Press Release: Whitewater Kayakers Receive Grant to Save Hemlock Trees in Green River Gorge

Press Release: Whitewater Kayakers Receive Grant to Save Hemlock Trees in Green River Gorge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Whitewater Kayakers Receive $8,000 Grant from the Community Foundation of Henderson County to Save Hemlock Trees in Green River Gorge

Media Contact:       
Gray Jernigan
Green Riverkeeper and Southern Regional Director, MountainTrue
E: gray@mountaintrue.org  P: (828) 692-0385 x 1004

Nov. 9, 2018

Hendersonville, NC – The Paddlers Hemlock Health Action Taskforce (PHHAT), a group of whitewater kayakers, nonprofit and government partners working to save hemlock trees in the Green River Gorge, has received an $8,000 grant from the Perry N. Rudnick Endowment Fund of the Community Foundation of Henderson County. PHHAT’s mission is to save hemlock trees from the hemlock woolly adelgid, a non-native invasive insect from East Asia that is decimating hemlock tree populations in the Southeast.

The grant from the Community Foundation of Henderson County will fund this work for the next year and purchase equipment for PHHAT volunteers teams. “The health of the Green is so closely tied with the health of the hemlocks,” said Gray Jernigan, Green Riverkeeper and Southern Regional Director of MountainTrue. “We are so grateful for this funding to allow us to continue this project for another year and save more trees that are vitally important to the forest and river ecosystem.”

Many of the largest hemlocks along the Green River are found in the Green River Gorge, whose steep terrain make the trees inaccessible by foot. Since 2017, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the Hemlock Restoration Initiative, American Whitewater and MountainTrue’s Green Riverkeeper have come together to train local paddlers in hemlock treatment techniques and safety protocols. The paddlers then navigate the Green River’s tricky waters to bury pellets of a hydrophobic pesticide around the roots of hemlock trees. Currently the only reliable remedy, this treatment protects the trees for up to 5 years.

As a foundation species, hemlock trees play a vital role in structuring ecosystems. Active when deciduous trees are not, hemlock trees stabilize riverbanks, regulate river flows, and balance river temperatures, among other important functions.

The hemlock woolly adelgid feeds off the trees’ sap and starch, disrupting their nutrient processes and eventually killing off the trees. First reported in Virginia in 1951, the hemlock woolly adelgid has spread to 20 states from Georgia to Maine and one Canadian province.

“As land managers, we often rely on the help of volunteers and partners to expand the capacity of work needed to conserve our Game Lands,” said Ryan Jacobs, Wildlife Forest Manager for NC Wildlife Resources Commission. “The work these paddlers are taking on here at Green River would never have happened without their passion for this special place.”

“Our hope is to see our program mirrored in other waterways across the region and even around the nation,” said Kevin Colburn, National Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. “As kayakers, it’s great to be able to give back to some of the places that have given us so much as a community.”

For additional information on the project, please visit paddlersforhemlocks.com.

MountainTrue champions resilient forests, clean waters and healthy communities in Western North Carolina. To this end, MountainTrue fosters and empowers advocates throughout the region to be engaged in policy and project advocacy, outreach and education, and on-the-ground projects.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is the state government agency tasked with conserving and sustaining the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use and public input. The Commission is also the regulatory agency responsible for enforcing the state’s fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws.  

The Hemlock Restoration Initiative, a program of WNC Communities, works with the NCDA&CS, the USDA-FS and others to ensure that eastern and Carolina hemlocks can withstand the deadly hemlock woolly adelgid and survive to maturity on North Carolina’s public and private lands.

American Whitewater advocates for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers throughout the United States, and connects the interests of human-powered recreational river users with ecological and science-based data to achieve the goals within its mission.

The Community Foundation of Henderson County supports charitable programs in the greater Henderson County area. Founded in 1982, the Community Foundation administers over 500 funds with assets of over $100 million.

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Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Hendersonville Green Drinks: Why Bees?

Hendersonville Green Drinks: Why Bees?

On Thursday, September 13, Hendersonville Green Drinks welcomes Jim Poe with the Henderson County Beekeepers Association. He will talk about why bees are getting so much attention these days – what’s the big deal! The immense value of bees to the production of food is difficult to calculate, but suffice it to say, it’s not just honey that benefits humans. Photographer turned beekeeper, Poe manages 34 of his own hives, plus helps others with theirs. 

Who: Jim Poe, Henderson County Beekeepers Association
What: September’s Green Drinks Topic: Why Bees?
When: September 13, 2018 – 5:30 networking, 6:00 presentation
Where: Black Bear Coffee, 318 N. Main St. Hendersonville, NC

Having lived in Hendersonville as a youngster, Jim Poe moved back to continue his 30-year career as a photographer by opening a studio on Haywood Road, James Poe Photography. Then, after a 6-year stint in Southwest Colorado, he moved back to western NC again. He says, “Although photography has been great to me, it’s honeybees that now have my heart!” In 2014 he attended a Bee School put on by the Henderson County Beekeepers Association and was hooked! Poe now serves on their board as Director of External Communications; and considers bees almost a full-time job.

About Hendersonville Green Drinks
Hendersonville Green Drinks is presented by MountainTrue, Conserving Carolina and Black Bear Coffee Company. Come to Green Drinks to learn more about current environmental issues, have relevant discussions, and meet with like-minded people. This is a monthly event and everyone is welcome. You don’t have to drink at Green Drinks, just come and listen. Black Bear Coffee offers beer, wine, coffee drinks and sodas. A limited food menu is available.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Sept. 8: Take Part in Big Sweep!

Sept. 8: Take Part in Big Sweep!

Join GreenWorks and MountainTrue’s French Broad, Green and Watauga Riverkeepers for the 2018 Big Sweep  – Western North Carolina’s largest single-day river, roadside and creek cleanup. Last year, we broke records for attendance and tons of litter and garbage removed from our rivers, streams and roadsides. This year, help us do even more by taking part in a cleanup event at Westfeldt River Park in Mills River, the Green River Gorge in Saluda, Lake Adger or along the Watauga River.

Cleanups are paired with after parties at Sierra Nevada Brewing in Mills River and Appalachian Mountain Brewery, where cleanup volunteers will gather to celebrate their hard work and enjoy great beer.

GreenWorks, French Broad Riverkeeper and Green Riverkeeper After Party at Sierra Nevada: After the cleanups, join the French Broad Riverkeeper and the Green Riverkeeper at Sierra Nevada for an after party with beer and live music. Everyone will have a chance to win some great prizes from ENO, NOC, and more.

Watauga Riverkeeper After Party at Appalachian Mountain Brewery: After the cleanup, join the Watauga Riverkeeper at Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB) in Boone to celebrate our hard work and enjoy some great beer. AMB is a founding business and community leader for the One Percent for the Watauga initiative. So, come drink some great local beer and help protect the river at the same time.

2018 Big Sweep sponsors are 98.1 the River, French Broad Outfitters, Mills River Partnership, Asheville Outdoor Center, Lazy Otter Outfitters, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Nantahala Outdoors Center (NOC) and Eagles Nest Outfitter (ENO).

— Sept. 8 Big Sweep Events  —

French Broad River Watershed:

  • Westfeldt Park Cleanup with Sierra Nevada Brewing After Party: Join GreenWorks and the French Broad Riverkeeper for a float, cleanup of our river, and an after party at Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Mills River location. The first ten folks to register will receive the 2018 Recover Brands Riverkeeper Beer Series shirt. Register here. 

Green River Watershed:

  • Green Whitewater Cleanup: Paddle the whitewater of the Green River Gorge and help us pick of litter and haul out river debris along the way. After party at Sierra Nevada Brewing in Mills River. Please bring your own boat! Meet at: 2302 Green River Cove Rd, Saluda, NC 28773
  • Lake Adger Cleanup: Meet us the Lake Adger Boat Ramp and Marina to help us clean up beautiful Lake Adger and its shoreline. After party at Sierra Nevada Brewing in Mills River. Meet at: https://goo.gl/maps/m1coW8qfTMJ2  

    Register for both cleanups here.

Watauga River Watershed:

  • Watauga River Cleanup at Guy Ford Road River Access: Meet us at the Guy Ford Road River Access and help us clean up this popular swimming hole and recreation area. Register here.

Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Before You Go Out on the Watauga: Check the SwimGuide for the Latest Water Quality Reports

Before You Go Out on the Watauga: Check the SwimGuide for the Latest Water Quality Reports

Watauga Riverkeeper Monitors Water Quality at Eight Locations; Data Posted to International Website

Swimmers, paddlers and anglers heading out for a day on the river have a new resource for checking water safety, the SwimGuide.org – a website that provides free real-time water quality information for over 7,000 beaches, lakes, rivers and swimming holes in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the Bahamas and Australia.

Watauga Riverkeeper and MountainTrue High Country Director Andy Hill runs MountainTrue’s weekly bacteria monitoring program through which volunteers adopt sites and take regular samples.

“The Swim Guide is an amazing resource and our participation is only possible because of our dedicated volunteers,” explains Watauga Riverkeeper and MountainTrue High Country Director Andy Hill. “They’re providing a crucial service to our community, reassuring people and families when it’s safe to get out and swim, fish and paddle.”

Data from our bacteria monitoring program is now loaded up to the SwimGuide.org for the following eight locations:

The monitoring done at sites listed at Swim Guide is to document and alert the public to the elevated e. Coli levels that typically follow heavy rain events. Additionally, MountainTrue also does VWIN (Volunteer Water Information Network) monitoring for chemical parameters and SMIE (Stream Monitoring Information Exchange) monitoring – which documents organisms in the  benthic zone to give us a holistic picture of water quality.

Results and historical data are available at swimguide.org. There is also a free smartphone Swim Guide App available for download from Apple App Store and Google Play. A Green status icon means that most recent test results met relevant water quality standards, a red icon means that the most recent tests failed, and a grey icon means that the site hasn’t been tested within the past seven days.

Check the Water Quality of Your Favorite Rivers and Streams

Swim Guide delivers free real-time water quality information for over 7,000 beaches, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and Australia.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Michael Franti Returns to Asheville July 27 to Headline the Riverkeeper Beer Series

Michael Franti Returns to Asheville July 27 to Headline the Riverkeeper Beer Series

Michael Franti & Spearhead return to Asheville on Friday, July 27 to headline the Riverkeeper Beer Series at the Salvage Station for the second year in a row. The show is presented by MountainTrue and 98.1 The River, with proceeds supporting the work of the French Broad Riverkeeper – a MountainTrue program that serves as the primary protector and watchdog of the French Broad River Watershed.

“Michael Franti & Spearhead brought such amazing energy to Asheville last year that it was a no-brainer to bring him back for this year’s French Broad Riverkeeper Concert,” says French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson. “Asheville loves Michael and he seems to love us back. Last year he took a surprise tubing float down the French Broad before jumping on stage.”

Michael Franti is a world-renowned musician, filmmaker, and humanitarian who is recognized as a pioneering force in the music industry. Franti believes in using music as a vehicle for positive change and is revered for his energetic live shows, political activism, worldwide philanthropy efforts and authentic connection to his global fan base known as the SOULROCKER FAM.

Michael Franti is the headliner for the Riverkeeper Beer Series, presented by Asheville GreenWorks and MountainTrue. Come out for a river cleanup or float during the day and stick around for a special beer release and after-party. There will also be prizes from the Asheville Gear Builders for most trash collected, weirdest trash, and a host of other prizes.Come join the fun this summer at each of these breweries:

June 2 – Cleanup of the Swannanoa River with beer release party at the Wedge at Foundation.

June 28 – Cleanup of the French Broad River with beer release party at Wicked Weed Brewing Pub.

July 21 – Cleanup of the Swannanoa River with beer release party at the Catawba Brewing Company in Biltmore Village.

July 27 – Michael Franti & Spearhead Concert at the Salvage Station.

August 25 – Cleanup of the French Broad River and Hominy Creek with a beer release party at French Broad Outfitters, featuring a tap takeover by Hi-Wire Brewing and live music (artist TBD).

September 8 – Cleanup of the French Broad River with an after-party and concert at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

September 15 – Cruise Then Brews Paddle with Headwaters Outfitters. Paddle down the French Broad River in Transylvania County followed by a beer release party at Oskar Blues Brewery.

To learn more information and register for the Riverkeeper Beer Series events, visit MountainTrue.org.

Tickets: Tickets go on sale March 28 at 10am for Michael Franti fan club members, and will go on sale for the general public March 30 at 10am. Tickets are available at the Salvage Station or online at SalvageStation.com. General admission tickets are $33.50 and include a download of Franti’s newest album. VIP tickets are $110 and include a VIP pre party from 5-7pm at the Salvage Station, an acoustic performance by Michael, a fully catered meal, booze at the pre-party and a special roped off viewing area with a private bar.

The Riverkeeper Series is sponsored by MountainTrue, Asheville GreenWorks, 98.1The River and French Broad Outfitters. Other sponsors include Wedge Brewing Company, Wicked Weed Brewing Pub, New Belgium Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Oskar Blues Brewery, Sanctuary Brewing Company, Catawba Brewing Company, WNC Magazine, Mountain Xpress, and Recover Brands.

MountainTrue champions resilient forests, clean waters and healthy communities in our region. We engage in policy advocacy at all levels of government, local project advocacy and on-the-ground environmental restoration projects. Primary program areas include public lands, water quality, clean energy, land use/transportation and citizen engagement. We are also home to Riverkeepers for the French Broad, Watauga, Green and Broad Rivers, who are the primary defenders and spokespeople for these waterways. For more information: mountaintrue.org.

With thousands of volunteers, Asheville GreenWorks engages the community in grassroots projects such as urban forestry, environmental cleanups, anti-litter and waste reduction education, creation of green spaces, care and preservation of Asheville’s rivers and trees. Through our work, Asheville has been designated as a Tree City USA for 37 years.

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Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

French Broad Riverkeeper Releases New Report on River’s Health

French Broad Riverkeeper Releases New Report on River’s Health

Asheville, NC – The French Broad Riverkeeper has released the State of the French Broad River Watershed 2018, the first published report that grades the cleanliness and water quality of 62 creeks and streams throughout the French Broad Watershed.

“Right before jumping into the river, the number one question people ask me is ‘Is it clean?’” says French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson. “This report is an answer to that question.”

The report combines testing results from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the Volunteer Water Information Network, the Stream Monitoring Information Exchange, and MountainTrue’s volunteer water quality monitoring programs, weights the data and gives each stream a grade from A through F.

An A grade is given to streams that have excellent water quality and low pollution levels, and Fs are given to streams that have poor water quality. Sixty-six percent of streams scored A or B, a vast improvement from decades past. However improvements are still needed, as 34 percent of the rivers in the report were rated a C or a D.

Four Cleanest Streams:

Middle Fork French Broad River – 100 points

Cathey’s Creek – 100 points

Cataloochee Creek – 100 points

Pigeon, upstream of Canton – 100 points

Four Dirtiest Streams:

Turkey Creek – 60 points

Newfound Creek – 62.5 points

Boylston Creek – 65 points

Fines Creek – 65 points

The report is averaging data sets from various sources collected over the last few years. “The report serves as a good, useful guideline,” explains Hartwell Carson. “But it’s important to remember water quality will vary a bit depending on weather conditions. Water is usually dirtier right after a big rainstorm, so be more cautious when the water is cloudy.”

The cleanest waterways are well protected from pollution, and most of their watersheds are located in protected public lands that lack a lot of agriculture, development or industrial pollution sources. The dirtiest streams lack land-use protections and are heavily impacted by bad agricultural practices and development.

Sediment and bacteria pollution are the most common sources of pollution to our waters. Sediment pollution is caused by runoff from construction sites and agricultural operations as well as eroding stream banks. Bacteria pollution comes from agricultural runoff, sewage leaks and faulty wastewater treatment plants.

If you’re interested in helping to make the French Broad River cleaner and healthier, you can take part in the French Broad Riverkeeper’s water quality volunteer programs. The French Broad Riverkeeper also spearheaded the development of the Muddy Water Watch smartphone app, which allows the public to easily document and report erosion incidents to the appropriate authorities on-the-go. To learn more and download the app, visit: http://www.muddywaterwatch.com/ or get it from the Apple App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/muddy-waters-watch/id1092256794) or Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.statcrew.muddywaterwatch).

Methodology

The State of the French Broad River Watershed, 2018 report report is an average of all the data available in the French Broad Watershed over the last several years. The report combines chemical data from the Environmental Quality Institute (EQI), benthic macroinvertebrate data from EQI and MountainTrue, E. coli data from MountainTrue’s Swim Guide, and a variety of data sources from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ). The chemical and benthic data was converted into a number so it could be averaged into an overall rating for each stream.

Chemical data from EQI is made available through their Volunteer Water Information Network (VWIN) program. That data is rated as excellent, good, average, below average and poor. Those were assigned the following rating: excellent – 100, good – 90, average – 80, below average – 70, and poor – 60. Benthic macroinvertebrate data is provided through the Stream Monitoring Information Exchange, which lists its stream ratings as excellent, good, good-fair, fair and poor. Those rating were assigned the same ratings as the VWIN data with excellent – 100, good – 90, good-fair – 80, fair – 70 and poor – 60. Swim Guide data was assigned an average of the number of times the data passed the US Environmental Protection Agency’s safe swimming benchmark of 235 E. coli units per 100/ml. If the site passed 75% of the time, then a rating of 75 was assigned that location.

The NCDEQ data was taken from the 303(d) list of water quality data taken by the state. This data is more complicated to average than the previous data sets because it is a mix of testing results for chemical, benthic, bacteria, fish, chemical and specific pollutants . Some locations had multiple parameters measured, such as fish, bacteria and benthic. Each combination of data was assigned an average listed below.

If two parameters either meet the state standard or are good, the score is 100
State data for benthos is good/fair – 85
State data benthos is not impaired – 80
Benthos fair – 65
Benthos poor – 55
Benthos fair and fish poor – 55
Benthos poor, fish fair – 55
Fish good, benthos fair – 77.5
Benthos good/fair, fish good – 90
Fish community excellent, benthos good or vice/versa – 95
Fecal impaired – 60
Meets criteria for a long list of water quality standards – 100
Meets criteria for a long list of water quality standards with some inconclusive – 100
Meets criteria for a long list of water quality standards except one – 90
Two standards are good and one failed – 80

Data points were grouped into subwatersheds and averaged, and this is how we arrived at the final ratings as displayed in the State of the French Broad River Watershed, 2018 report.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.