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 RiverLink Newsletter
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January 2011
 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 work, live and play.
In This Issue
The exec speaks out
Salt and sand on the roads
Support RiverLink with beverages
Save the French Broad Raffle
Boys get a lesson in water quality
Upcoming events
Take our survey
RiverLink News
Global Climate Change trivia
Volunteer Spotlight
Letter from the Executive Director


Hello river lovers,


Happy New Year and start of a new decade!

We are thrilled that in the New Year there will be even more focus on the French Broad River and the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay. We have a new graphic that describes our  ideas about sustainability of the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay that I hope you will take a look at. You know we view the river as Teacher. You know that motto to "think globally and act locally"? That is what we do every day in every project in our watershed. The Wilma Dykeman RiverWay is just a microcosm of all the issues. Since sustainability is one of those words everyone uses, I wanted to start the New Year off by defining it as we view the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay.

Click on the image to view a larger pdf file

Have you ever noticed how a word or phrase comes into vogue? It is interesting how suddenly everyone is using a word rarely heard before to describe just about any situation. "Sustainability" is one of those words. It seems that everything is sustainable these days; from fruit to new homes. Everyone uses the word-sustainable-but rarely defines it. I was curious to see how people defined sustainability in our community.

One old timer I spoke to defined sustainability as just a fancy way to describe having common sense, "like having sense enough not to eat your seed corn." A Native American elder I asked described it as "the ability to defend your decisions as being in the best interest or at least not harmful to the next seven generations." I liked both of these definitions. What came out of these conversations was an understanding that yes, both fruit and houses could be sustainable, but more importantly-sustainable was not a single thing but a collection of considerations working in harmony. Sustainability is a system.

Being water-centric (French Broad watershed-centric in particular), I decided to define -- literally and visually -- how RiverLink applies sustainable practices to the river and the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay (WDR).

The wheel above offers a visual reference as well as symbolizes the importance of balance as it applies to sustainable practices. If the tires on your car are out of balance, the areas of the tire handling the majority of the workload wear out faster, shortening the life of the tire. Therefore, balance is a very important component in RiverLink's definition of sustainability. The wheel highlights four distinct areas that comprise the WDR plan-Transportation, Economic Development, Landscape, and Architecture.  Each area is equally important to the overall success and sustainability of the plan. (Plans can be read in their entirely at 

The acronym BE THERE stands for Balance, Economic Development, Transportation, Health & Wellness and Housing, Environmental Safekeeping, Recreation, and Education, and was developed to help show how RiverLink is working sustainably to implement this plan. The WDR plan addresses each of these areas and creates a sustainable future for our greatest natural resource-the River. BE THERE describes a big part of RiverLink's mission too-we want you to BE THERE on the river. The WDR plan is about the symphony of voices for the river, and directing those voices to sing in harmony. By placing equal importance on economic development, transportation, health, housing and wellness, education, recreation, and the environment, we have a balanced, long-term, and solution-based approach to living in harmony with our natural environment.

The WDR is intentionally about common sense and making decisions today that won't harm the next seven generations. And it is about fruit and houses, too-all balanced together and so wonderful, you will want to BE THERE!  Have a Happy New Year on the River!

Safety on the Roads; is it safe for our Streams?

Winter has taken hold, providing us with beautiful landscapes such as that nice white Christmas we had in WNC. Traditionally salt (NaCl - Sodium chloride) and sand are used to melt snow and ice and provide traction on our roads. Salt and sand are two vital elements to maintaining safety on roads in the winter, but have you ever wondered where this salt and sand go, or what affects they have on the environment, infrastructure and vehicles?  

A majority of the salt and sand mix with the ice melt or rain to become stormwater and either drain directly, or the water drains through a system of underground pipes (stormwater system) into our streams and rivers.  Within the waterways, salt increases conductivity of water, increases metal toxicity and causes corrosion of concrete and metal.  You can see the salt and sand impacts the localized areas directly through dying vegetation. Sand collects oils and other road and auto byproducts which then get into the water system or clog storm drains. 

The areas of most concern in this area are the impacts on the infrastructure, including your car due to increase in maintenance and additional wear on the system.  Although these effects are of concern, in this area we do not typically have enough accumulation of salt and sand to cause a significant effect on the local water quality.

Many studies have been conducted understand the impacts of winter weather on roads and the environment, with most of them showing no grave effects.


Yet it is not enough to say that the salt and sand do not affect the environment, especially in areas or much greater snow accumulation.Therefore, some alternatives have been developed with predicted less impact.Calcium magnesium acetate is one of these.It is used prior to snowfall. NCDOT applied this compound in areas of concern before the expected snow on Christmas. 

For more information :

Three cool ways to support RiverLink
with beverages


Need something to "shake up" the Winter Blahs? Join us for the 4th Annual Winter Warmer Beer Festival  on Saturday, January 22, 2011, from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.

This year's Winter Warmer will be at the Asheville Civic Center. We highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance, as the last two years the event has sold out. This year's venue allows for more people to attend, but we have already received many inquiries about this year's festival, so don't miss out on this wonderful Winter Warmer! Road Trips for Beer, a Web site devoted to beer festivals from across the country, named the Winter Warmer one of its Top 10 Winter Beer Festivals for 2011.

Music will be provided by Brushfire Stankgrass and the Leigh Glass Band.

Tickets are available for online purchase NOW! Purchased tickets prior to January 14th will be mailed, with any tickets purchased online from January 16-22 available at will call. To buy tickets online now, CLICK HERE.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to RiverLink.

Tickets are $38pp and will include a souvenir mug, samples during the event, and

food provided by Fiore's Ristorante Toscana.

For any additional information, or questions about this event, please send email to

Brewing Participants from WNC include: French Broad Brewing Co., Highland Brewing Co., Green Man Ales, Pisgah Brewing Co., Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co., Heinzelmannchen Brewery, Appalachian Craft, Wedge, and Craggie.

From the Piedmont & Durham area: Catawba Valley Brewing Co., Foothills, Duck-Rabbit, Triangle, and Big Boss.

Yazoo, from Nashville, TN, will be there, as will SweetWater from Atlanta, GA.

Hope to see you there with a mug in your hand!


Once again, The Wine Studio of Asheville is making RiverLink part of its Winesday program. Winesday is the Studio's wine tasting event every Wednesday

fr om  5-8pm. For $5, it is a chance for the wine lovers of Asheville to get together, socialize, and try 5 new and exciting wines from around the world. Each week a portion of the proceeds benefits a local non-profit. In May, RiverLink is the lucky beneficiary. We'll have more information about what we'll do in May and how you can help as the event approaches.


Given that somewhere in Minnesota a village is missing its weather and it seems to be sleeping on WNC's sofa right now, what could be better than a cuppa hot gourmet coffee? 

Blue Smoke Coffee is a great product and a wonderful organization. They support many good causes, including donating $1 to RiverLink for every bag of French Broad French Roast sold. They're a proud member of 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses committed to leveraging their resources to create a healthier planet. Blue Smoke also donates 5% of sales to environmental and humanitarian causes. 

Every pound of Blue Smoke is hand-roasted to order, literally a pound at a time for each customer. It's comprised of 100% organic, fair trade, and shade grown beans. The French Broad French Roast is a mix of  Peruvian and Mexican Caf´┐Ż Femenino beans that create a luxuriously smooth, rich coffee that is full of complex flavors with light notes of spice.

Each bag sold brings a $1 donation to RiverLink, so cruise on over to their Web site: and put a coupla bags in your shopping cart. You won't be sorry.

Grand Prize Drawing just two months away

Buy your ticket to be entered to win $840 dollars worth of prizes including, a Nemo Go Go Tent, High Gear Axio Max Moss Altimeter Watch and Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock.  Tickets are three for $10 or one for $5 with 100% of ticket sales benefiting RiverLink. 

Click the image below to buy your ticket today.


French Broad River Academy students
get lesson in water quality

The application of "think globally, act locally" is easier said than done, but here at RiverLink that is one of the things we strive to achieve. We are thrilled to have a new neighbor that instills this concept into everyday education. The French Broad River Academy for Boys is the new independent school that encourages students to become global citizens by "combining a rigorous academic curriculum with relevant, purposeful learning experiences on the French Broad River, its surrounding watershed, and international field experiences." The students respond to this challenge with remarkable enthusiasm and focus.

The seventh graders of the French Broad Academy for Boys spent three Wednesdays in December with RiverLink Education Coordinator Hayley Smith. By setting up hands-on water quality testing stations, which included tap water, river water, and water with organomite fertilizer, the students were able to see how fertilizers impacted nitrate, dissolved oxygen and phosphates. This experiment reinforced their understanding of nutrients in water and the importance of a wastewater treatment plant, which was their afternoon field  trip. 

The following week's lessons continued to explore water quality parameters by investigating how snowmelt and road treatment products change pH. The young men of FBR Academy enjoyed using chemical testing kits and sharing their findings with the rest of the class. In addition to learning about water quality in their local watershed, the school compared our urban water system with water systems in developing countries. With the French Broad River as a centerpiece, RiverLink will continue to support teachers who how to empower their students to be effective and knowledable stewards of the environment. 

Upcoming Events

Keep your cell phone out of the landfill!
Drop off old and unwanted cell phones to the RiverLink office for recycling and fundraising.  RiverLink has partnered with GRC Wireless to keep cell phones out of the landfill and raise money for volunteer and education programs. The office is open 8am- 5pm Monday through Friday.  This is an on-going program, donations are welcome all year round.

French Broad River Paddle Trail Community Planning Meetings

Learn more about the French Broad River Paddle Trail, a possible canoe camping trail along the French Broad River through North Carolina.

January 11, 2011 4-6p.m.

Marshall High Studios on Blanahassett Island in Marshall

January 18, 2011 5:30pm

RiverLink Offices in Asheville

Volunteer Information Session
Wed., Jan. 12 10 a.m. & 5 p.m.
Come learn about RiverLink volunteer opportunities. RSVP to Dave at 252-8474, ext. 11

MLK Service Day
Monday, Jan. 17,
1 -- 4 p.m.

We'll clean up the stream restoration work at Ross Creek and do some winter gardening.  has seen some done, and it needs cleaning. We'll also do some winter gardening - pruning, invasives removal. Please register through the Hands-On Asheville Buncombe Web site. Contact Dave at RiverLink (252-8474, ext. 11) with questions.

Bus Tour
Thurs., Jan. 20, noon -- 2 p.m.
Call Dave at 252-8474, ext. 11 to reserve your seat.

Winter Warmer Beer Festival

Saturday, January 22, 3 p.m. -- 7 p.m., Asheville Civic Center. Shake off the Winter blues with good beer, food and music. Information and tickets available here.

Hands of Hope concert featuring Billy Jonas

Sunday, March 27,

3 p.m.-4:30p.m. at the Orange Peel. Our friends at Maccabi Academy will be sponsoring this awesome fundraiser for us again. Tickets will be available soon from the Orange Peel.

Some input, please
Please take a moment to take our survey about the future of Karen Cragnolin Park
French Broad River News

Ashvegas: Winter Warmer beer fest tickets are on sale

Stream reclassification proposal irks Transylvania residents

Grants awarded to Haywood, Buncombe, Madison environmental groups

In Asheville, N.C., the River Arts District Blooms

EQI's resurrection provides valuable check on region's water quality

Mountain water - the essence of our being

Decision looms on logging proposal in Mills River area

Light rail would be boon in French Broad Valley

Land purchase paves the way for largest conservation in WNC

Climate Change Quiz

1) Which of the following has been linked to climate change?
A) Droughts
B) Floods
C) Melting ice caps
D) All of the above

2) Where is the largest volume of water outside the polar regions?
A) South Island, New Zealand
B) Andes Mountains, South America
C) Rocky Mountains, USA

D) Tibetan Plateau, Asia

3) Which century was the wettest of the last millennium?

A) 12th
B) 16th
C) 19th
D) 20th

4) What is now believed to have cause the collapse of Akkad, the world's first empire?
A) Floods
B) Ocean current change
C) Droughts
D) Falling temperatures

5) What country -- the world's 15th biggest economy -- is perilously low on water?
A) South Africa
B) Australia
C) Pakistan
D) Chile

6) In how many years will 1.8 billion people be living in regions of severe water scarcity?
A) 15
B) 35
C) 50
D) 100

7) Once admired by Mark Twain for its clarity, which US body of water is now clouding up?
A) Lake Tahoe
B) Mississippi River
C) Rio Grande
D) Lake Minnetonka

8) What percentage of the Earth's freshwater is locked in ice?
A) 10
B) 35
C) 50
D) 70

9) As rising temperatures melt ice caps around the world, which South American city could see its water supply disappear by the end of the century?
A) Caracas, Venezuela
B) Quito, Ecuador
C) Cusco, Peru
D) All of the above

10) Which species is threatened by the increased winter flow in freshwater streams due to global warming?
A) Salmon
B) Atlantic Mackeral
C) Crawfish
D) Striped bass

1) D
2) D
3) D
4) C
5) B
6) A
7) A
8) D
9) C
10) A

Volunteer Spotlight

 This month our volunteer spotlight gives a nod to Wesley Duffee-Braun, a local photographer and RiverLink supporter.

Wesley regularly comes to RiverLink events with cameras in hand to document our projects. Most recently, he came to our Labyrinth Dedication Ceremony and took some beautiful pics of the proceedings. Interested in wedding or portrait photography? Check out his Web site by clicking here.

Contact Information
PO Box 15488
Asheville, NC 28813