TAKING OUT THE TRASH: In 2011, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy acquired an 88-acre tract adjoining the  2,767-acre Sandy Mush Game Lands. During one workday in 2016, volunteers removed 180 tires and 12 contractor-sized bags of garbage. Photo courtesy of SAHC

Protection just the first step for conservati­on nonprofits

As local land trusts bring thousands of acres under protection, the challenges of maintaining the health of those lands grow. And raising money for ongoing efforts to control invasive plant species, deter pests and protect water quality can be a much tougher sell than the initial push to save a beloved tract from the threat of development.

NOT POCKET CHANGE: Real estate agents and architects are increasingly integrating an awareness of the effects of climate change on the local real estate market into their practices. These professionals can be crucial sources of information for clients considering major investments in real estate. Photo by Thinkstock

Local real estate agents, architects build awareness of climate change implicatio­ns

Area Realtors and architects are paying close attention to the effects of climate change on the built environment — and gaining new skills to help clients consider climate-related issues as they make real estate decisions. The Asheville chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a conference, titled “Where Building Science Meets Climate Science,” at The Collider on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 2-3.

Goldenseal, a popular forest farming crop, is grown for medicinal use. Photo courtesy of Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmers Coalition

Workshop shares knowledge for raising crops on the forest floor

Many cultures around the world cultivate native, shade-loving plants beneath the forest canopy. Recently, more farmers in the United States have been getting excited about the potential of forest farming to diversify their crops while preserving natural environments. A forest farming workshop on Saturday, Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 1, is geared to farmers of all levels who are interested in growing in the shade.

Image courtesy of Rooted in the Mountains

Rooted in the Mountains conference will integrate Western and Cherokee ideas

“Rooted in the Mountains,” a conference that explores the intersection of Western and native traditions that’s now in its eighth year, will take place at Western Carolina University on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 28-29, and includes a trip to the sacred site of Kituwah, the Cherokee “mother town.”

WASTE WATCHERS: Largely unheralded, the Buncombe County Metropolitan Sewerage District ensures that the waste generated by its approximately 130,000 customers is properly treated and disposed of before it enters local waterways. The agency is currently in the midst of a $266 million capital improvement project that will upgrade its plant facilities for the future. Photo courtesy of MSD

MSD upgrades its infrastruc­ture with capital improvemen­t projects

To fulfill its critical mission and increase its capacity to deal with a growing service area and customer base, MSD is in the midst of a $266 million capital improvement project, which will help ensure that the community’s waste is properly handled and safely disposed of.

IN THE BEGINNING: Reputed to be the third oldest river in the world, the French Broad has gone from a polluted industrial dumping ground to a key cog in Western North Carolina’s outdoor and tourism industries. This renaissance is a result of government, nonprofit, and individual efforts to improve water quality throughout the watershed. Photo by Mike Belleme; courtesy of Transylvania Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority

Communitie­s along Upper French Broad work to restore water quality

In this two-part series, Xpress invites you on a guided a trip down the river as we examine the work of various communities to write the next chapter in the French Broad’s history, beginning with Transylvania and Henderson counties.