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[Insert Outreach Descriptor]

Smoky Mountains STEM Collaborative: Bridging the Gaps in the K-12 to Post-Secondary Education Pathway

Timeframe | January 2021 - December 2025
  • TBD

Funding Source | NASA
Amount Awarded | $8,000
Scope of Work




Cultivating River Stewards of the French Broad Basin (Love Your Watershed Education and Outreach Campaign)

Timeframe | October 2020 - July 2023
  • Town of Waynesville

  • BearWaters Brewing Company

  • Ivy River Partners

  • Town of Marshall

  • Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council

  • Yancey County

  • Land of Sky Regional Council

  • NC Wildlife Resource Commission

  • New Belgium Brewing

  • City of Asheville

  • Blue Heron Whitewater

  • Ecosystem Services

  • Pigeon River Fund

Funding Source | National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program
Amount Awarded | $35,635
Scope of Work

The “Love Your Watershed: Cultivating River Stewards of the French Broad Basin” project incorporates three components – on-site riparian forest improvements; site-specific education and interpretive opportunities; and media-based interpretation and education. The conservation benefits include restoring 2.05 miles of waterways with riparian plantings, improving 5.25 acres of riparian corridors by removing invasive plants species, and improving aquatic and riparian habitat by removing 4,200 lbs of trash. The partners for this Love Your Watershed project are Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council, Blue Heron Outfitters, Ecosystem Services, Haywood Waterways Association, Ivy River Partners, Land of Sky Regional Council, Riverlink, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and NC Wildlife Resources Commission. Haywood Waterways would serve as Project Manager. Land of Sky Regional Council would serve as fiduciary agent. All other partners would provide technical support, help develop educational materials, coordinate with site hosts, and recruit volunteers. All are part of the larger French Broad River Partnership (see question 9). Additional support would come from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who would provide native river cane for riparian improvements. Partners have identified eight sites to serve as site hosts; five on the French Broad River, two in the Pigeon River subwatershed, and one in the Nolichucky River subwatershed. They were chosen based on proximity to a river or stream, proximity to an underserved community, level of host enthusiasm, need for conservation work, and high community visibility. The site hosts would be Bearwaters Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewing, City of Asheville, Yancey County, and the towns of Waynesville, Marshall, and Rosman. The restoration and education activities completed at each site would vary slightly depending on site suitability. We anticipate they would engage 250 volunteers, educate 350 students, and reach 320,000 citizens.


The mountains and waterways of the French Broad River basin attract millions of visitors and thousands of new residents each year. Much of the region is still used for agriculture, though it has been on decline as farms are being replaced with residential and commercial development. These residential, commercial, and agricultural land uses are sources of non-point source pollution and have led to water quality degradation in many of the basin’s waterways (NCDWQ 2005, NCWRC 2015). There are 36 streams and 191 stream miles on the state list of impaired waterways and many more are considered on decline. The major pollutants of concern are pathogens, pesticides, turbidity, nutrient enrichment, and habitat degradation associated with sedimentation and streambank erosion (NC EEP 2009, NC DENR 2011, NCWRC 2015). The French Broad River basin has lost a substantial portion of its aquatic species. There is also concern with nonnative and invasive species. Conservation metrics include: riparian restoration, removal of invasives, pounds of trash/debri removed or prevented, number of pet waste receptacles installed. Outreach and education metrics include: number of social media posts, people targeted, peopled reached, volunteers participating, students reached, and educational signs installed.

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