In November, Michael Caterino of Clemson University and Paul Marek of Virginia Tech will start a three-year effort to catalog litter-dwelling arthropods — the biological group that includes such creatures as millipedes, spiders and beetles — on the high peaks of the southern Appalachians, including Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain.
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.
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.
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.
Joining demonstrators worldwide, hundreds of local teenagers, children and adults walked out of class and work to participate in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20. Gathered in front of Asheville City Hall, the activists held a climate protest and “die-in”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Armadillos were first seen in North Carolina in Macon County in 2007, and the first confirmed Buncombe County sighting took place in July 2014 near Leicester. Although urbanization and relocation by humans have helped the armadillo’s invasion, says N.C. Wildlife Commission biologist Colleen Olfenbuttel, climate change is likely a key factor.
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.
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.
Last October, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality placed stricter controls on what outside materials MSD could accept, thus barring the plant from taking Asheville’s treatment residuals. The city’s current plan is to landfill the sludge in Buncombe County and Concord, N.C. — at over 2 1/2 times the cost of its previous disposal arrangement.
“We have to start looking at what is nature at this point? What is the nonhuman world?” maintains “Mountains Piled Upon Mountains” editor Jessica Cory. “We’ve affected the air, which affects everything else. We’re really getting to the point where we have to look at things a little differently.”
Western North Carolina is a rock climbing mini-mecca, featuring faces such as Looking Glass, John Rock and Rumbling Bald. And for some, this fast-growing sport is a way of life. Together with traditional therapy, it’s played a key role in helping some climb out of depression.