“By expanding the blitz to four counties and making a game of it, we hope to be able to engage more people and find more species,” said MountainTrue Public Lands Biologist Josh Kelly. “We might even find some that have never been recorded in our region.”
About 35 acres of the nearly 450-acre tract — purchased by the nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in 2020 and recently transferred to the town of Canton — are now open, including the Berm Park mountain bike skills course and a mixed-use hiking/biking trail.
Among the largest allocations are $12.2 million to accelerate the purchase and opening of Pisgah View State Park in Buncombe County, $7.2 million for the removal of hazardous dams in WNC and $5 million to upgrade the city of Hendersonville’s wastewater treatment plant.
On April 22, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy shared news of a 7,500-acre donation in the Roan Highlands. That same day, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina announced a 332-acre donation along Wilson Creek.
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 Asheville-based nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s work included both valuable wildlife habitats, such as the Wiles Creek and Little Rock Creek preserves, and prime farmland at risk of development. Sandy Hollar Farms in Buncombe County and Bowditch Bottoms in Yancey County were among the agricultural projects completed in 2020.
“With our diverse backgrounds, experiences and deep, heartfelt passion for conservation, I kind of feel like the Avengers assembled — and we always end our meetings with ‘go team.'”
For many WNC nonprofits, business support and partnerships comprise a significant part of their budgets. And while Asheville has a comparatively large number of nonprofits per capita, area businesses rise to the need.
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.
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.
On March 17, the county announced that it would combine its Soil and Water Conservation District with N.C. Cooperative Extension to form the Agriculture and Land Resources Department. Meanwhile, the managers of numerous area parks and trails have opted to restrict access in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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.
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.
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.
With flat land at a premium, how can new housing developments arise to accommodate the influx of new Ashevilleans without sacrificing water quality or the majesty of unspoiled vistas? Some conservationists say the answer lies with “sustainably developed” neighborhoods.
With wedding season right around the corner, local wedding vendors are ramping up options for local couples.
When invasive plants reach into productive “rich coves” like Sandy Mush, they can choke out much of the region’s native biodiversity. Endangered and sought-after plants such as yellow mandarin, black cohosh and wild ginseng, as well as thousands of other species of native plants and animals, can be at risk.
As local land trusts bring thousands of acres under protection, the challenges of maintaining the health of those lands grow. And raising money for ongoing efforts to control invasive plant species, deter pests and protect water quality can be a much tougher sell than the initial push to save a beloved tract from the threat of development.
Swannanoa residents met with members of the Community Advisory Group, federal and state environmental protection officials Thursday evening to review the 2016 Record of Decision for the Chemtronics Superfund site. The EPA also revealed the presence of a new contamination detection on the property.
Learn to build a mobile or stationary walk-in cooler for a variety of purposes at a two-part workshop offered by the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy on Oct. 9 and 23.
During an upcoming fundraiser, Wild South will celebrate its own conservation work in addition to awarding the efforts of activists across eight states. Headlining the evening is DeLene Beeland, a local author who will speak about her experiences with endangered red wolves. The Millroom hosts the event on Saturday, May 7.