June Monthly Newsletter

Good day!

As we head into summer weather and outdoor activities, we are grateful that we can move around more safely and get together with friends and family. The French Broad River is a great recreation option whether you fish, float, paddle or hike along its bank. We are regenerated by its beauty and diverse experiences.

RiverLink continues to move ahead with many projects even during this transition from one Executive Director to the next.  Staff are engaged in RiverCamp, leading restoration projects and working with community members to set aside land to better protect our watershed. Our collaboration with the Town of Woodfin, Buncombe County, the Tourism Development Authority and others on the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway project included a recent trip to the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The trip gave the design team and project participants a chance to meet as well as review the Wave design and update overall implementation plans. Karen Cragnolin Park is moving toward an initial implementation phase as we work with the NC Department of Transportation, the City, the WNC Metropolitan Planning Organization, our landscape architecture team Nelson Byrd Woltz, and others to complete a design that will allow us to begin building the park. You may notice new signage and information in coming weeks.
We will succeed in these activities, despite some challenges, largely because your energy, commitment and support continue to inspire and uplift us. Please keep our work together in mind as you consider how to respond to our Spring Appeal. We welcome contributions of any amount, knowing that we each have many demands on our resources and time.

Thank you and cheers!

Anne E. Keller, Ph.D.
RiverLink Board Chair

Program Updates

Water Quality

Our WaterRICH and RiverRats programs hosted an educational event on Saturday, June 5th in the beautiful Black Mountain Town Square. We gave away 15 rain barrels and had a great time talking with residents about water quality and stormwater runoff. A big thanks to the Town of Black Mountain for supporting this event. We cannot wait to do it again!

Welcome to Tim Kinsey, our summer intern through the SECU Public Fellows Internship Program and UNC-Asheville. Tim is a student at Warren Wilson College pursuing a career as a High School History Teacher. He will be spending the summer helping with RiverCamp, engaging with volunteers, and learning more about water quality and conservation among other things. In Tim’s words: “I’m very excited to be a part of the RiverLink team and I look forward to what the summer may bring!”

RiverCamp island

Environmental Education

RiverCamp has officially started and we have a full roster of excited future river stewards. Our campers will be exploring forests and waterfalls, learning about bugs, water chemisty, and stormwater, and having adventures on the water with canoes, tubes, and rafts. Throughout all of these impactful experiences our staff will be encouraging reflection, creativity, and a sense of responsibility for these shared natural spaces. Thanks to our generous funders, which include Duke Energy, Buncombe County Tipping Point, The Asheville Rotary Club, and the Huisking Foundation. Their contributions have helped cover supplies, staff costs, trip fees, and financial aid for 20% of our campers. If you’d like to be notified about next summers camp you can join the mailing list here.

Wilma Dykeman Homestead - Spider Web

Land Conservation

Thanks to Tennoca Construction for their work on a sediment basin in the Kenilworth area. They generously donated 2 days of staffing and equipment to remove 4 truckloads of accumulated silt and muck from the detention basin along a tributary that feeds into Kenilworth Lake. RiverLink is responsible for the care and maintenance of this stormwater feature for 10 years after its construction, but limited funds was making that a challenge. Tennoca demonstrated generosity and good stewardship practices and we are so grateful for their help. 

Other News

Park Project Updates

The Town of Woodfin was recently awarded $200,000 by the Division of Water Resources (NC Dept of Environmental Quality) as part of its funding strategy to renovate and expand its 8.5 acre Riverside Park. Plans for the park include river access for kayaks and canoes, a riverbank stabilizing “boulder scramble”, natural forest, and a grand viewing pavilion. The park serves as a launching point for the world-class Whitewater Wave, currently in design in coordination with the park. The Town of Woodfin solicits public input through July 11th on what amenities are top priority for inclusion in the final design.  Please share your input in the online survey that can be accessed here. Participation is not limited to Woodfin residents.

Support the Spring Appeal Campaign

Pollution from stormwater runoff and leaking sewer lines continues to increase the amount of harmful bacteria in the water, and urban streams within Asheville City limits have some of the worst water quality ratings in the state.

The time to act is now. Your gift of any amount has such a positive impact on the health of the French Broad River Watershed. Together we can ensure that our community has healthy land, clean air, and pollution free water.