October Monthly Newsletter

Dear Friends,

The seasons have shifted, and we are welcoming in the bright colors and cooler temperatures of fall.

This month we are excited to share more details about the voluntary conservation easement that is in place on the historic Wilma Dykeman Homestead. The easement, which protects the 11+ acre childhood home of Wilma, ensures that the wooded hillsides, historic homestead, and headwaters of Beaverdam Creek that she loved so much will be protected forever.

This easement is also emblematic of the kinds of land conservation projects we take on. Rather than conserving large parcels of land we focus on smaller areas that are adjacent to rivers and streams. Providing a buffer of protected land around waterways helps reduce pollution from stormwater runoff, reduces erosion and sediment pollution, and provides much-needed habitat for native aquatic plants and wildlife.

Themes from Wilma Dykeman’s popular book, The French Broad, helped shape RiverLink’s mission and continues to guide our work in water quality, land conservation and environmental education. She presented two ideas that we keep coming back to: the way we treat each other is reflected in the way we treat the natural world, and taking care of our priceless land and water resources is everyone’s responsibility.

Your support and belief in the importance of this work continues to bring to life Wilma’s vision for a clean, healthy river and thriving watershed community.

Garrett Artz, Executive Director

Program Updates

Water Quality

RiverLink staff continue to monitor water quality in Smith Mill Creek and Town (Nasty) Branch. Data indicates that both streams have poor water quality caused by urban stormwater runoff and sediment pollution. The good news is that RiverLink has completed watershed restoration plans for both streams to address these pressing issues! As we secure funding to implement projects proposed in the Smith Mill Creek and Central Asheville Watershed Restoration Plans, our monthly water quality monitoring will allow us to track progress as we move towards cleaner streams.

Fun with our interactive stream table

Environmental Education

One of our favorite education tools to take into schools is our interactive stream table. Since we’re not going into the classroom right now we wanted to find a way to share this fun and educational activity with students, and what better way than a video! In it we teach about how rivers form, how they react to storms and flood waters, and share some concepts for developing healthy and resilient riverside communities. Click here to watch the full video!

Wilma Dykeman Homestead - Bridge

Land Conservation

We are so excited to share more details about the conservation easement that is in place on the historic Wilma Dykeman homestead in North Asheville. The 11.38-acre property is the childhood home of Wilma, a historian, environmental activist, and author of the popular book The French Broad. Published in 1955, her book was an ode to the French Broad River, but also a daringly honest profile of its fragile condition, and the impacts of pollution on our streams and rivers. Read more about the easement.

Other News

Volunteer of the Month

Our volunteer group of the month is the awesome team at LoLo Engagement. We want to thank them for their hard work at Karen Cragnolin Park, in West Asheville. These passionate, motivated people helped us remove invasive plants from the fence line on Amboy Road, taking this property one step closer to becoming a public park!

Plant of the Month

Our plant of the month is the dreaded Kudzu (Pueraria montana). This non-native vine is also known as foot-a-night vine, Japanese arrowroot, Ko-hemp, and “the vine that ate the South,” due to its incredibly fast growth rate. Removing kudzu and other invasive plants like porcelain berry is a priority for RiverLink, as these plants negatively impact the habitat of native species. To learn more about non-native invasive plants, including identification and best removal practices, check out our recent video!

Upcoming Events

Save the date for the French Broad River Partnership (FBRP) Annual Meeting on November 10, from 1:30-3:00 PM. The FBRP is a group of individuals and organizations that want to maintain and improve stream health within the French Broad River Watershed. Click here to learn more and sign up for the free, virtual event.