July Monthly Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We hope you and your families are doing well under the present circumstances. Our spirits are certainly lifted by the ongoing construction on Asheville’s Riverfront.  The transformative River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project (RADTIP) is nearing the homestretch. Most of it will be completed by the end of August!

So many of you made this transformation happen. Sometimes it was as simple as showing up to experience the River.  The commitment to finding ways to connect people to our French Broad River is what makes the RiverLink community so special.

That is why it is so important that Anything That Floats is happening again this year, even if in a more distanced manner.  We are sad we can’t be all together in person, but you can still float and be connected to the River. This event is at least 40 years old and predates RiverLink. Learn more below, and join us before the end of the month to get awesome swag and enter to win some amazing prizes!

In the early years, there weren’t many people on the River at all.  Now, a commitment to experience the River means that the River is the center of a robust local scene and has been a catalyst for bold visions like the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan which has since come to life. Up next will be the completion of the missing link (Karen Cragnolin Park) on Amboy Road, the missing mile (Hill Street to Broadway), and the missing River (Swannanoa) before Asheville’s riverfront vision is realized. We are, of course, already working with our partners for a Woodfin riverfront transformation as well.

Thank you for making it happen!

Garrett and the RiverLink Team

Float for a cause!


While we continue to take measures to ensure social distancing, Riverlink is excited to adapt the Anything That Floats Parade to get our community on the river in a positive and safe way! This year we are hosting a semi-virtual river float with a flexible time frame that ensures you can safely experience the river while uniting for a common cause- clean water and the protection of our watershed!

THEME: French Broad in Wonderland

HOW IT WORKS: Register until 7/31 and float your favorite segment of the French Broad River. Join in the French Broad in Wonderland theme and share on social media with #AnythingThatFloats2020 or email to info@riverlink.org to compete for prizes

Registration starts at $25 with additional family four-pack and club/business options and includes: a swag bag (5L dry bag) filled with goodies from RiverLink, 98.1 The River, and New Belgium Brewing; promo code for a free cooler tube when booking through Zen Tubing through 7/31; and 1 raffle ticket. Participate now thru July 31 and support our French Broad River!

Did You Say Raffle?

Buy tickets to have a chance to win some GREAT prizes from LOCAL businesses:

  • GRAND PRIZE: Perception Tribe sit on top kayak from French Broad Outfitters
  • 2 2016 Detroit New Belgium Cruisers (raffled separately) from New Belgium Brewing
  • Prize Package from Wildwater Ltd that includes whitewater rafting, ziplining, and a stay in their gorgeous yurts for 2
  • Wai Mauna gift certificate for a guided SUP tour on the French Broad River for 2
  • Fat Tire themed goodie bag from New Belgium ($150 retail value)
  • Mural themed goodie bag from New Belgium ($150 retail value)
  • Rain Barrel and instructional video so you can start rainwater harvesting this summer

Click on the button to take you to the Anything that Floats Registration page, click the yellow REGISTER button and select # of raffle tickets you want – single $5, pack of three $10, or 10 for $20!

Program Updates

Join us in celebrating our 2019-2020 AmeriCorps Members!

This month we wrap up our 2019-2020 AmeriCorps term. We’re so grateful to our three AmeriCorps members for all of the hard work they’ve given to RiverLink and the French Broad River. We hope that all three of them continue to share their energy and passion for the environment in all their future endeavors!

Anna Miller | Education Coordinator

Anna has been a joy to have on the RiverLink team this year! She thrived as an environmental educator, and always approached new projects and challenges with a calm and positive attitude. Aside from getting hundreds of students out in the water, Anna also organized an impressive virtual art and poetry contest this year. We are so glad she will be joining us for a 2nd term of service! “Seeing the excitement and joy on students’ faces while we’re looking for bugs in the water or simulating a flood on the stream table is always a highlight of our lessons. I’m excited for the chance to continue learning and teaching while serving another term!” Anna Miller

Hallie Graves | Outreach Coordinator

We’ve been very lucky to have Hallie as our Outreach Coordinator this past year. She served as a wonderful representative of RiverLink for any volunteers looking to get involved. Hallie consistently supported the needs of volunteers, students and coworkers in a caring and thoughtful manner. She was also very willing to learn new things and grow throughout the course of her AmeriCorps term. On top of working with volunteers and students Hallie also organized a fantastic virtual Earth Day Kids Festival, providing some crucial engagement for students at the beginning of quarantine. While Hallie will not be joining us for a 2nd term we wish her the best of luck in her next adventure!

Sarah Clement | Watershed Resources Coordinator

It has been an immense pleasure to work with this Sarah this year. She brought a considerable amount of skills and experience to the Watershed Resources Coordinator position and was always eager to learn more. Sarah’s passion for conservation and social justice issues has also been an inspiration for all of us. We couldn’t be happier that she is returning for a second term! “Through my service with RiverLink I’ve gained so much knowledge about Stormwater Control Measures, stream restoration, invasive species identification, conservation easements, and arcGIS. I’m excited to be able to use what I’ve learned this term to have an even greater impact on the French Broad River watershed next year.” Sarah Clement

Water Quality

Craven Street Stormwater Maintenance

We want to extend a big thank you to the West Asheville Garden Stroll (WAGS) for their support of our work to protect water quality by using plants to filter pollutants from stormwater runoff.

This year,RiverLink received a West Asheville Garden Stroll Seed Grant to install native grasses and wildflowers in bioretention cells that capture and filter stormwater runoff from Craven Street by New Belgium Brewery.

A bioretention cell is a shallow depression filled with soil & mulch and planted with (ideally) native vegetation. Bioretention cells are an important technique that uses soil, plants and microbes to treat stormwater before it is infiltrated or discharged

We planned to have the community help us with the planting, but due to COVID-19 we were unable to. Instead, our staff rallied to get the plants in the ground! Species planted include: Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Purple Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia fulgida), and Steeplebush (Spirea tomentosa). 

Land Conservation


On Wednesday, July 15 RiverLink staff and AmeriCorps members conducted a riverside clean up on the site of the future Karen Cragnolin Park. Over the course of just a couple hours staff filled a dumpster with trash and debris that was impacting both the land and water on the site.

The photo to the left shows an amazing before/after of the area that was cleaned.

Thank you to the City of Asheville for generously donating a dumpster in support of our clean water and land conservation initiatives!