Water Quality

Water Quality

Promoting Clean Water

Healthy Rivers equal Healthy Communities. RiverLink’s Watershed Resources program works to improve water quality in the French Broad River and its tributaries. These waterways support critical wildlife habitat for many species, such as the hellbender salamander and rainbow trout. Our local economies thrive on water-based recreational tourism. The French Broad River watershed also provides drinking water for many communities. These things are true only if the water is clean. Our Watershed Resources program uses a combination of initiatives, including on the ground projects and community outreach to improve and protect water quality.

Water Conservation Questions
To learn more about RiverLink’s water conservation initiatives, contact our Watershed Resources Manager at:

waterresources@riverlink.org, or (828) 252-8474 X 14


Stream Restorations

Sediment is a major water quality issue in the French Broad River watershed. Stream restoration projects address sediment pollution by repairing eroding streambanks and installing native woody plants. Native plants not only help stabilize eroding streambanks, but also provide food and shelter for wildlife. These projects also restore important in-stream habitat for fish and mussels. The ultimate goal of every stream restoration is to restore the waterway to a healthy, functional ecosystem. RiverLink has helped restore over 2.5 miles of streams in the French Broad River Watershed.


Stormwater Control

The rain water that runs off rooftops, driveways, and parking lots is called stormwater runoff. Why do we care? Stormwater runoff is bad for water quality. This runoff carries pollutants into our waterways.  It also contributes to streambank erosion and flooding. RiverLink’s Watershed Resources Program pursues grant funding to install landscape features, such as rain gardens and constructed wetlands. These features are known as stormwater control measures, and improve water quality by filtering stormwater runoff before it enters our waterways. Increased development within the French Broad River watershed means more stormwater runoff, making these projects a top priority for RiverLink.


WaterRICH, Water Conservation Program

Would you like to conserve water (and save money!) by reducing potable water use on your lawn and garden? What if your efforts also helped protect water quality in the French Broad River watershed? WaterRICH is a RiverLink program that teaches residents how to harvest rainwater to reduce outside water needs. It also provides information on how to retain rainwater in attractive garden features, such as rain gardens and swales. By keeping rain water on your property, you can help recharge our groundwater and keep runoff from entering our waterways. The WaterRICH guide is a free on-line resource that provides detailed instructions on the design and installation of rain barrels, rain gardens, and much more. RiverLink also offers WaterRICH community presentations and workshops for hands on learning.


Watershed Planning

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 French Broad River. RiverLink utilizes watershed planning as a tool to identify the source of water quality issues and develop a plan to improve water quality.  The major steps of watershed planning include: 1. Build community partnerships. 2. Characterize the watershed to identify problems. 3. Set goals and identify solutions. 4. Design an implementation program. 5. Implement the watershed plan. 6. Measure progress and make adjustments.


Name That Creek

Community engagement is critical to conserving our waterways. Name that Creek is a RiverLink program that connects communities with local unnamed streams. 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.


Water Quality Resources

NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) – Division of Water Resources

Environmental Quality Institute- WNC Water Quality Data

Environmental Protection Agency- Water Quality

Water Quality Violations

City of Asheville Emergency Sediment and Erosion Control Hotline

If you see emergency sediment, erosion or illicit discharge violations within the city limits during normal business hours 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. call (828) 232-4567.

After normal business hours, weekends and holidays please contact our on call duty officer at (828) 251-1122.

Buncombe County Soil & Erosion Control Division

Doug Sharp | Erosion Control Officer

Jason Guess | Erosion Control Technician

P: (828) 250-4848  |  F: (828) 250-6086

NCDEQ Asheville Office

X