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 RiverLink Newsletter
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January 2016 
 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, learn, work, and play.
In This Issue

See the article below to learn more about The French Broad and our 30 year anniversary celebration that we kick off January 22nd.

Notes from our Executive Director, Karen Cragnolin

Dear RiverLover,

Happy 2016! You may not be aware yet but 2016 has historical significance for a number of reasons. 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the July 1916 flood that caused so much damage throughout WNC. 2016 is also RiverLink's 30th anniversary and not only have we created a new logo (thanks to AmeriCorps member Justin Young) but have a new and sassy French Broad icons (again thanks to Jason Young) that we will unveil each month for the next 12 months. See the latest installment below. Much like our volunteers, board members and staff this sassy French Broad loves the river and over the next year she will be doing everything from cleaning up trash because she ain't no trashy broad to loving conservation and storm water. Stay tuned.

In addition to icons and logos we have scheduled Friday Salons for the next 12 months starting on January 22 to highlight milestones in the river revitalization efforts. Jean Webb, Bob Kendrick and Luther Smith, ASLA, will be at the RiverLink offices that day at 3 to reminisce about their involvement in the start of RiverLink and public perception of the river in 1986. Space is limited so make your reservation today. Let me offer you a special video invitation.

In July, along with Buncombe County EMS, USGS, NOAH and others, we will host  a symposium about the 1916 flood and explore how or if conditions have changed at the regulatory, land use and public perception level since the 1916 flood. 

A big thank you to Adventure Center of Asheville for hosting RiverLink as one of their charities over the holidays. You got to ride the zip line and we got a check! Thanks to all who participated.

Please welcome new Development Manager Brantlee Eisenman. We are thrilled to have a development professional on staff after all these years. Brantlee has a great background in
Brantlee and Nick
fundraising, having worked for both the Daniel Boone Boy Scouts and Buncombe County Literacy Council in the past. If you have a great fundraising idea or just want to say hello, drop Brantlee a welcome to the French Broad River watershed note at Brantlee@riverlink.org, or call her at 828-252-8474, ext. 12

We have been meeting and thinking and planning for a spectacular 2016 for all the river lovers out there. Click here for the dates for our RiverMusic series 2016. You can get your business in front of thousands by becoming a RiverMusic/Fest sponsor. These six events will showcase your brand all Summer long in press releases, on stage, social media, etc. Take a look at our sponsorship brochure and get aboard!

Click here for a peek at our monthly schedule for the Friday Salon Series about the French Broad and RiverLink's 30 years of progress and projects. It is an exciting time for the river and our watershed and you can't fully appreciate where we are without understanding where we were 30 years ago and the lessons learned along the way.

See you on the river,

Year-long celebration looks at RiverLink from a variety of angles through talks and tours

It's hard to imagine now that the French Broad River is such a popular destination, but there was a time not too long ago when no one wanted to talk about the River. Viewed as a running sewer for decades - and often with good reason - the French Broad took a back seat to the revitalization that was going on in downtown Asheville in the 1980s and '90s. 
1987 -- Pack Square. RiverLink offers $1 raft rides in the fountain to raise funds
"People had their backs to the river," recalls Bob Kendrick, one of the founders of RiverLink. "Everyone was looking away from the river." 

What is now the River Arts District was a collection of mostly abandoned buildings that no one could see any potential in. The homeless lived in camps by the river and in the old industrial buildings. It wasn't just "sketchy" then; it was a place most people did not want to be even in daylight hours. 

Things began to change in the mid-1980s. The French Broad River Foundation (FBRF) was formed by the Land of Sky Regional Council to look into ways to get tourists to stay one more day in Asheville, with the river one possibility. The mission of the FBRF was to create more river access points for recreation while keeping the public thinking about clean water. The FBRF became a non-profit organization championing the French Broad throughout its 117 mile watershed. Jean Webb, an Asheville native and long time citizen activist, became the FBRF's first chairperson.
In April 1989, the French Broad Riverfront Planning Committee (FBRPC), a loosely-knit group of volunteers, came together under the auspices of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and the FBRF to develop a plan for the Asheville Riverfront. The FBRF and FBRPC merged to form RiverLink and the rest is history. 

Walt Bowen secured a $10,000 grant and Karen Cragnolin was hired as RiverLink's executive director. In 1989, Luther Smith was instrumental in the publishing of the RiverFront Plan, a guidebook for how Asheville's riverfront could look. 

Want to learn more? Hear some anecdotes about those early days and learn how far the river has come? 
RiiverFest 1987 brought folks down to the River

On Friday, January 22, at from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. at the RiverLink office (170 Lyman Street in the RAD) there will be a discussion on the founding of RiverLink, from its beginnings in 1987. Speakers will include long-time supporters Jean Webb, Bob Kendrick and others who were there in the early days. Parking is available in the Wedge parking lot (map). The event is free, but
registration is a must to ensure we have space for everyone.

Throughout 2016, RiverLink will present a series of monthly events showcasing various aspects of RiverLink's history and contributions to the Asheville and WNC area. RiverLink's impact on the community is both varied and powerful. From greenway and park creation to cleaner water, economic development, cleaning "dirty dirt" and much more, RiverLink has been on the cusp of the region's evolution for decades.

The majority of these events will take place the third Friday of each month at the RiverLink office from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Topics will include The Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan, Conservation Easements and restoration projects, greenway and park development, and more.
Calling All Education Volunteers!

Like making a difference? Have a passion for the river? Want to take a break from the daily grind to act like a kid again? Then sign up to be a
Kids in the Creek
RiverLink Education Volunteer! Come out to special educational events with K-12th grade students to pass on the love, legacies, and lessons of the French Broad. Don't have a scientist background? Not a problem! We will provide trainings and lesson plans with all the information you'll need. High school and college students, this is the perfect way to bulk up that resume and gain some valuable experience! To sign up to become a RiverLink Education Volunteer, email Education Coordinator Laura Evans, laura@riverlink.org. Thanks for being a voice of the river!

RiverLink's 9th Annual Voices of the River: Music, Art, and Poetry Contest Update

Don't forget that this year's Voices of the River Contest has a new category... music! Have lyric, vocal, or instrumental talents that you would like for 3 star judges to see and possibly share at our event for the community to see? Then become a participant in this year's contest! This is a fun and inspiring event that brings students together of all ages to share our love of the French Broad through poetry, 2D art, 3D art, and music. Deadline for student submissions is March 25th and 5:00 pm. Submissions can be dropped off at the RiverLink Office 170 Lyman Street or mailed to P.O. Box 15488 Asheville, NC 28813. All submissions must be attached to the 2016 submission form found on our website: http://riverlink.org/learn/education-programs/poetry-contest/. The reception and awards ceremony will be April 16th from 2:00 - 5:30 pm at AB Tech's Holly Library. For more information email Education Coordinator Laura Evans laura@riverlink.org or call (828) 252-8474 x 18.
Quilt panels reflect artists' love for the French Broad

Quilty Pleasures, a part of the Western North Carolina Quilters Guild, will have FBR-themed quilt panels on display in the Rogow Room of the Transylvania County Library in downtown Brevard (map) throughout the month of January. The panels were created by Pat Crawford, Martha Gilliam, Jean Jones, Pam Jordan, Peggy McCaffrey, Carol Preston, Nancy Robins, Karol Strange and Gail Wilcox. The work was done in memory of friend and fellow quilter Thelma Erickson. Follow the links below to view each panel. 

We're working with members of Quilty Pleasures to have a display and artist talk at the RiverLink office, perhaps sometime in March. Stay tuned and come see this creative endeavor by some very talented artists.
RiverLink welcomes aboard a new crew
Brantlee Eisenman and Nick
Brantlee and her pal Nick
member! Meet Development Manager Brantlee Eisenman

Brantlee's love of the outdoors and water began at a very early age. She spent all her free time in a creek behind her house catching insects, building mini dams or exploring the creek habitat. At the age of 18 she moved from South Carolina to Oregon where her Cherokee roots became ignited and her dedication to environmental conservation began. This love for the environment led her to obtaining a Bachelors degree in Biology from the College of Charleston. 

After a couple of years working in the pharmaceutical industry, Brantlee realized she was better suited working for grassroots organizations and made the switch to the world of nonprofits.

Brantlee is the Development Manager at RiverLink. She brings with her several years of fundraising experience including direct mail campaigns, major gift solicitations, special events, planned giving, and grant writing. Her fundraising experience was obtained through working with the Hibiscus Children's Center in Florida, the Daniel Boone Council and the Literacy Council in Asheville and through several years as a freelance grant writer. She is honored to be able to combine her fundraising experience with her dedication to conservation by working with RiverLink.

Outside of work Brantlee loves to travel, read, hike, cook, and debate social issues with her son Rivers.
Join us for the January 2016 RiverFront Bus Tour 


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?


The next tour will be Thursday, January 21, 2016,  when the public is invited to tour the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers with RiverLink


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 live, learn, work 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 http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e4caea82ba1f49-february to reserve your seat today, email bustour@riverlink.org, or call 828-252-8474, ext. 10.


What: RiverLink's Riverfront Bus Tour  

When: Thursday, Jan. 21, 11:45 -- 2 p.m.   

Reservehttp://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e4caea82ba1f49-february, email bustour@riverlink.org or call 828-252-8474, ext. 10.

This Ain't No Trashy Broad

That beautiful Broad is at it again! The second installment of our French Broad Adventures series is here. This month the classy girl wants to ensure that her pristine waters are kept free and clear of debris. Everyone loves to relax on the river without the eyesore of old bottles or tires, and RiverLink is dedicated to making that a reality on the French Broad River. 
RiverLink Awarded $510,000 from NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund 

We're thrilled to announce that we have received 3 grant awards from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF). The organization will use the funds for 3 projects: a research-based stormwater management project, a stream restoration project, and a watershed master plan.

The research-based stormwater management project will study the performance of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) within a mountainous landscape. Located in the Dingle Creek sub-watershed, this study will provide valuable water quality and quantity data for structural BMPs sited on steep slopes. As very little stormwater management research exists specific to Western North Carolina's terrain, this study will provide valuable data to stormwater professionals throughout the western part of the state.

In collaboration with the City of Asheville and NC DOT, the Smith Mill Creek Watershed Master Plan will develop a strategic watershed wide approach to improving and protecting urban waterways. The plan will focus on the sub-watershed that drains to Patton Avenue in West Asheville and will provide viable solutions to persistent flooding, erosion, and poor surface water quality problems.

The Smith Mill Creek Stream Restoration project will restore 490 linear feet of an unnamed tributary that flows into Smith Mill Creek. The project site is located in West Asheville within a new green residential neighborhood, Craggy Park. In addition, RiverLink will provide neighborhood and community outreach through their Adopt-A-Stream Program, Name-That-Creek Program, and WaterRICH Program, which targets stormwater best management practices for residential homeowners. This project aims to reduce sedimentation and improve surface water quality in both the unnamed tributary and Smith Mill Creek. 

RiverLink is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide critical leadership toward continued improvement of the environmental quality and economic vitality of the French Broad River and its watershed as a destination for all to live, work, play and learn. RiverLink was established in 1987 and is the only non-profit exclusively focused on the French Broad River watershed.

North Carolina's Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) was established by the General Assembly in 1996. CWMTF receives a direct appropriation from the General Assembly to issue grants to local governments, state agencies and conservation non-profits to help finance projects that specifically address water pollution problems.
Meeting will focus on the Upper Swannanoa River Watershed Restoration Plan

The Town of Black Mountain is holding an Open House for the Upper Swannanoa River Watershed Restoration Plan on Thursday, January 14th from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Town of Black Mountain Town Hall in the Board Room.

The plan is a collaborative effort of the Towns of Black Mountain and Montreat, RiverLink, Warren Wilson College, the NC Division of Water Resources, Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments, Equinox, and local citizens. The restoration plan aims to improve water quality, which is currently declared "impaired" by the State of North Carolina. The plan outlines specific projects that both municipalities and private landowners can do to improve water quality.

RiverLink would like your input on the plan as it moves forward and work together to make the Swannanoa River a clean and valuable resources. Please join us!
Upcoming Events
Please note: When attending any of these events at the RiverLink office, please do not park at any of the studios on Riverside Drive. Thanks so much.

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 
10:00 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. at the RiverLink office -- Volunteer Information sessions. 
The information session will detail all of RiverLink's volunteer opportunities in a 30 minute powerpoint presentation. Volunteers will also have a chance to fill out a volunteer questionnaire and find the opportunities that best fit their needs.
RSVP to attend by emailing  Email link 


Thursday Jan. 14, Friday Jan. 22, & Wednesday Jan 27 -- Weekday Workdays
We'll keep on working afternoons with a variety of projects in mind! Contact Justin
at justin@riverlink.org to find out more or watch your inbox for RiverLink volunteer emails!

Thursday, Jan. 21,  11:45 -- 2 p.m., the Riverfront Bus Tour -
Discover the magic of the Riverfront area firsthand -- past, present and future. Registration Required.
River News

Other ways to stay in touch with RiverLink

These monthly newsletters are chock-full of good information about what RiverLink has done, is doing now, and will be doing in the future. There are other ways to connect to us and stay riverlinked, though. 

Did you know that RiverLink has a Facebook page that features new content daily? Like us and get a news article, volunteer update, note from the exec, etc. every day

Also updated daily is our RiverWhisperer blog, a feature of our website. 

We also have a tumblr page, for those who like the easy sharing and communication that platform offers.

RiverMusic has its own Facebook page, where you can find out who is playing, what kind of beer will be there, which foodtrucks to expect, etc. 

RiverFest and the fabulous Anything That Floats Parade also has a Facebook page that offers rafters inspiration and ideas for taking part in one of the events that makes Asheville cool. 

Check them all out and let's stay in touch!

Scientific name: Myriophyllum aquaticum

History and use: Indigenous to South America, Parrotfeather was probably introduced to North America in the late 1800s. Because of its attractiveness and ease of cultivation, Parrotfeather has been introduced worldwide for use in indoor and outdoor aquaria. It is also a popular aquatic garden plant.

Identification: Parrotfeather gets its name from its feather-like leaves which are arranged around the stem in whorls of four to six. It has both submersed and emergent leaves which range from 1.5 to 5 centimeters long with anywhere from 6 to 30 divisions per leaf. Emergent leaves can grow up to a foot above the water and look like small fir trees. The submerged leaves can often look like they're decaying, but don't be fooled, the stems are very hardy.

Ecology: Parrotfeather is found in freshwater lakes, ponds, streams, and canals and appears to be adapted to high nutrient environments. It tends to colonize slowly moving or still water rather than in areas with higher flow rates. While it grows best when rooted in shallow water, it has been known to occur as a floating plant in the deep water of nutrient-enriched lakes. The emergent stems can survive on wet banks of rivers and lake shores, so it is well adapted to moderate water level fluctuations.

Impact: Parrotfeather can seriously change the physical and chemical characteristics of lakes and streams. Infestations can alter aquatic ecosystems by shading out the algae in the water column that serve as the basis of the aquatic food web. In addition, the plant provides choice mosquito larvae habitat.

Control: The best bet to control Parrotfeather is through persistent and repeated application of herbicides. The Monsanto Company suggested that applying a 1 3/4 percent solution of Rodeo® (aquatic version of Roundup®). Mechanical removal is not advised since the plant can spread through fragmentation of rhizomes. As such, cutting or harvesting could increase its rate of spread.
Volunteer Spotlight 
Katie Brugger

Katie Brugger moved to western North Carolina in 1987 and fell in love with the mountains. With her husband Arthur Hancock she started a video production company called Time Capsule Video. Over the years the duo has created videos of the mountains for sale to tourists, produced a weekly TV show in Highlands, NC, and created a video on Asheville called The Spirit of Asheville (which you can see at the Chamber's Visitor Center). They moved to Asheville in 2010.

Katie became a volunteer at RiverLink in 2015 because she was in awe of what the organization has accomplished. She offered her video skills and filmed a number of events in 2015 and will be filming more projects for RiverLink in 2016.

Katie is also a writer and author of two books. She loves to hike; you can find her on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on a regular basis. She also weaves cloth for clothing as a hobby.
Turbidity Facts

- Turbidity is the measure of relative clarity of a liquid.


- It is an expression of the amount of light that is scattered by material in the water when a light is shined through the water sample.


- A higher intensity of scattered light indicates a higher turbidity.


- An increase in turbidity can be caused by clay, silt, finely divided inorganic and organic matter, algae, soluble colored organic compounds, and plankton and other microscopic organisms.


- High turbidity creates water that is cloudy or opaque.


- Turbidity is measured and reported in nephelometric turbidity units or (NTU).


- Typically during a low flow period, rivers and streams have a low turbidity and exhibit a clear greenish color.


- During periods of heavy rain, particles from the surrounding land are washed into the river creating a muddy brown color indicating a higher turbidity.


- The faster water velocities during a storm can also stir up more suspended material from the stream bed.


- A higher turbidity means less light penetration, and therefore less productivity for plants in the stream bed.


- The increased sedimentation and siltation caused by high turbidity can also obscure and harm habitats for fish and other aquatic life.


- Excess particles can provide attachment places for pollutants, notably metals and bacteria. Therefore turbidity can be an indicator of potential pollution.


- Turbidity can provide food and shelter for pathogens. If not removed, turbidity can promote re-growth of pathogens in the distribution system, leading to waterborne disease outbreaks.


- Although turbidity is not a direct indicator of health risk, numerous studies show a strong relationship between removal of turbidity and removal of protozoa.


- Traditional water treatment processes have the ability to effectively remove turbidity when operated properly.


- The easiest way to prevent turbidity is to establish vegetation buffers on the edge of bodies of water. 

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