The French Broad River and its tributaries are important natural resources in our region, providing critical wildlife habitat, recreational tourism opportunities, and a source of drinking water for millions of people. Needless to say, we must conserve these precious resources. RiverLink’s Watershed Resources Program works to improve water quality and quantity within the French Broad River Watershed in Western North Carolina. The program utilizes a multi-faceted approach including “on the ground” projects and education initiatives that empower citizens to help improve regional water quality. Projects include stream enhancement/restoration, watershed planning, and the installation of stormwater control measures. WaterRICH is an education initiative that informs residents how to conserve water and manage stormwater runoff at home.
WaterRICH helps homeowners understand rainwater management. Through the program, RiverLink provides an on-line resource designed specifically for smaller sites and private individuals. The WaterRICH program is an easily accessible, comprehensive resource for understanding how to manage water in the residential setting. You’ll learn how to harvest rainwater, create stormwater garden features, and reduce outside water needs. The Program offers hands-on workshops that teach site analysis and introduce design tools needed to select water quality and infiltration mechanisms to use right in your backyard.
Community engagement is critical to conserving our waterways. Name that Creek is a RiverLink program that connects communities with local unnamed streams through naming campaigns. RiverLink works with residents living near an unnamed stream to collect potential names and create a poll. The winning name is then chosen democratically by community vote. Proposed stream names should be distinctive to the area, inspired by local history, folklore, or surrounding flora and fauna.
A watershed is an area of land where all of the water that falls within it drains to a common point, such as a stream or lake. RiverLink works to improve water quality within the 2,830 square-mile French Broad River Watershed in North Carolina. This large watershed is composed of many smaller sub-watersheds, each associated with a tributary of the river. RiverLink utilizes watershed planning as a tool to strategize and increase the impact of our water conservation efforts.
Stormwater is rain and snow that runs off solid surfaces such as parking lots, roads, and roofs and then empties into natural or manmade drainages. Stormwater runoff is the leading source of water pollution in urbanized areas. Increasing development in Western North Carolina has led to an increase in stormwater runoff within the French Broad River Watershed. RiverLink’s Watershed Resources Program pursues grant funding to install landscape features, known as stormwater control measures, which capture, store, and filter stormwater runoff before it enters our waterways.
Our rivers and streams have been altered over time by human activity, often resulting in poor water quality and the loss of critical fish and wildlife habitat. Stream enhancement and restoration projects aim to address impairment issues and return the stream to a healthy, functional ecosystem. RiverLink has helped restore over 2.5 miles of streams in the French Broad River Watershed and continues to seek impaired streams and funding for future projects.