A waterway’s health depends on the actions of all who live, work and play in its watershed. Even small steps by individuals, when taken together, can help ensure that the region’s own French Broad River watershed stays clean for humans and wildlife alike.
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, for example, advises property owners to keep an adequate buffer or natural vegetation along the banks of any streams. “Resist the urge to ‘clean’ the stream by removing native vegetation as streams are healthy when they are shaded and streambanks are stable with vegetation,” says Landon Davidson, regional supervisor for the department’s Asheville Regional Office.
Max Rose, owner of Asheville-based Four Seasons Plumbing, encourages all residents to be careful when disposing of liquids. “A common misconception is that storm drains are part of the sewer system, when in fact they’re not,” he explains. “That means the motor oil you pour into the drain or the excess fertilizer from your yard will end up in the waterways, harming wildlife and lowering everyone’s drinking water quality.”
Rose also calls for more mindful use of cleaning products in the home. “While toilets and sinks lead to the sewer system, which is treated, using nontoxic products can be beneficial if the water escapes through a leak or break along the way to the sewage treatment center or if your house uses a private septic system,” he says. “Lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar make great alternatives.”