On Saturday, February 7, RiverLink and the residents of the historic Falconhurst neighborhood in West Asheville teamed up for a cleanup of Smith Mill Creek. In spite of
Michael Kohnle with fluorescent tubes removed from the environment
temperatures in the 20s, 18 residents of Falconhurst and RiverLink volunteers came out - and some of them even waded in the creek to better remove trash. The group hauled a plethora of trash and unusual items out of this urban creek that parallels Patton Avenue. Area businesses were so happy to have the area cleaned that they donated dumpster space for the debris.
Seven tires, an automobile transmission, two large signs from a long-gone business, various drink bottles, plastic shopping bags, and other assorted items were removed from the stream. Perhaps the most disturbing find was a collection of fluorescent light tubes, including a broken tube. Fluorescent lights have mercury in them, not a substance to be leaking into our environment. The tubes were taken to the Asheville Fire Department for proper disposal.
RiverLink plans to work with the neighbors again in warmer months to get further into Smith Mill Creek to remove even more debris. There is also a stream flowing in the neighborhood that needs a name, a service RiverLink provides through its Name that Creek program.
The Falconhurst neighborhood is working with RiverLink to establish a Comprehensive Creek Care team, an approach to neighborhood creek care that approaches water quality improvements in a variety of ways. Neighborhoods, businesses, churches and other groups around Western North Carolina have already worked to improve water quality through RiverLink's Adopt-A-Stream program. RiverLink is now offering more tools for more improvements: litter cleanups, stormdrain marking, invasive species removal, and giving unnamed streams names.