Recycle Right NC campaign kicks off
In conjunction with nearly 200 local governments — including the cities of Asheville and Hendersonville — the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality launched the statewide Recycle Right NC campaign on Sept. 9. Using the slogan “When in doubt, throw it out,” the initiative aims to reduce contamination and improve the economic value of recyclables. Recent changes to the Chinese recycling market (see “What Goes Around,” Xpress, Apr. 17) have caused recycling companies throughout the state to reevaluate their materials standards.
Curbside Management, which processes recyclables for Asheville and unincorporated Buncombe County, is no longer accepting paper pieces smaller than a business card, including shredded paper. Other items commonly placed in recycling bins that should be landfilled include single-use cups (both plastic and paper), carryout containers and six-pack rings.
N.C. Forest Service urges wildfire caution
October through early December is the peak of WNC’s wildfire season, according to the N.C. Forest Service, and state officials are encouraging residents to be cautious — especially in light of the area’s abnormally dry recent conditions. “If you’re thinking about burning debris, contact your county forest ranger first,” said Steve Troxler, state agriculture commissioner, in a press release. “The forest ranger can offer technical advice and explain the best options to help maximize safety for people, property and the forest.”
Composting is often a better way than burning to dispose of materials such as leaves and grass clippings, notes the Forest Service release. Any burning that does occur should optimally take place in the late afternoon, avoid the use of flammable liquids and be supervised until the fires are completely extinguished. A shovel or hoe should be used to clear a perimeter around the planned burn area.
As of Sept. 27, Buncombe County is under an open burn ban until further notice. Although Henderson County has not yet declared a ban, officials are asking residents to avoid burning and take water conservation measures.
Climate change predicted for WNC fall
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. The office’s three-month temperature outlook, released in September, indicates a 58% chance that the average Asheville-area temperature from October through December will be higher than the median temperature during the 1981-2010 reference period.
The NWS gives only a 26% chance that average temperatures over the period will be below the normal range, or less than 46.9 degrees Fahrenheit (8.28 degrees Celsius). Instead, it is expected that conditions will be 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit (.22 degrees Celsius) warmer than the reference period average. The predictions come as part of the NWS’s national outlook, which anticipates above-average fall temperatures for every state except Hawaii. More information is available at avl.mx/6k1.
Tips of the hat
- The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina received a $1.2 million grant from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund to support the planned Oak Hill Community Park and Forest near Morganton. The nonprofit must raise an additional $1.3 million by the end of the year to purchase 660 undeveloped acres for the project, which it plans to preserve for public access in conjunction with city, state and local partners.
- Conserving Carolina, which has helped protect over 45,000 acres across Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, had its accreditation renewed by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. “Our strength means special places, such as Bearwallow Mountain, Little White Oak Mountain, and DuPont State Recreational Forest, will be protected forever, making this region an even greater place for us and our children,” said Kieran Roe, the group’s executive director.
On Sept. 13, The Conservation Fund and the Maggie Valley Sanitary District celebrated the end of the first phase in a project to preserve the Haywood County town’s watershed. A total of 710 acres are now under conservation, with an additional 1,350 acres slated for protection within the next few years.
- Clean Water for North Carolina, an Asheville-based conservation nonprofit, marked its 35th anniversary on Sept. 21. The group’s current initiatives include preventing fracking throughout the state, educating users of well water and cleaning the Pigeon River.
Save the date
- On Sunday, Oct. 13, 3-5:30 p.m., Youth Empowered Solutions hosts a free teach-in about the intersection of racial equity and climate change at Asheville High School. The #BlackSummer19 event, open to both youth and adults, will feature interactive presentations, a short documentary and action planning. Register by texting “YESBS19” to 484848.
- The inaugural Bears Bees + Brews Festival comes to New Belgium Brewing on Saturday, Oct. 19, 12-5 p.m. Founded by Roni Hidalgo and supported by Southern Conservation Partners, the free, family-friendly event combines wildlife conservation experts with food trucks, beverages and live music. Visit bearsbeesbrews.com for more information.
- Writers with a passion for the outdoors are encouraged to apply for the Steve Kemp Writer’s Residency by Friday, Nov. 1. Sponsored by the Great Smoky Mountains Association, the program selects one writer to live for free in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for six weeks, becoming immersed in its natural and cultural heritage while producing works that engage park visitors. Visit avl.mx/6jg for more information and to apply.
- Both the French Broad River West and Town Branch greenways are scheduled for construction in the spring of 2020, according to a press release from the city of Asheville. At a total estimated cost of roughly $9.28 million, of which approximately $7.42 million will be funded by federal grants, the projects will add 1.75 miles to the city’s network and fill the current greenway gap between the French Broad River Park and New Belgium Brewing.