Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary on Merrimon Avenue in north Asheville will close for at least a month beginning Monday, April 23, while workers dredge and rehabilitate the sanctuary’s eco-filter pond and make other improvements. Use of the sanctuary’s driveways and parking lot will be limited to construction vehicles until the work is completed.
Work on the pond is the first of several improvements planned by the sanctuary’s owner and manager, the nonprofit Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society.
Silt and gravel will be removed from the pond, and a new retention basin will be dug to collect silt and gravel before water discharged by a large drainage pipe enters the pond from Merrimon Avenue.
EMAS is seeking to raise $200,000 for improvements. In addition to the pond, these include providing paved handicapped parking spaces, accessible walkways, new and expanded viewing platforms, a bicycle rack, interpretive signs, and native shrubs and grasses suitable for birds and other wildlife.
EMAS board members Dr. Edward Hauser, Doug Johnston, and Tom Tribble are overseeing planning for the project. PDM Landscaping is the contractor, and Altamont Environmental the designer. Architect George Stowe donated additional design services.
Grants from the Pigeon River Fund of the WNC Community Foundation, the Janirve Foundation and the Buncombe County Parks, Recreation and Greenways Department are helping finance the work, and EMAS is conducting a major fund-raising campaign headed by board member Bonnie Parker.
“We’re contacting Audubon members, past sanctuary supporters, north Asheville businesses, and our neighbors and urging them to support this community resource. We’re calling it a Campaign for the Birds, and we hope lots of people will help, just as they did when the Sanctuary was created in the late 1980s,” Parker said.
For further information, see EMASNC.org.