RiverLink celebrates 100 storm drains adopted; now adding new watershed to its adopt-a-storm drain program

Press release from RiverLink:

RiverLink is celebrating a milestone, as one hundred storm drains in the Central Asheville Watershed have been adopted by people, groups and businesses in 2021. This program aims to empower residents to participate in keeping local streams clean and grow awareness of the municipal storm drain system and its role in protecting clean water. It takes the whole community to keep the French Broad River clean!

The one hundredth storm drain, adopted by Laura Beeler, is situated outside Ultra Coffee Bar on Clingman Ext. in the River Arts District. When asked why she chose to adopt a drain, Beeler said: “It is a super simple way to help manage what’s going into the river and the flooding issues we have had in the River Arts District. I am always looking for ways to help my community do a better job of protecting the environment,” she added. “It has been so rewarding to spend time caring for the French Broad and its watershed – a place I have been enjoying for 20-plus years.”

The Central Asheville Watershed includes most of the RAD, the Southside and Chicken Hill neighborhoods, and downtown. RiverLink chose it as the pilot watershed for its Adopt-a-Storm Drain program because it is one of the most polluted in the larger French Broad Watershed. Streams running through the highly urban Central Asheville Watershed receive runoff and solid waste collected on impervious surfaces via storm drains during storm events. Best practices place storm drains in the path of least resistance to prevent flooding in streets and buildings. However, these systems allow stormwater to bypass a vital infiltration step in the natural water cycle, allowing unnatural amounts of runoff that cause streambank erosion, pollution and flooding for low-lying communities downstream.

Thanks to the overwhelming success of the program’s first year, come February, the Adopt-A-Storm Drain program will be expanding to add another heavily polluted Asheville watershed, the Smith Mill Creek Watershed. Smith Mill Creek is situated between Haywood Rd and Patton Ave., where it flows to meet the French Broad River; the creek is linked to 245 adoptable storm drains. If you live or work in West Asheville, check out the Adopt-A-Storm Drain map and consider adopting a storm drain, or two!

Homeowners seeking to use their property to promote stormwater filtration as nature intended are invited to check out the WaterRICH guide on the RiverLink website, www.riverlink.org.


Located in Asheville’s River Arts District, RiverLink spearheads the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River watershed as a destination where everyone can live, learn, work and play. RiverLink was born in the late 1980’s to address water quality concerns throughout the French Broad River basin; expand public opportunities for access and recreation; and promote the economic revitalization of Asheville’s once dilapidated riverfront district.

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