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 RiverLink Newsletter
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December 2013 
 Mission Statement: RiverLink is a regional non-profit spearheading the economic and environmental donate image revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries as a place to live, work, and play.
In This Issue
The exec has her say
RiverLink Bus Tour
Amboy Road developer meet-n-greet
Local Taco supports RiverLink
Storm Water Stencils
Volunteer Call
Friday Salon
Adopt a Stream in 2014
From our Friends at the Laurel
Upcoming Events
Volunteer Spotlight
Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, Jess Peete, helps remove invasive plants in Bat Cave as part of a work day with the Nature Conservancy. 
From the exec's desk  
Dear RiverLovers,
Happy Holidays. 
As you read this newsletter  you will see that just because it is December it doesn't mean we are slowing down.  We are busy all month long and in the process of planning for another really productive and busy spring and summer.


Mark your calendars and start designing your floats -- we have scheduled the dates for RiverFest and the Anything That Floats Parade and the ever popular RiverMusic 2013 as follows: 

  • Friday, May 30    
  • Friday, June 13   
  • Friday, July 11  
  • Saturday, August 9 RiverFest & The Anything That Floats Parade  
  • Friday, August 29  
  • Friday, September 12. 

We are working with Heira Productions again this year  to attract  a wide variety of musical talent for your family and friends' listening enjoyment on the river. 

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor in 2014  give us a shout at and we will send you all the information you need to become involved.


Amboy Road is a busy place this month. Our phytoremediation specialist was here just before Thanksgiving digging up the "bridal veils"

to perform our first real soil tests after a full growing season with the native grasses we planted that are infused with bacteria designed to vacuum out the volatile organic compounds in the soil (VOCs).

Digging up the bridal veils


Good news -- the smell of petroleum on the site is just about gone and even better news -- we saw big fat worms in the soil!  After over 50 years as a junkyard covered in a 8-foot deep concrete cap, signs of life -- like worms in the soil -- are a big deal. It seems that Mother Nature is performing her magic. 


We are installing an informational sign at this site that describes the phytoremdiation process and has some graphics that detail how we dug up and recycled bout 100,000 tons of concrete, divided the site into sections for soil tests and started our process of phytoremediation.  Fingers crossed, we have some good news from the laboratory soon. 


Jay Fiano, a developer who has done a lot of work in west Asheville, will be our guest at RiverLink on Tuesday, December 10 at 6 p.m. to present his plans for new housing on Amboy Road. Jay has been our guest twice before about this project. He was delayed a few years because of the economy.  The meeting starts at 6 and we hope  to see you here at our Warehouse Studios, 170 Lyman Street, to meet Jay and ask questions.


Many thanks to all the folks who stopped by RiverLink last month to see  and comment on the master plan for the Hominy Creek Greenway. Special thanks to Brother Hug for his history of Hominy Creek. The river has so many stories just waiting to be discovered.


Speaking of river stories, I am giving the last bus tour of 2013 on

December 12 so read article  below to see how you can sign up. Seating is limited so make your reservation today. 


As the end of the year approaches so do some tax breaks for your IRA. This is the last year that you can take advantage of the IRA Charitable rollover provision. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 has been signed into law, which extends the IRA charitable rollover provision. This legislation:

  1. Retroactively reinstates the Charitable Rollover for 2012 for eligible distributions made after November 30, 2012.
  2. Allows any otherwise eligible gifts made after December 31, 2012 and before February 1, 2013 to be treated as a 2012 donation.
  3. Extends the IRA charitable rollover provision through December 31, 2013.

Make sure to check with your financial adviser to confirm you are eligible to take advantage of this tax-free opportunity.


From all of us at Team RiverLink, a  very big HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and your family. We hope every day of this holiday season and the New Year to come is  filled with  joy, peace of mind, good health, family, and friends.


See you on the river,




Join RiverLink for the last RiverFront Bus Tour of the year


Do you have friends and family visiting for the holidays? Want to take them on a tour that showcases the magic of Asheville and the urban waterfront? This is your last chance of the year to enjoy the RiverFront Bus Tour series. 


The next tour will be Thursday, December 12,  when the public is invited to tour the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers with RiverLink


The RiverLink Bus Tour offers answers about Asheville's past, present and future: What is the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan and what does it hold for Asheville's future?  How did the Flood of 1916 change the river area landscape?

This is an opportunity to see the improvements that have occurred and hear what is coming over the next several months and years to make our rivers better places to work, live and play. You will learn some local history and visit some streets and neighborhoods you have never seen before.


The tour is free for RiverLink members but the tour cost for non-members is $20 per person.  Reservations are required. A final confirmation (or cancellation if needed) will be sent the week of the tour.  


Please go to to reserve your seat today. 





What: RiverLink's Riverfront Bus Tour  

When: Thursday, December 12  11:45 -- 2 p.m.   

Where: Meet at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (36 Montford Avenue)



Meet the developer of a proposed project on Amboy Road at the RiverLink office on Dec. 10 

Join RiverLink and developer Jay Fiano to view and review plans for a new proposed housing project on Amboy Road directly across from the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay greenway.


One of the goals of the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay is to promote higher density development along highly traveled river corridors that feature multi-modal options. Amboy Road offers bike, boat, bus, and auto connections to get to work, to visit other neighborhoods and to conserve energy and access the French Broad.


The community and neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Tuesday December 10, starting at 6 PM at RiverLink's Warehouse Studios, 170 Lyman Street in the heart of the River Arts District.


Meet The Developer, Offer Comments

When: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.

Where: RiverLink's Warehouse Studios, 170 Lyman Street, in the heart of the River Art District

Why: Meet the developer and view and review plans for new housing in-fill on Amboy Road

The red "X" marks the location of the proposed development.
The Local Taco To Support RiverLink 

Join The Local Taco, 68 Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville on Monday December 9, from  5 p.m. until closing to support RiverLink. 

Local Taco features an eclectic and unique menu  that embraces the simple pleasures of Tex-Mex cuisine, the traditions and character of Southern food culture, and distinct flavors of the communities in which it resides.

When:  December 9, 2013
Where: Local Taco, 68 Lexington Ave.
Time:   5 p.m. and after
Why:  Support RiverLink projects and initiatives, and have a delicious meal!
Help us remind others not to pollute our streams

RiverLink needs your help!  We are working on marking all the storm drains in the Ross Creek Watershed with our storm drain marker (see picture).  Would you and friends, neighbors, colleagues, or your student group like to spend a few hours, applying these markers on storm drains in the neighborhood?  


This easy task can be done on your own time before December 13, 2013.   We have divided the watershed into 4 areas, Upper Chunns Cove, Lower Chunns Cove, Tunnel Road, and the Kenilworth neighborhood.  


Please let me know if you are interested, or sign up here.  Contact Nancy Watford with questions and to see the maps of the areas at


Ross Creek Watershed  is a highly urbanized watershed that extends from the I-240 cut to Swannanoa River Road, and includes Tunnel Road and the Chunns Cove and Kenilworth neighborhoods.  RiverLink received funding to implement portions of the 2007 Ross Creek Master Plan from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Pigeon River Fund.  This includes the design and implementation of a stormwater wetland and stream enhancement on property at the corner of Waverly and Lakewood Dr, and a wet swale  at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.  The wet swale at St. Luke's was completed in March, 2013 and the stormwater wetland construction is planned to start in November, 2013.  Stormwater BMPs, stream enhancement and conservation of the stream riparian corridor will improve the water quality in Ross Creek, through reducing stormwater runoff and filtering runoff through soil prior to entering the stream. 


As part of the Ross Creek Stormwater Improvement project we are seeking riparian conservation easements within the neighborhood, to protect healthy riparian corridors.  If you are interested in learning more please contact Nancy for more information at:

Volunteer Call: RiverLink needs your help!

Please join Saturday, December 7th from 12-3pm at Malvern Hills park for a volunteer workday. 


In 2011 RiverLink completed the stream restoration of Buttermilk Creek and installed a number of stormwater features in Malvern Hills park, which need some attention and general maintenance.  We will be selectively removing small trees, weeding, splitting and transplanting some plants, and generally cleaning up the stormwater features to get them ready for winter.  Along the stream we will be removing invasive species.  We will provide tools and gloves needed for the project.  If you are interested in taking some of the removed trees or split plants (primarily wetland plants) please bring a bag or bucket for you to transport the plants to your home. 


Please contact Nancy Watford to sign-up or if you have any questions.


In 2009, RiverLink and a team of experts with funding from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund implemented a stream restoration and stormwater project designed to prevent future stream bank erosion and catch and treat polluted stormwater before it enters the creek.  The project was completed in 2010, restoring approximately 1100 linear feet of Rhododendron Creek and installing five stormwater quality features.  For more information about this project please visit, or download the project fact sheet.


Kick off the new year with RiverLink's Friday Salon Series
Earlier this year, we welcomed Dr. Frank Kalinowski to the RiverLink offices for a riveting discussion about the founding fathers and their lasting impact on modern environmental policy.
Dr. Kalinowski is a retired and popular professor from Warren Wilson College and the author of numerous articles and treatises that are thought provoking and informative about the complex world in which we live today.
RiverLink is pleased to announce Dr. Kalinowski is back for another stimulating five-part seminar series:
The American Constitution: The Logic of Law and the Consequences for the Nation.

The purpose of these interactive lectures is to explore a deeper understanding of environmental issues and to attempt the placement of these issues in a larger social, political and historic context.

The talks will be 3-5 p.m. at the RiverLink offices on the following Fridays:
  • January 17 
  • February 21 
  • March 21
  • April 18
  • May 16 
The Friday Salon series is free and open to the publicHowever, space is limited for these talks.

To ensure that you are part of this great discussion, it is important that you reserve your seat as soon as possible. You will be able to make a one-time or standing reservation depending on your schedule. 
Rotary Club beautifies the Sculpture Plaza 

On Saturday, November 16, twelve members of the Asheville-Buncombe

Tucker Veach of the Biltmore  Rotary Club takes a turn with the tiller.

Rotary Club started what the club hopes will be a long-term daffodil garden along the French Broad River in the River Arts District. The initial planting of 700 bulbs occurred in RiverLink's Sculpture and Performance Plaza, which is located directly across from Cotton Mill Studios on Riverside Drive.


Club president Fred Brooking said that the club hopes to plant at least 500 more bulbs each year for the foreseeable future. Fred adds, "The Biltmore Club hopes that over the years people in the community will look forward to coming to the River Arts District every Spring to see the daffodil display, always an early and welcome sign that Winter is once again behind us." 


We are all especially grateful to the club and its members for their help in making  the French Broad even more attractive to visit or live, work and play.

AAR Hosts Awesome Whitewater Adventure Film
Okay, all you river lovers, plan on joining AAR on December 13 at 6 p.m., when Asheville Adventure Rental, 704 Riverside Drive, 828-505-7371, will host a screening of Amongstit's "Grandfather" to benefit the Warren Wilson Paddling Team. $10/$12 door includes movie, hamburger/hot dog, raffle ticket and beverage. Special thanks to Second Gear, Watershed, NRS, Altamont Brewing Company. 

About the film:

"Rising out of the Blue Ridge, Grandfather Mountain is the undoubtedly the heart of the high country. No other single landmass lends itself to whitewater so greatly as this prominent peak. Follow along as Amongstit Films explores the downriver play of the Watauga River, the fun, friendly Wilson Creek and it's steep tributaries, the little-known Upper Creek, the waterfalls of the Elk River, and the deep, committing, Linville Gorge. Starring: Ty Caldwell, Dylan McKinney, Clay Lucas, Ryan Dekay, Mac McGee, Tyler Mayo, Colin Hunt and many more. Don't miss this action packed documentary that is sure to be the resource for kayaking in the Boone area."

Grandfather - Trailer
Grandfather - Trailer

Adopt a Stream in 2014!
Everyday pollutants such as trash, used oil, pesticides, fertilizers and yard wastes reach our urban streams.  Although some pollutants are easily detected, some go unnoticed without the watchful eye of concerned and involved citizens.  Adopt-a-Stream Teams are crucial in protecting our rivers, creeks, and streams and in reporting water pollution problems. This makes RiverLink's Adopt-a-Stream Program critical to the continued health and vitality of the French Broad River Watershed. 
The Adopt-a-Stream program is a hands-on way for local residents and businesses to get actively involved in improving the water quality of the French Broad River Watershed. This a very flexible program that gives you the tools and knowledge to make a difference in your watershed by cleaning up your local stream.  
Who Can Participate?
Anyone who is concerned about water quality within the French Broad River watershed can participate! Adopt-a-Stream Teams may include: individuals, communities, families, student organizations, youth and church groups, scout groups, civic organizations, businesses and industries. 
Why Participate?
By participating in a RiverLink Adopt-a-Stream Team, you are improving one of the region's greatest natural resources-our creeks and streams!
What do I Have to do?
Minimum of 2 cleanups per year; Report any water related issues/problems to RiverLink
For more information about starting your Adopt-A-Stream team, contact Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, Jess Peete
From Our Friends at the Laurel of Asheville

A Greener Way with Grassroots 

As long as he can remember, Sammy Cox has been an environmentalist. Several years ago, he decided to start a delivery business called Grass Routes to provide circulation reporting and distribution services for a variety of locally owned publications. He felt it was critical to incorporate green methods into GR's design. "I modeled my business as an environmentally low-impact delivery service," says Sammy.

Grass Routes (GR) circulates print media within a 75-mile radius of downtown Asheville. "The largest impact I have in the environment is the situation of using an automobile," explains Sammy. "One way I offset my emission is through the NC Green Power." GR calculates how many miles are driven per year and then invests in NC Green Power. "They, in turn, utilize that contribution to fund and produce alternative sources of energy from wind, water, and solar."


Read the rest of this article in this month's issue of the Laurel.


To learn more, visit,

e-mail, or call 828.989.6965.

This Holiday Season give the gift of greenway;
a gift of forever 
We would like to remind you that you can help support the development of local greenways and blueways through purchasing Deeds Of Support for the Wilma Dykeman Riverway, the Broadway Greenway, and Hominy Creek Greenway. RiverLink continually supports planning development and construction of greenways throughout our four-county region, through the support of our members and Deeds of Support.  
 Since 1987, RiverLink has been advocating for greenway and park development in the floodplain along the entire length of the French Broad River.  Use of the floodplain for recreation, both passive and active,  and as economic revitalization and environmental clean-up tool are the centerpiece of RiverLink's activities these past 25-plus years. Our primary goal is for  the entire watershed to be RiverLinked!   

Upcoming Events


Monday, December 9, 5 p.m- 9 p.m. at the Local Taco --
Join The Local Taco to support RiverLink. Local Taco features an eclectic and unique menu that embraces the simple pleasures of Tex-Mex cuisine, the traditions and character of Southern food culture, and distinct flavors of the communities in which it resides.
Tuesday, December 10, 6:00 p.m. at the RiverLink offices--
Join RiverLink and developer Jay Fiano to view and review plans for a new proposed housing project on Amboy Road directly across from the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay greenway.

Wednesday, December 11, at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the RiverLink offices --  
Volunteer orientation sessions. Contact to become involved in the evolution of the river and learn more about RiverLink and join Jim Stokely to learn more about his mother, WilmaDykeman.

Thursday, December 12, 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m. -- RiverLink Bus Tour.
The last bus tour of the year!!

Experience the Riverfront magic firsthand! The RiverLink bus tour meets at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce at 11:45 a.m. 

Friday, December 13 at 6 p.m., at Asheville Adventure Rentals, 
704 Riverside Drive -- a screening of Amongstit's "Grandfather," a film about whitewater paddling just north of us.

River News   


 New River Access 


Dana well owners will wait longer for clean water 


Local Taco to support RiverLink Dec. 9


Pedestrian bridge for Asheville greenway opens  


Links growing between coal ash and contamination


Duke ordered to supply water to home near Asheville plant 


Report on Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements


Costs for pedestrian and bicycle safety infrastructure often vary greatly from city to city and state to state. This document (and associated database) is intended to provide meaningful estimates of infrastructure costs by collecting up-to-date cost information for pedestrian and bicycle treatments from states and cities across the country. Using this information, researchers, engineers, planners, and the general public can better understand the cost of pedestrian and bicycle treatments in their communities and make informed decisions about which infrastructure enhancements are best suited for implementation. By collecting countrywide cost information, this database should contain useful information for any state or city, even if costs from that particular state or city are not included for a given treatment.




Hemlock woolly adelgid


Scientific Name: 

Adelges tsugae

Identification: The presence of HWA can be identified by its egg sacs, which resemble small tufts of cotton clinging to the underside of hemlock branches. Hemlocks stricken by HWA frequently shift to a grayish-green appearance rather than the dark green of healthy hemlocks. Between 100 and 300 eggs are laid in the woolly egg sacs and due to their asexual reproduction they can produce up to two generations a year in North America. Larvae emerge in spring and can spread on their own or with the assistance of wind, birds and/or mammals.


Ecology: Crawlers settle at the base of needles where they insert their stylus bundles deep within plant tissues, so that they penetrate the vascular tissue and reach the parenchyma cells of the xylem, which transfer and store nutrients in the plant and connect the xylem to the phloem and pith. HWA secretes saliva which hardens and remains in the plant after the stylet is withdrawn. The HWA thus depletes nutrients by depleting the plant's nutrient stores. This desiccates the needles, causing them to turn a grayish-green color and drop from the tree. Defoliation follows and most buds are also killed, leading to almost no new growth on infested braches. This usually occurs within a few months of original infestation. Within a couple of years, major limbs start dying off, starting from the bottom, and the entire tree can be dead within four years.



Plant Control: Different control methods should be used depending on the location of the hemlocks. Infestations on ornamental trees need to be controlled by methods different from those used to control HWA infestation in natural forest systems. In a landscaped environment infested trees can be selectively removed to prevent further spreading. The best control method for forest settings would be the use or introduction of biological control agents.

Courtesy Columbia Edu.  


Volunteer Spotlight 

Jim Stokely

Jim Stokely, one of two sons of RiverLink's "patron saint" Wilma Dykeman, was born in Asheville and grew up in Newport, Tennessee He has worked in Human Resources for almost 30 years, most recently as owner/operator of his own compensation consulting firm. Jim and his wife Anne, a personal historian, moved from Massachusetts to Weaverville in 2011.

 Every month, Jim participates in RiverLink's volunteer orientation by giving a short PowerPoint presentation titled "Who is Wilma Dykeman?" He has also helped clear an overland trail to one of the French Broad River Paddle Trail's overnight campsites, and he is CONSIDERING volunteering to help guide the RiverLink bus tours - although no one could EVER do this as well as Karen Cragnolin.
Besides his work with RiverLink, Jim heads up the Wilma Dykeman Legacy, a tax-exempt non-profit organization founded in 2012. The mission of the Legacy is to sponsor or co-sponsor lectures, events, and other programs in the Asheville area in order to promote Wilma Dykeman's core values - two of which are environmental integrity and social justice. 
This fall, the Legacy partnered with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNCA to present a six-part lecture series on Wilma Dykeman herself. Next spring, the Legacy will partner with Pack Memorial Library in downtown Asheville to present a lecture series on water management issues.
Top Ten Coolest Hibernating Animals


Winter means hibernation for some in the animal world, and humans, too, to a lesser degree. 


Check out this list of hibernating animals and you just might learn something. 


Alpine marmot- 

Marmots hibernate for up to eight months! They spend the four months they are awake having babies and preparing for the next hibernation. During hibernation they take only 2-3 breaths a minute.


Common Poorwill-

It isn't often that you hear about a bird that sleeps the bad weather away, that's because the Common Poorwill is the only known bird species to hibernate. It picks a spot under shallow rocks or rotten logs and stays there for up to five months. Its daily energy needs drop by 93% and it can stay asleep for 100 days!


Black Bear- 

These furry mammals don't hibernate in the true sense because their body temperature only drops a little bit and they can wake-up at any moment. In fact, a pregnant mama bear will have her cubs during the hibernation period. Like true hibernators, the bear's heartbeat will slow down and they can go for a long time without having any food. During hibernation a Black bear's heart can drop from 40-50 to 8 beats per minute and they can last as long as 100 days without eating or drinking!



 When bats are left alone, they can be some of the longest hibernators. In the wild, big brown bats have spent 64-66 days in hibernation while in captivity one lasted an incredible 344 days! These little guys don't have to eat but they do wake up to drink. Their heart rate drops from 1000 beats per minute to only 25 and some bats only take a breath every 2 hours.


Fat-tailed dwarf lemur-

Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemurs live in Madagascar where temperatures in June and July usually stay about 30 degrees C. Now that might seem pretty warm to you, but this is actually the coldest time of the year for these lemurs. During this cold spell Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemurs pick a tree and settle there for about seven months until the rains return in November and food is available again. During their hibernation, they live off the fat in their tail (hence fat-tailed) losing close to 50% of their body weight!


Box turtle-

 Hibernating box turtles are found in well hidden spots around Southern North America (USA and Mexico). The length of their winter sleep depends on the location and turtle subspecies: some can last as short as 77 days or as long as 154 days. Their heart beat drops to just one every 5-10 minutes and they don't have to breathe in air at all. They are still very sensitive to the changing environment around them, if they wake up too early they will likely not survive.



 When the temperature drops, males and worker bees die off but the queen survives by hibernating. She hibernates in a hole in the soil, in rotten tree stumps or under leaf litter. She will emerge 6-8 months later, warm-up and then find a nice spot to build a nest.


Garter snake-

 Garter snakes hibernate in groups. In Canada, where winters are exceptionally cold, there can be hundreds and sometime thousands of snakes grouped together for warmth. Once spring arrives and the snow melts, they head out of their winter homes to bask in the sun.



Hedgehogs are some of the deepest hibernators around. Some can sleep through the whole winter! Their body temperature drops and they breathe so little that it can hardly be seen. They have special cells that release heat 20 times faster than white cells.



Snails have a built in bed for their hibernation. They go into their shell, close up the hole with a skin made of chalk and slime that keeps the moisture in. During this time, they use almost no energy and don't have to eat anything at all. In some areas where there is little rain, snails can hibernate for years!


Courtesy of Earth Rangers

Contact Information
PO Box 15488
Asheville, NC 28813
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RiverLink | PO Box 15488 | Asheville | NC | 28813