser for RiverLink! This great group of kids is working hard and getting creative to help protect clean water. After a lesson with RiverLink, students decided to do a cleanup of Cane Creek. Using the trash they found, kids have created some wonderful pieces of art to auction off. The auction will be online and proceeds will go to support RiverLink’s work. The artwork will be showcased on Nov. 16th at Mills River Brewing from 5-7 PM.