January Monthly Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We are fortunate to have so many places of natural beauty in the eight counties that make up the French Broad River watershed. Despite the poor treatment of the river and surrounding land during the last century and a half, the health of the watershed is slowly on the rise. Nature has an amazing capacity to heal itself, and this healing is supported by the restoration efforts of you, our fellow river and nature lovers.

One of the biggest threats we now face is the impact from population growth in the region. There is a tension between the demand for larger developments of apartments, houses and businesses, and the need to maintain the character and beauty of our region. Thankfully, you as a community continue to stand up and make your voices heard. We saw this most recently when residents of Woodfin and the surrounding neighborhoods spoke out against the destruction of 93 acres of forest to make way for a mega-development on the River’s banks.

We at RiverLink are grateful for the community’s passion to oppose these latest threats to the environment. We have a lot happening in 2021 that will increase access to parks, provide more green space, and educate the next generation of river stewards.

As always, thank you for your support of the River!

Garrett Artz, Executive Director

Program Updates

Water Quality

We’re excited to announce that the Duke Energy Foundation recently awarded RiverLink $10,000 to update and expand the WaterRICH program. Since 2011 the program has empowered residents to improve water quality through residential stormwater management. WaterRICH offers a free online guide to designing and installing stormwater features, as well as hands-on workshops. The generous grant will allow RiverLink to update and expand the WaterRICH program with new online resources, including how-to videos on topics such as rain gardens and cisterns. The most current stormwater management techniques will also be added to the homeowner’s guide.

Environmental Education

The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but it hit the education world especially hard. At RiverLink we recognize all of the sacrifices that teachers have made, and we are here to help! Our RiverRATS program now provides virtual learning opportunities to students on a variety of topics related to water quality. Whether you want to cover stormwater, erosion or macroinvertebrates, our educators are ready to help! Our program is mainly focused on working with grades 3rd-8th, but we can adjust content for other grades as needed. If you’re a teacher or you know someone who is, send us an email at education@riverlink.org to schedule a free, virtual lesson with us.

Land Conservation

Due to the growing number of Covid-19 cases in and and around Buncombe County we have decided to cancel all KC Krew volunteer workdays for the remainder of January. Even though we maintain rigorous safety measures we feel this is the best decision for the safety of our volunteers and staff. We are hopeful that we will be able to resume our work days in late February or early March.

Other News

We have a new Watershed Intern!

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to our new spring Watershed Resources Intern Aiden Thomas! Aiden is a senior at Nesbitt Discovery Academy. He enjoys running, cooking, and anything related to conservation. Ever since he took an Earth Science class during his freshman year he has been drawn to topics of environmental health and sustainability. He hopes to major in environmental engineering in college so that he can make a career out of helping to protect our local ecosystems. He admires RiverLink’s dedication to keeping the Asheville watershed clean and healthy, and is happy to help RiverLink in any way he can!

Welcome to our new Board Chair

Anne Keller has been a RiverLink board member since 2017. She spent her career of 30 years working for state and federal agencies on water quality, aquatic toxicology, and community sustainability. Throughout her career, she enjoyed the changing roles she played and the opportunity to contribute to protection of nature and the environment. Anne is passionate about RiverLink’s mission of contributing to the improvement of the river and its watershed. She loves birding, working out, walking her dog, and traveling.

RiverLink in the News

We want to give a big THANK YOU to local outdoor gear store, Second Gear! They invited us to be the nonprofit of the month for December 2020, and we were thrilled to receive a check of more than $1,400 to put towards our 2020 end of year appeal. If you haven’t shopped at their store we highly recommend you do so! They carry a wide selection of gently used and new gear for your next outdoor adventure. We also want to congratulate them on their plans to move to a new, bigger location in the River Arts District!