The remains of three bears found in Woodfin — possibly a mother and two cubs — highlight a serious problem with poaching in the mountains, a bear advocacy group says. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said the case may be the result of poaching, but its investigation is ongoing.
“Bears are counting on us to be their voice against the ominous regulation change proposed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to allow permitted hunting in three bear sanctuaries.”
Hendersonville-based Conserving Carolina transferred the 87-acre property, a former sod farm on the banks of the French Broad River, to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission after purchasing it for $440,000 with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Fred and Alice Stanback.
When Tropical Depression Fred tore through Western North Carolina in August, among the casualties was the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s executive board has moved to close and demolish the facility, replacing it with an expansion to the adjacent Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery.
White nose syndrome, a fungal disease first seen in Western North Carolina in 2011, has reduced some local bat populations by as much as 95%. And climate change poses a long-term challenge to their habitats and survival.
According to the N.C. Climate Science Report prepared by N.C. State University’s Asheville-based N.C. Institute for Climate Studies and other experts, the area will likely experience more landslides in the coming years due to climate change.
“I hope that one day in the future — 200, 500, 1,000 years from now — those generations can stand next to a 6- or 8-foot diameter chestnut tree in our mountains and be able to trace the story of that tree back to today,” said Joey Owle, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians secretary of agriculture and natural resources, in a press release announcing the agreement.
Conserving Carolina kicks off its 2021 Habitat at Home photo contest, the Coalition for a Bird-Friendly Asheville is advocating for bird-safe window treatments and Asheville welcomes Tracy Swartout as the Blue Ridge Parkway’s new superintendent. This and more in the latest Green roundup.
Ongoing habitat loss and warming temperatures present an existential threat to Western North Carolina’s only native trout species, the brook trout.
The charging station program, funded by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality from part of the state’s allocation in the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal, partially defrays the cost of installing Level 2 infrastructure, which can recharge electric vehicles up to seven times as quickly as a standard 120-volt outlet.
The first such effort of its kind in North Carolina, the atlas will break the state into 937 sections of 10 square miles — covering roughly a fifth of its total land area — and ask birders to record all the varieties they see using the online platform eBird.
Increasing heat and stronger storms threaten trout populations dependent on clean, cold, oxygen-rich water. A decline in trout production could hurt farmers and recreational fishermen.
On Nov. 18, nonprofit Conserving Carolina announced that it had entered a contract to buy an unused 19-mile rail corridor between Brevard and Hendersonville for conversion into a greenway. Backers hope the Ecusta Trail will become a regional draw for running and biking enthusiasts.
According to a new study by Filterbuy, an air filter industry website, the median air quality index in the Asheville metropolitan area was 15.3% better over the period from 2015-2019 compared with the period from 2005-2009. The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton and Greenville, S.C., metros also showed big improvements.
“We are showing women how to see their land as an asset and how to make it work economically and to see that future,” explains Aimee Tomcho, a Burnsville-based conservation biologist for the National Audubon Society and leader of Western North Carolina’s ForestHer chapter.
Black Folks Camp Too founder Earl B. Hunter Jr. said new marketing collaborations would help him develop more interest in camping among the Black community. And later this month, Asheville-based artist Matthew Willey will begin work on a giant mural of honey bees at Hendersonville’s Hands On! Children’s Museum.
Together, the city of Asheville and Buncombe County approved over $11 million in funding to install roughly 7 megawatts of solar power at public facilities and area schools. The projects are anticipated to save the governments and local schools roughly $650,000 in electricity costs in the first year and more than $27 million over the installations’ 30-year operational life.
Commission Chair Laura Hudson argued that the rules placed too much emphasis on tree protection and could become an untenable burden for developers. “If you jam too many requirements onto one small parcel, I think you’re going to kill the development altogether,” she said.
At an April 21 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners lent their unanimous support to designating 16,000 acres of the Pisgah National Forest in the county’s northeast as the Craggy Mountain Wilderness and National Scenic Area. And on April 28, Duke Energy unveiled the most detailed public explanation to date of how company leaders are thinking about the longer-term future.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19, a public hearing will take place in Room B of the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center at 340 Victoria Road in Asheville regarding Duke Energy’s plans to build a 12.5-acre landfill on its property beside Lake Julian.
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.