2020 Fall Native Tree and Shrub Sale

2020 Fall Native Tree and Shrub Sale

A key component to a healthy stream or lake and good water quality is native trees and shrubs. Streamside buffers provide a wide variety of functions, including filtering pollution from runoff; trapping excess soil and taking up nutrients; keeping water temperatures cooler; helping prevent erosion and loss of land; and providing food and shelter for wildlife. MountainTrue staff and volunteers spend a good deal of time removing nonnative invasive plants from along streams and the lake shoreline to ensure that the native vegetation stays healthy and functions to protect water quality. Learn more about the functions of riparian buffers here.

Many of the harmful invasive plants that we work so hard to eradicate are unknowingly planted by residents in landscaping – sometimes miles away from the water!

In order to raise awareness about the beautiful, resilient plants that are native to our Southern Appalachian Mountains and to provide a little funding for our ongoing invasive plant eradication efforts, we are again holding a Native Tree and Shrub Sale this fall. Choose from 36 species of native trees and shrubs, ranging from large shade trees, native ornamentals, pollinator species, and those particularly beneficial to wildlife.

All plants are quality local nursery stock.
1-gallon – $12
2-gallon – $15
3-gallon – $20

2020 Tree-Shrub species price list
2020 Tree-Shrub descriptions for sale
2020 Tree Sale Printable Order Form

Orders will be accepted through Wednesday, November 4, while supplies last. You must pay for the order at the time you submit it in order to secure your species and size of choice. Then, pick up your order from the MountainTrue Western Regional Office parking lot in downtown Murphy on Saturday, November 14 between 9:00am – 1:00pm.

Here are two ways to complete your order:

  1. Order online using the form below and pay with any major credit card.
  2. Use our printable paper order form. Mail the order form with a check payment to: MountainTrue, 90 Tennessee St., Suite D, Murphy, NC 28906.

Plants that are found here inspire a “sense of place” and pride in our mountain communities and promote wise stewardship and conservation of natural resources. For questions related to these or other native and invasive plant species, contact program coordinator, Tony Ward at tony@mountaintrue.org.

 
Why MountainTrue Must Fight Racism

Why MountainTrue Must Fight Racism

Why MountainTrue Must Fight Racism

When MountainTrue was formed through the merger of the Western North Carolina Alliance, the Environmental Conservation Organization and the Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance in 2015, the organization inherited a broad scope of programs focused on protecting our rivers and public forests, reducing our region’s dependence on fossil fuels and encouraging smart growth to improve the health of our communities and reduce the impacts of development on our natural environment.

In the five years since the merger, the organization has been working on addressing issues of racism and equity: all MountainTrue staff members enroll in the Racial Equity Institute, the Building Bridges program or both; we’ve taken strides to diversify our board and staff; and we’re working to build partnerships with communities that are fighting for equitable access to resources and power.

That process has been coalescing and transformational. If you had asked us five years ago, two years ago or even just a few weeks back about our priorities and responsibilities on race and equity, you would have gotten different answers than today. We’ve been evolving toward a wider focus. Yes to protecting forests and rivers and advocating for better public transit, more greenways, clean energy, and dense development for the environmental benefits, but we are also thinking more broadly about how we can help foster communities where people are truly healthy. And this means communities that are free from racism, and where there is equity in the social determinants of health — housing, transportation, education and jobs.

Racial segregation and poverty are outcomes of bad policy.

Poverty and racial disparities have been sustained through bad policies that have disproportionately impacted people of color. This is clearly evident in the histories of Redlining and Urban Renewal. Redlining was the systemic denial of services, especially home loans, to people in Black communities established by the Federal Housing Administration in 1934 and replicated by private lenders and local governments that established racially-restrictive local zoning ordinances. Through a combination of redlining, deed restrictions, exclusionary zoning and leasing practices, and racism on the part of local governments, Black people were relegated to the poorest neighborhoods with the least public services. And because Black people could not get loans to improve or fix their homes, the quality of housing and other structures in these neighborhoods deteriorated and property values fell such that homeownership for Black families did not allow for the accumulation of generational wealth.

Despite these restrictions, Black communities in Asheville like Hill Street and Stumptown, the East End and the South Side were vibrant, thriving centers of Black life. City planners, however, saw only pockets of urban decay ripe for redevelopment under the guise of “Urban Renewal.” In the years after World War II, the federal government funded a massive building boom through the passage of the Housing Acts of 1949 and 1954, and the construction of a vast network of highways through the Federal Highway Act of 1944. With federal dollars flowing to municipal coffers, cities like Asheville were free to redevelop their urban cores, and it was poorer Black neighborhoods that were targeted. Much of the East End was razed to make way for South Charlotte Street and MLK Drive. In the Southside neighborhood more than 1,000 homes, 50 businesses and seven churches were demolished to make way for more upscale housing. In the Hill Street neighborhood, entire street grids were erased from the map to make way for Asheville’s Cross-Town Expressway.

In towns and cities across the country, vibrant communities of color were destroyed and their residents displaced. Some were forced to live in public housing communities that became pockets of concentrated poverty. Many others had to find cheap housing in the least desirable areas near highways, factories, refineries and landfills.

Pollution disproportionately affects the poor and communities of color.

These neighborhoods where the air is thicker with automobile exhaust, smog and fumes, and the soil and water are more likely to be poisoned with lead, heavy metals and other industrial pollutants have been dubbed “sacrifice zones.” The higher concentrations of pollution in these areas have an enormous effect on human health and childhood development and perpetuate the cycle of poverty. For instance, generations of poor kids who grew up near highways breathed air thick with the exhaust of leaded gasoline, and, even now, children in these neighborhoods are more likely to have high blood lead levels because the soil near these roads is still contaminated. Lead has been linked to reduced IQs, attention problems and aggressive behavior, and has been identified as a possible cause of the crimewave that besieged the nation from the mid-sixties through the early nineties.

It would be a mistake to reduce this oppression to simply matters of historical mistakes, market demand and geography. Redlining was explicitly racist, as was the targeting for destruction of poor and communities of color by mid-twentieth century urban planners. Similarly, proximity does not fully explain why Black and Brown communities suffer higher levels of air pollution. The National Center for Environmental Assessment finds that Black and Latino people are exposed to about 1.5 times and 1.3 times more particulate matter, respectively, than White people and that emissions are generally higher from factories located in communities of color than those located in wealthier White neighborhoods. Decisions are being made to site more polluting factories in poor neighborhoods than rich neighborhoods, and then to run the factories in Black and Brown neighborhoods dirtier. This is more than economic oppression. It’s environmental racism and it’s a dynamic that has been repeated time and again — famously in the financial decisions that lead to the Flint, Michigan water crisis and the state’s negligent response. Poor people are exploited for profit, and Black and Brown people most of all.

No zone should be sacrificed.

The society that we now inhabit is one where Black and Brown people have fewer opportunities, are more likely to live in areas that are polluted and dangerous, and are more likely to be trapped in cycles of poverty. To make matters worse: layered on top of this structural racism is a brutal criminal justice system, a broken healthcare system, an anemic educational system, crumbling infrastructure and growing food insecurity. In each and every regard, the consequences of these systemic failures fall heaviest on poor Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

Set to topple all these fragile civic institutions is the leviathan threat of Climate Change, which, if left unchecked, will flood our lowlands and mountain valleys in wet years and burn our mountaintops in drought years. Already, the outlines of this dystopia are clear: people and communities with resources will be better positioned to adapt, fortify and recover from disasters. Poorer communities will be sacrificed, largely abandoned by our federal government like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the American citizens of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, the Black neighborhoods of Houston that were flooded by industrial pollution during Hurricane Harvey, or the towns in Eastern North Carolina where homes were flooded with water tainted by millions of gallons of animal waste during Hurricane Florence.

But acting on climate change is not simply altruism, because the security of wealth will be fleeting. Climate Change is proceeding at a pace that has taken scientists by surprise and contributes to a wide spectrum of related maladies such as water shortages, crop destruction and the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. The climate challenges laid out in the October 2018 IPCC report will be insurmountable for a nation that is depleted and divided. Time is running out: to avoid climate catastrophe, we must stop sacrificing our most vulnerable populations, unite and act now.

Our conscience demands action and unity.

The wider movement needed to repair our country, protect our environment and take on climate change must be multicultural and firmly committed to dismantling racism and all systems of structural oppression. This was the strategic rationale of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign — which he described as “the beginning of a new co-operation, understanding, and a determination by poor people of all colors and backgrounds to assert and win their right to a decent life and respect for their culture and dignity” — and later of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. Both civil rights leaders understood that an anti-racist movement in which White participation is based only on notions of altruism of charity will exhaust itself and fail to create the mass politics needed to win lasting systemic change.

It’s been two years since the 2018 IPCC report was published warning of dire circumstances of not taking bold, swift action to curtail climate catastrophe. It has been nearly 40 years since Professor and NASA scientist James Hansen gave Congressional testimony about the threat of global warming. In that time our elected leaders have failed to meet the challenge head on. Worse, they’ve scoffed at proposals of the magnitude needed to address the climate crisis head on.

We have our work cut out for us. MountainTrue and its members must commit to the work of dismantling structural racism and uniting our communities in the fight for justice and survival in the face of climate change. Neither cause can succeed on its own; all are interconnected. We know that we don’t have all the answers, but we’re ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with communities fighting for justice.

As an organization, MountainTrue is committed to fighting racism and economic inequity, because meeting our core mission of protecting communities and the environment requires it. This means we must be ready to take on fights that are beyond the scope of traditional environmentalism. We will live our values and use our influence and institutional power to win a more equitable future, and we invite you, as a MountainTrue supporter, to join us.


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.

Dear MountainTrue members – a letter on race and equity

Dear MountainTrue members – a letter on race and equity

Dear MountainTrue Members and Supporters

Julie Mayfield & Bob Wagner

Like many organizations, we have begun taking a hard look at the role MountainTrue should play in the new national dialogue on race and equity. To be clear, equity has been a focus for us for several years now, mostly in terms of training and awareness for our board and staff, but the death of George Floyd and the ensuing outcry for racial justice has pushed us to ask what else we can and should do.

You might ask, why should MountainTrue do anything? We are an environmental advocacy organization, not a social or racial justice organization, right? Sure, it would make sense for us to work on environmental issues that impact communities of color, but why should we go beyond that? Shouldn’t we let other groups that are focused on racial issues fight this fight?

These are good and understandable questions. And we have answers to them – answers that we will be rolling out to you over the next few months. For now, the short answer to those questions is this: the fight for racial justice and equity is not separate from the fight for a clean and healthy environment. Indeed, racial discrimination and the environment have been linked for decades through the disproportionate placement of polluting industries, highways, and other harmful developments in and through communities of color; through urban renewal that destroyed black communities, often for city parks and green space; through the de facto exclusion of people of color from our national parks and forests because they don’t feel safe; through the willingness of regulators to overlook harm to communities of color that they would never accept for white communities (think Flint, Michigan). And these are only a few examples.

We have come to understand that, as a successful, influential organization, we have a role to play in dismantling the institutional and structural systems in our country that perpetuate racism and discrimination. We can no longer ignore the fact that our work exists within a much larger, complex system that sees some people as less important and expendable. Fighting for a clean environment and truly healthy communities demands that we no longer accept that framework, and fighting that framework means addressing racial discrimination outside of the narrow confines of traditional environmental advocacy.

Critical to the work of dismantling systemic racism is first understanding how each of us individually and how MountainTrue as an organization have benefitted from systemic racism – our staff is largely made up of privileged, well-educated, white people and our funding comes from foundations, businesses, and individuals that have accumulated wealth within a system of discrimination and, sometimes, at the direct expense of people of color. That is not to say these are bad people or businesses or foundations. They, like all of us, exist within a system of discrimination that has been created over centuries. It is long past time for that system to end, and our job now is to understand exactly the role we should play in breaking that system and advancing equity.

We invite you to join us in this journey. As mentioned above, we will be publishing a series of articles that discuss environmentalism and environmental advocacy in the context of race. We will also be scheduling virtual, small group discussions with us and our staff for those who want to dive in more and ask questions. We realize this will be a new conversation for many of you, and, while it may be uncomfortable, we hope you will remain open and engage with us on this critical topic.

Bob and Julie

 


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.

DEQ: It’s Time to Modernize NC’s Pollution Spill Notification System

DEQ: It’s Time to Modernize NC’s Pollution Spill Notification System

Join North Carolina’s Riverkeepers in calling on state regulators to modernize its public notification system.

Millions of people across North Carolina take to our beaches, rivers and lakes to cool off, swim, paddle, and fish, but most are unaware that nearly 16 million gallons of untreated sewage has spilled into our waterways during a two and a half month period (May 17 to July 30) according to data collected by North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

North Carolina desperately needs to update its public spill notification system. Current state law requires operators of wastewater collection and treatment systems to notify DEQ of spills of over 1,000 gallons into surface waters and to send a press release to local media within 24 hours. For spills of over 15,000 gallons, operators are required to place a notice in the newspapers of counties impacted by the spill within 10 days (NCGS 143-215.1C). Spills of other pollutants have similar reporting requirements to DEQ.

North Carolina should not be depending on ads in print newspapers to get the word out about dangerous spills. Newspapers are not mandated to run the press releases, and many local newspapers are only published in print on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, which is not frequent enough to warn river users of water quality problems in a timely manner.

The public has the right to know about major pollution spills that impact our waterways as soon as possible, and through the technology the public uses today. Join North Carolina’s Riverkeepers in calling for a better, more modern system that would:

  • Publish spill data to an online database and interactive map and on agency social media channels
  • Send email and text alerts to interested parties.
  • Allow the public to sign up to receive these alerts for the watersheds that they are interested in.

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.

DEQ: It’s Time to Modernize NC’s Pollution Spill Notification System

16 Million Gallons of Sewage Flowed into NC Waterways This Summer With Little Notification To Paddlers, Swimmers and Beachgoers

16 Million Gallons of Sewage Flowed into NC Waterways This Summer With Little Notification To Paddlers, Swimmers and Beachgoers

North Carolina’s Riverkeepers are calling on state regulators to modernize its public notification system.

North Carolina — Millions of people across North Carolina take to our beaches, rivers and lakes to cool off, swim, paddle, and fish, but most are unaware that nearly 16 million gallons of untreated sewage has spilled into our waterways during a two and a half month period (May 17 to July 30) according to data collected by North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Call on NCDEQ to Update North Carolina's Spill Notification System

The sewage enters waterways from overflowing manholes and pump stations and leaking sewer pipes, but the public is left largely unaware due to antiquated public notification requirements. North Carolina state law requires operators of wastewater collection and treatment systems to notify DEQ of spills of over 1,000 gallons into surface waters and to send a press release to local media within 24 hours. For spills of over 15,000 gallons, operators are required to place a notice in the newspapers of counties impacted by the spill within 10 days (NCGS 143-215.1C). Spills of other pollutants have similar reporting requirements to DEQ.

“We’re living in the year 2020, and the state of North Carolina is still depending on ads in print newspapers to get the word out about dangerous spills,” says French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson. “Sending press releases to local papers is not much better. Many local newspapers are only published in print on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, which is not frequent enough to warn river users of water quality problems in a timely manner — if they’re published at all.”

North Carolina Riverkeepers have launched an advocacy campaign at ILoveRivers.org to clean up North Carolina’s waterways and to update the state’s public notification system. “We’re asking the state to adopt a more modern approach, where DEQ would publish spill data to an online database and map as well as on the agency’s social media channels and through email and text alerts to interested parties,” explains Emily Sutton, the Haw Riverkeeper. “People should be able to opt in to receive email and text alerts for their watersheds. We also encourage DEQ to provide water quality notifications on their social media platforms. An improved notification system would help ensure that this critical information gets to the people that most need to know when the river is unsafe.”

E. coli bacteria levels in many North Carolina waterways frequently spike well above the EPA’s safe standard for recreation after rain events. E. coli and other forms of pollution are caused by agriculture and urban stormwater runoff, failing septic systems and overflowing sewer infrastructure. These issues are exacerbated by the effects of climate change, as more frequent and heavier rain events create more storm runoff and overwhelm outdated sewer systems.

Matt Starr, the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper explains that “notification is just the first step, but what we really need are improvements in our state laws that increase fines when sewage is dumped in our waterways. We can’t keep treating our waterways as a sewage disposal system if we ever hope to meet the goals of the Clean Water Act to have all waters be fishable and swimmable.”

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Region

Gallons of Sewage Spilled into Waterways
Asheville 3,214,626
Winston-Salem 3,260,987
Raleigh 2,800,681
Washington 2,616,516
Fayetteville 2,087,348
Mooresville 1,620,989
Wilmington 380,102
TOTAL 15,981,249

Chart represents DEQ regions and the amount of gallons of sewage that reached waterways between May  17, 2020 and July 30, 2020.


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.

MountainTrue Pollution Tip Leads to Enforcement Action Against Tryon International Equestrian Center

MountainTrue Pollution Tip Leads to Enforcement Action Against Tryon International Equestrian Center

MountainTrue Pollution Tip Leads to Enforcement Action Against Tryon International Equestrian Center

On July 27, MountainTrue followed up on a public complaint of sediment flowing into White Oak Creek from the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TEIC). Video showed a significant discharge of muddy water flowing off the site into the creek — a tributary of the Green River. MountainTrue’s Green Riverkeeper Gray Jernigan then reported the issue to the NC Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources (DWR).

Two days later, on July 29, DWR sent an inspector to the equestrian center where they witnessed site contractors flushing sediment into the center’s stormwater drainage system, and failures in their stormwater management system. In all, DWR cited Tryon International Equestrian Center with four water quality violations that must be “abated immediately and properly resolved.” These violations, failure to resolve them quickly and remediate damage to the environment could result in civil penalties up to $25,000 per day for each violation.

“Tryon International Equestrian Center has been a repeat violator of water quality.” explains Gray Jernigan. “They were first cited in 2014, and it only got worse as they rushed to build new facilities ahead of the World Equestrian Games in 2018. They took shortcuts and chose not to employ standard best management and construction practices to keep sediment on site, and the problems persist.”

The Green Riverkeeper shared the video of the illegal discharge on its Instagram account where it sparked a public outcry, and elicited a response from Sharon Decker, President of Tryon Equestrian Partners, the owners and operators of the center. Decker assured the public that “we share the same concerns you do about the environment, water quality and strong stewardship.”

The Equestrian Center has received numerous violations from the NC Department of Environmental Quality over the years dating back to 2014, amassing tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

“They’ve made assurances to the community to clean up their act, but their efforts have fallen well short of what is expected of someone who professes to care about the environment,” says Gray. “I’ve offered to meet with them to discuss steps they can take to undo the damage done and protect our public waters, and I look forward to having a conversation with the leadership at TIEC.”

Media contacts:
Gray Jernigan, Green Riverkeeper
C:828-423-0578 E: gray@mountaintrue.org

Karim Olaechea, MountainTrue Communications Director
C:415-535-9004


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.