StormWater Control

StormWater Control

Stormwater: Why All the Fuss?

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.  Numerous pollutants are picked up by stormwater as it flows across impervious surfaces, such as streets and driveways. This water flows untreated to the rivers we use for drinking, fishing, and other recreation activities. Impervious surfaces also prevent precipitation from infiltrating into the ground and recharging our groundwater supply.

Stormwater also increases the frequency and severity of flooding. In our urban and even in many rural areas, water which once entered the soil now drains from impervious surfaces, such as parking lots, roads, and roofs into below ground pipes or ditches. This water drains directly to our rivers and streams more quickly creating an increase in volume of water in our streams. Our streams where not built by nature to handle these flows, therefore there is an increase in streambank erosion creating steep banks, undercut banks, and sedimentation.

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.

Current Projects

Craven St./ New Belgium Brewery

In July 2017, RiverLink and partners, City of Asheville and New Belgium Brewery, completed an extensive project to mange stormwater runoff within the Penland Creek Watershed. With funding from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, a combination of green infrastructure and stormwater control measures were installed along Craven St. and throughout the campus of New Belgium Brewery. A heavily impaired section of Penland Creek was also restored and now serves as a beautiful focal point on New Belgium’s campus.

Givens Estates Innovative Stormwater Project

Givens Estates is a non-profit Methodist retirement community on Sweeten Creek Rd. in South Asheville with a strong ethic of environmental stewardship. Their campus contains steep slopes and two tributaries of Dingle Creek, a priority watershed for the City of Asheville due to poor water quality caused by stormwater runoff from rapid urbanization. Clean Water Management Trust Fund has awarded RiverLink funding to install stormwater control measures on Givens Estates to mitigate runoff from impervious surfaces on campus.

The innovative nature of the Givens Estates Stormwater Project is the research component led by Robinson Design Engineers and Western Carolina University. Limited research has been conducted on stormwater control measures amongst the steep slopes of Western North Carolina. Robinson Design Engineers will begin by collect pre-construction data within the two streams on campus. They will then design the stormwater control measures based on these findings along with input from other regional engineers. Once installed, post-construction data will be collected and analyzed through Western Carolina University to help determine the effectiveness of the stormwater control measures.

Outreach and education are always an important component of RiverLink’s efforts to improve water quality. For this project, RiverLink will be conducting outreach events within the Dingle Creek Watershed to educate residents about the impacts of stormwater runoff.  Our volunteer work days will focus on improving the riparian habitat along the two streams on Givens Estates Campus. Educational signage will be installed and site tours given once the project is complete.

In addition to improving water quality and habitat within the Dingle Creek Watershed, the research findings of this project will advance our knowledge on stormwater management in Western North Carolina where steep slopes are common.