RiverLink promotes the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River and its watershed.
A Note From the Executive Director
Dear Friends,

Thank you for making River revitalization happen! You enable success through a time-tested approach to encourage people to Experience the River, Learn about it and then take steps to Conserve both water and land as a vital natural resource. This approach was created and refined over time with visionary RiverLink leadership and our community, and it is alive and well. 

Please join us for our last big party of the year. Save the date for the Catch the Wave Celebration on October 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at French Broad River Academy in Woodfin. Tickets will go on sale this week. This event celebrates our partnership with the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway Project. Come out to enjoy prizes, beer, food, and live music, and learn how we are going to move from the tagline of “let’s build it” to “it’s happening!” over the course of the next year. There will also be plenty of opportunities to volunteer. We can’t put on events like this without your help!

If you haven’t yet seen it, we also released an updated statement on our sale of 144 Riverside Drive to buyers seeking City of Asheville approval to build a restaurant on the site. This sale is part of a larger strategic initiative to divest ourselves of long-term land ownership and allow us to further our River revitalization mission in the eight-county French Broad River Watershed. 

Along the same lines, in the past week we also closed on the sale of 704 Riverside Drive to the owners of French Broad River Outfitters. This was an amazing story of RiverLink’s conversion of a former tire store to incubate the first Outfitter in the north RAD. Sales like these will support the creation of endowments allowing RiverLink to more efficiently conform to best practices of an accredited land trust so that our work to revitalize the River will last into perpetuity. We expect the first of these endowments to be created before year’s end.

Please enjoy the rest of our staff updates below. We have an amazing team working to carry forward this time-tested approach that is coming to life all around us in the River Arts District of Asheville.

Thank you for making it possible!

PS- There are still a few open spots for our bus tour this Thursday. This is a great opportunity to learn about the history of the French Broad River and to support river revitalization efforts. Sign up for the tour here .

Respectfully, Garrett
RiverLink's RiverRATS Program Offers Environmental Education to Local Schools
 RiverLink’s RiverRATS (River Research and Appreciation Through Science) environmental education program is preparing for another busy school year.  All lessons are provided free of charge , thanks to generous grants from the Pigeon River Fund and Walnut Cove Members Association. The grants also funded the purchase of some exciting new education tools that include an interactive stream table, dissecting microscopes, and a backpack electrofisher. 

Program curriculum is designed to meet STEAM criteria, with a focus on getting kids to experience the watershed both in the classroom and out in the natural environment.  In the 2018-2019 school year the RiverRATS program was presented to 3,500 students across five counties. This year we look forward to growing that number as we continue to provide the opportunity to learn about stream health and water quality in an interactive, hands-on way. 
RiverLink's Watershed Resources
WaterRICH Program
The WaterRICH Program promotes good stewardship of our natural resources by managing stormwater runoff. The goal of the project is to improve water quality in the French Broad River watershed by keeping runoff out of streams. The program teaches residents how to capture rainwater and utilize it for outdoor water needs, or allow it to soak into the ground through a landscape feature such as a rain garden. In turn, this can help reduce the use of potable water, relieve pressure on the existing stormwater system, and recharge groundwater.

This summer, RiverLink offered hands-on workshops in West Asheville, Black Mountain and Brevard on the design and installation of rain barrels and rain gardens. Both are cost-effective options for homeowners to capture and utilize runoff from their property before it reaches a storm drain, and ultimately our local waterways.
The rain barrel workshops resulted in the sale of 27 recycled barrels and conservation of 243,000 gallons of water (based on regional average rainfall, average roof size and barrel capacity) and were made possible by a grant from The River Network and donated barrels from Coca Cola.

Rain Gardens were also installed at Vance Elementary and Asheville Primary. Funded by by a generous grant from local non-profit West Asheville Garden Stroll, the gardens provide an interactive-hands on learning opportunity for the students, while also conserving rainwater and mitigating the effects of stormwater runoff.
Land Conservation- Supporting Riparian Lands in Perpetuity
RiverLink's Land Conservation Program was put in place to support the protection of vital riparian lands in perpetuity . The program aims to support landowners and housing developers as they engage in sustainable building with a focus on conservation and sustainability.

Recently both Buncombe and Henderson Counties have recognized the value of a more environmentally friendly development design in their subdivision reviews for plan proposals. In Buncombe County, a Conservation Development is a subdivision option which allows for the preservation of conserved open spaces and farmland within the footprint of the subdivision. These Conservation Developments limit the disturbed areas within the developed landscape and tend to prioritize the protection of ridge tops, woodlands, floodplain and wetland areas, landslide hazard areas, active agricultural lands, open space and other environmentally sensitive areas . For proposed subdivisions of a size of at least 15 acres, various permitting benefits are provided to the developer if 50 percent of the overall tract can be preserved in an open space form. Agricultural lands that remain active to agricultural production count double in this calculation.  

RiverLink is in the process of forming an endowment fund that will support increased land conservation activities throughout the French Broad River Watershed, allowing us to work with community members to protect the land we all hold so dear.
Save the Date!
Catch the Wave Celebration for the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway
Join us for the 2nd annual Catch the Wave Celebration on October 2nd at the French Broad River Academy in Woodfin. This is the primary fundraising event for the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway Project, and it's sure to be a good time! There will be a raffle of amazing prizes donated by a variety of local businesses, live music, food and beverages, and informational presentations given by key project stakeholders.

All proceeds from the event will support the project mission of creating new parks and expanding greenway access in the Woodfin area.
170 Lyman Street
Asheville, NC 28803