Cherryfield Creek

Study explores economic impact of French Broad

Commissioned by the French Broad River Partnership with $56,000 in grant funding from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Ecology Wildlife Foundation and Duke Energy, the research effectively seeks to fill out the river’s books. A team led by economist Steve Ha of Western Carolina University will analyze the monetary value of a healthy river to its eight-county watershed.

2007 Asheville magnolia protest

Symposium renews call for urban tree protection­s

Climate Change and Asheville’s Urban Forest, a symposium organized by Asheville GreenWorks for Thursday, Nov. 14, 5-7:30 p.m., brings together a broad coalition around the results of the city’s recently released canopy study. Urban forest advocates emphasize that trees are critical to help Asheville avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Western North Carolina forest overlook

Smallholde­r Access Program certifies WNC forests

Less than 0.1% of all small woodlands are currently certified as responsibly managed, despite making up over 75% of all privately owned Southeast forests. The SAP pilot, a collaboration of forest product companies, the Forest Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance, is exploring how to bring those previously overlooked parcels into certified status.

Brian Haynes leading Extinction Rebellion WNC march

In photos: Extinction Rebellion WNC holds Nov. 5 March on City Hall

Roughly 75 people, including Asheville City Council member Brian Haynes and Council candidate Shane McCarthy, took part in demanding that local government take stronger action in response to climate change. Extinction Rebellion chose the date of the march to coincide with the time local elections would have been held before they were moved to 2020 through the passage of Senate Bill 813.

Cantrell Creek Trail ribbon cutting

Transylvan­ia County Tourism funds environmen­tal conservati­on

In 2017, the county’s tourism board launched the Transylvania Always initiative, which has since invested thousands of occupancy tax dollars into everything from hiking trail restoration to French Broad River cleanup. “I really don’t know of anywhere else, particularly anywhere else of our small size, that is doing anything similar,” says Clark Lovelace, the TCT’s executive director.

Cindy and Ted Hady

Duke deploys herbicide helicopter­s in WNC

Since Duke first began using the practice in WNC in 2016, said company spokesperson Jeff Brooks, helicopters under the utility’s direction have deployed herbicides across more than 500 acres. That number may increase in the future as Duke pursues what it calls “an effective alternative” to ground-based management of vegetation along power lines.

Beaverdam SAHC tract

News briefs: Tourism input shared, Filipino American history celebrated

The results of a months-long public input process to gauge perceptions of the tourism industry on Buncombe County will be shared at a free event on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy announced it has protected 139 acres in the Beaverdam watershed in Haywood County, and the Better Buses Together campaign is urging local residents to advocate for increased transit funding.

Curbie accepted recyclables list

Green in brief: Recycle Right NC campaign kicks off, climate change predicted for WNC fall

Using the slogan “When in doubt, throw it out,” the statewide Recycle Right NC initiative aims to reduce contamination and improve the economic value of recyclables. Additionally, according to the National Weather Service’s Greenville-Spartanburg office, Western North Carolina is likely in for warmer-than-usual conditions over the foreseeable future.

Proposed Buncombe County N.C. House district map

News Briefs: New N.C. House maps for Buncombe, Eastern Band re-elects Sneed

As currently drawn, the proposed districts would shift representation for large areas of Buncombe County. A 2011 state law also required that districts for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners match those of the county’s House representatives. As currently drawn, the maps would move Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara from District 1 to District 2, shift Al Whitesides from District 1 to District 3 and reassign Amanda Edwards from District 2 to District 1.

Asheville Youth Climate Strike

Environmen­tal groups unite for Climate Justice Rally

Taking place at the Vance Monument from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, the rally brings together 15 area organizations in a call for change. The speaker lineup includes Anita Simha with the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign, Lucia Ibarra of Dogwood Alliance, the Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri from the Creation Care Alliance, UNC Asheville Assistant Professor Evan Couzo and Sunrise Movement member Shane McCarthy.

Rafter in the Nolichucky Gorge

Outdoors advocates seek protection for Nolichucky River

The proposed Wild and Scenic River designation would require the U.S. Forest Service to develop a specific watershed management plan for a half-mile corridor along about 7 miles of the Nolichucky River running through the Nolichucky Gorge from Poplar, N.C., to Chestoa, Tenn. The move would also permanently prohibit federal support for dam building and other actions that could change the river’s flow.

Bear crossing road

Sightings of three-legged bears worry locals

Justin McVey, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s wildlife biologist for the region that includes Asheville, says the commission has not received an unusual number of reports of three-legged bears in recent days despite social media posts suggesting sightings of at least nine separate bears with missing or injured legs within a 25-mile radius of Asheville.

Uherka site plan

Commission­ers deny Swannanoa rezoning in 4-3 split

Republicans Mike Fryar and Robert Pressley, as well as Democrats Amanda Edwards and Al Whitesides, stood against the 1.05-acre rezoning, while Democrats Brownie Newman and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, along with Republican Joe Belcher, gave their approval. The county planning board had recommended against the proposal, citing concerns over steep slope development.

Brightfield Transportation Solutions charging station at South Asheville Earth Fare

Electric vehicle infrastruc­ture expands in WNC

Although nearly 100 public charging stations are currently installed within 15 kilometers (9 miles) of Asheville, many more are on the way. Governments, businesses and private individuals are all stepping up their efforts to electrify the way WNC gets around, with major pushes including Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 80 and Duke Energy’s ET Pilot.