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

We as a community, nation and world are facing unprecedented challenges as developments continue to unfold with the COVID-19 situation. In the midst of so many unknowns we are more than ever grateful for all you do to support our mission to promote the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River watershed.

In the interest of doing our part to curtail the spreading of COVID-19 and protect our staff and community, we are following the guidance of our public health agencies and transitioning to teleworking effective immediately. After much consideration, all events, lessons, and volunteer workdays will be canceled through Sunday, April 5. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates as they arise.

While the RiverLink offices will be closed to the public, we remain committed to our work and are exploring creative ways to continue to foster positive connections with the land and water.

It is truly heartening to be able to share so much good work with you in this newsletter, and I am continually encouraged by the resilience of our community and the dedication to preserve the spaces within our watershed that we hold so dear.

Thank you so much for all you do to support our work,

Garrett and the RiverLink Team

PS- The health and well-being of our community is of the highest importance. As of now we are still preparing to hold the following events, but please stay tuned for more information as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop.

Environmental Education Program
East Carolina University Students
Volunteer for Alternative Spring Break
For the third year in a row students from East Carolina Universities Honors and LGBTQ groups came to do service with us for their alternative spring break
This year these incredible students removed 1,300 pounds of trash from the River Arts District and Smith Mill Creek watersheds. They also tested the water quality of Hominy Creek, and helped to manage invasive plant species that grow along Hominy and Smith Mill Creeks.

We are thrilled with all the hard work they did, and inspired by their commitment to make the world a better place for all!
Watershed Resources Program
Where Does That Storm Drain Go?
Storm drains are everywhere in our urban areas, along our streets and inside parking lots. Many people do not realize that storm drains are piped directly into the nearest stream . This is why it is illegal to pour or wash any substance down a storm drain.

Everyone can do their part to support our waterways by disposing of chemicals properly and practicing good habits around storm drains . For example, choose to wash your car over the lawn instead of the driveway where the runoff makes its way to the street and into a storm drain.
If you see someone pouring a chemical into a storm drain or a strange color in a stream, report it! 
If in the City of Asheville, call
828-232-4567 during normal business hours. After normal business hours or on weekends and holidays, please contact the on-call duty officer at 828-251-1122.
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality can be contacted at: 828-296-4500.

The photos above and to the left document an illicit discharge event that occurred in Bacoate Branch on March 4, 2020 . The milky white substance is the metal tin and was mistakenly washed down a storm drain that drains into Bacoate Branch.
Name That Creek Campaign
We want your input! Name that Creek is a RiverLink program that connects communities with local unnamed streams through naming campaigns.

There is a small unnamed stream that runs through a wooded area between Walton Street Park and the AB Tech campus, and drains into the French Broad River. We need your help in picking an official name for it!
Click on the link below to share your input. Voting ends Friday, March 27!
Land Conservation Program
We're excited to announce the creation of a Legal Defense & Stewardship Fund to help support the activities of our land conservation program .

As an accredited land trust since 2016, we have obligations to protect the conserved lands forever. This fund allows us to pay for easements, legal needs, and other costs that may arise. We are committed to protecting the riparian areas in our watershed , and this Fund gives us the means to continue to do so at the highest standards possible.
Above: Community Members and RiverLink staff tour the Karen Cragnolin Park Site in Asheville.
Did You Know?
Creature of the Month
This month we are featuring the cute and playful North American River Otter as our creature of the month.

Well adapted for semi-aquatic living, these mammals have thick fur that helps keep them warm in cold water. Their tail is long and strong, and helps propel them as they swim through the water.

River otters can stay underwater up to eight minutes and their long whiskers help them detect prey in cloudy water. Their fur is mainly dark brown, with lighter brown on the belly and face. On land a river otter can run at speeds of up to 15 miles an hour, and they can slide even faster! In addition to being fun, their playful activities help strengthen social bonds and help young otters practice hunting techniques.
River otters can grow three to four feet long including the tail (which makes up about a third of their length) and weigh between 11 and 30 pounds. Their diet consists of a variety of aquatic wildlife and plants.

We like these adorable creatures so much that we made them our official RiverLink mascot (as well as the logo for our RiverRATS Environmental Education program)
Volunteer of the Month
French Broad River Academy Girls
We're so excited to announce that the FBRA Girls are our volunteer group of the month for March!

The FBRA Girls have been volunteering with RiverLink since the school's founding in 2015. They opened the school with 20 students, and R iverLink was one of the very first service partners .

"Service has always been at the core of the French Broad River Academy. We believe in instilling the values of environmental awareness and stewardship to all of our students . As they learn about and grapple with their role in some of the environmental crises we are facing at the moment, service projects help give them a sense of what can be done about it. They see the power a small group can have on a piece of land, or a river, in just a few hours," says Emily Shanblatt, Outdoor Program Director at FBRA Girls.

Thanks for helping to make the French Broad River and watershed a better place for all! We couldn't do this important work without your support and engagement.
In Memory
Please join us in offering condolences to the family of Jason Young. Jason passed away on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. He served as the Town Manager of Woodfin for 18 years, and was very instrumental in the town's growth during that time.

Jason also served as a RiverLink board member for over four years and dedicated his time to serve on the Advisory Board of the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway project. He had an incredible sense of humor, and was an amazing visionary who made a significant contribution to the Town of Woodfin, especially in regard to the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway project that will be a part of his legacy to our community for generations to come.

We are very grateful for the leadership, insight and enthusiasm he brought to RiverLink and to the Town of Woodfin.

You can read the full obituary here.
170 Lyman Street
Asheville, NC 28803