On Saturday March 18th 2023 our employees got to assist and help with a Community project with our local watershed resources protection agency called RiverLink. RiverLink promotes the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River and its watershed which surrounds our Plant in the River Arts District. Leading the way and helping to secure funding for this educational workshop for our company was provided by Renee Fortner, the Watershed Resources Manager for Riverlink. We also partnered with Mountain Valley RC&D through their Shade Your Stream program. We worked to plant new shrubs and bushes that will help prevent further erosion of the creek banks that run along the side of our facility. By planting several types of native plants we are helping to keep the soil in place when we have large storms and rains come through the area.
The approach we used was from NC State's Cooperative Extension Backyard Stream Repair Program. We worked with Mitch Woodward, Area Specialized Extension Agent from NC State University in doing this workshop and we learned how doing these simple and affordable methods can help preserve property and ensure habitats for local wildlife.
The benefits of planting native plants along the stream bank are outlined in the Stream Repair program as:
Improves bank stability and reduces erosion, saving property from washing.
Adds aesthetic value to property.
Creates a sense of place and reduces noise.
Costs less to maintain than turf - no need for mowing, watering, and fertilizing.
Slows surface stormwater flow.
Intercepts pollution - fertilizer, pesticides, heavy metals, etc.
Allows sediment to settle out before clouding up a waterway.
Cools stormwater runoff heated by sunlight on hard surfaces.
Shade moderates water temperatures for aquatic species.
Provides habitat for many types of wildlife (butterflies, hummingbirds, frogs, dragonflies).
The types of North Carolina native woody plants used in this project and that are suitable for planting to help prevent erosion on stream banks are:
Native perennials that can also be planted:
Elymus virginicus, Virginia Wildrye
Panicum clandestinum, Deertongue
Andropogon gerardii, Big Bluestem
Sorghastrum nutans, Indiangrass
Panicum virgatum, Switchgrass
Rudbeckia hirta, Blackeyed Susan
Verbena hastata, Blue Vervain
Asclepias incarnata,Swamp Milkweed,
Zizia aurea, Golden Alexanders
Aster novae-angliae, New England Aster
Solidago rugosa, Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
Aster lanceolatus, Lance Leaved Aster
Aster puniceus,Purplestem Aster
Monarda fistulosa, Wild Bergamot
Eupatorium perfoliatum- Boneset
Helenium autumnale- Common Sneezeweed
This approach has been utilized already all around Western North Carolina and can be used by anyone! We are expecting to see growth and stability in our stream banks by using these methods by the end this year.
For a complete look at the NC State Cooperative Extension - Backyard Stream Repair Program see the link below!