Water Quality Program Receives Grant Funding for 2021 Programs

Adopt-a-Storm Drain Program in the Central Asheville Watershed

Asheville, NC – February 9, 2021 ​ – RiverLink has received generous grant funding from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina’s Pigeon River Fund to create an Adopt-a-Storm Drain program within the ​Central Asheville Watershed​. The pilot program will pair local volunteers with a storm drain in their neighborhood. Volunteers will be asked to check their storm drain regularly and keep it clear of litter and debris, which will help protect water quality and prevent street flooding from clogged drains.

The Central Asheville Watershed is the ideal location to try out the Adopt-a-Storm Drain pilot project. The Watershed, which extends from downtown Asheville to the River Arts District, and includes the East-End/Valley Street, Southside Community, and West-End Clingman Avenue neighborhoods, was the focal point for the ​Central Asheville Watershed Restoration Plan​, completed by RiverLink in 2020. The results of the year-long restoration plan study identified stormwater runoff as a major pollution source and recommended an Adopt-A-Storm Drain program as one way to tackle the issue. “After months of isolation due to COVID-19, I believe we are all ready to get outside and do something. Being a part of the Adopt-a-Storm Drain program will offer a safe opportunity to do something positive for our community and environment,” said Renee Fortner, RiverLink’s Watershed Resources Manager.

RiverLink is working with the City of Asheville’s Public Works Stormwater Division and Public Works GIS staff to create an interactive web map for residents to locate and adopt their storm drain. Using a smartphone or computer, volunteers will report on the amount and type of debris cleared, and share specific conditions they identified, such as illegal dumping or flooding. The City has a comprehensive preventative maintenance program to inspect, monitor and maintain approximately 10,000 storm drain inlets throughout the city. Regular scheduled street sweeping is also in place. “The City is excited to partner with RiverLink for the Adopt-A-Storm Drain Program so that residents can take part in being proactive in their neighborhood,” said Keisha Lipe, the City of Asheville’s Stormwater Quality Specialist.

Registration for the Adopt-a-Storm Drain program will open in April 2021, and the goal will be to get at least 100 storm drains adopted in the first year. Volunteers will be awarded with fun prizes for their commitment and enthusiasm, and if the program is successful it will be expanded to include other areas in the City of Asheville.

For more information on the Adopt-a-Storm Drain Program contact waterresources@riverlink.org, 828-252-8474, Ext. 114.