North Carolina National Guard members receive the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award from Jordan Gillis

Asheville National Guard unit wins major environmen­tal award

On Aug. 3, Jordan Gillis, acting assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment presented N.C. National Guard Field Management Station No. 1 with the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award, given annually to just nine individuals, teams or installations from Army operations across the country.

Lincoln Hamer with trash during Swannanoa River cleanup

GemFinding leads post-flood Swannanoa River cleanups

GemFinding owner Chip Freeman hopes that the community will rally behind his last two river cleanups, taking place at Azalea Park on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Saturday, Sept. 15. “The cleanup depends on how many people we have there to tackle it,” he says. “You don’t have to come for four hours —if you pick up four or five pieces of trash, you’ve done something.”

Dogwood Alliance tour sparks conversati­on on environmen­tal justice

In collaboration with the Sierra Club, New Alpha Community Development Corporation and Kingdom Living Temple, Dogwood Alliance is traveling across eight southern states to engage vulnerable communities and build solidarity around climate crises. Emily Zucchino with Dogwood Alliance says the event will tie the community’s poverty and gentrification issues together with the greater environmental context.

UNC Asheville students sample aquatic organisms.

Regional watersheds expected to recover after record rainfall

While the flood’s immediate aftermath may negatively impact water quality and populations of aquatic life, research suggests that WNC’s watersheds readily recover from similar events over the long term. But area experts emphasize that humans do play a role in maintaining the resilience of the region’s streams, rivers and lakes as development continues along their banks.

WNC environmen­tal programs and agencies could see more cuts in new state budget

Local legislators and environmental advocates share their thoughts on which state budgetary and policy decisions could have a big impact on WNC’s environment in the coming fiscal year and beyond. They cited issues including the state’s response to novel contaminants like GenX chemicals, the budget for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and funding for the Clean Water Management, Parks and Recreation and Farmland Preservation trust funds.

Storing power key to expanding use of renewable energy

The success of the county’s and city’s goals to increase their use of renewable energy, say local experts, hinges on the availability of battery storage — and lots of it. With one very small local battery installation under its utility belt, Duke Energy Progress is developing two storage projects in Western North Carolina — but will those and future projects be large enough to make a meaningful difference?