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OF RIVERS and REALTORS® WNC Rivers Series: The Pigeon River

River Update 

rivers we loveAs REALTORS®, more and more we are educating ourselves about and facing environmental issues. One such issue is pollution. Pollution affects quality of life. And quality of life is important to our real estate clients and to all of us.  This post is one in a series of posts on environmental issues having to do with water, water supply and  rivers. Although local in outlook, the story touches everyone, so please tell us what's happening with your rivers.  

Situation: The Pigeon River Watershed struggled to improve its water quality for at lest 30 years. The Clean Water Act of 1972  helped as did improvements in the Canton Paper Mill, So, over the years, the watershed began to feel the positive effects.  

However, for the first time in just as long, the water quality in the Pigeon River now is suffering and is on the decline. In fact, the NC Division of Water Quality's latest assessment shows that the number of failing or impaired streams in the Pigeon River Watershed has increased by 60% from 2006 to 2008. And this is true not only of the Pigeon River, but   Greater Asheville area's  mighty French Broad River as well. (see photo I took of this spectacular river to your left.)

 

Causes: Many people are embarassed to say...Human... including industrial waste, dumping and soaring population growth.  North Carolina's rising population is affecting our natural resources. According to RiverLink the regional non-profit spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries as a place to work, live and play,

  • 21 people move to North Carolina (NC) every hour -  more than 500 people per day.
  • By 2030, NC's population will increase 50% to 12 million.
  • At least 383 acres per day are converted to new roads, shopping malls and housing developments.
  • NC leads the U.S. in lost farm and forest land - more than 1 million acres in 10 years. 

But There's Plenty of Hope: Recently, at least one elected official accompanied by a group of paddlers, canoed the Pigeon River. They toured the paper mill, and performed health assessments that included monitoring  sediment runoff and industrial pollution dumps, eroding construction sites, illegal mining, stormwater runoff, and effluent from the mill. They took water quality samples along the way. They noted that effluent from the mill all still have a major impact on the river. And they voiced concerns and charged the culprits.

 According to RiverLink, 

"Five major trash dumps and four sites with sediment and erosion control problems were uncovered.  One trash dump was over 30 feet tall, but the culprit left behind their mail enabling us to track them down. The slime and sheen on Waterville Lake was another major area of concern. This lake acts as the end of the drain, catching and storing much of the pollution from the Canton paper mill and polluted stormwater runoff."   
 
To see pictures and read more about the trip, visit RiverLink's BLOG 

 

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The opinions expressed by the Activerain Network and it's members and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of janeAnne "Greenolina" http://activerain.com/janeanne  Broker/Owner of The ECO-Steward Real Estate Firm www.EcoStweardRealty.com which is not responsible for the accuracy or content provided by The Community.

 

 

 

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Comments

Although local in outlook, the story touches everyone, so please tell us what's happening with your rivers.  

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) about 10 years ago

Excellent article.  Thank you for the knowledge and the reporting. 

Posted by Cyndi Kerr (Sandals Realty) about 10 years ago

Cyndi~

I appreciate your interest. As real estate professionals, we confront environmental issues every day. Good-thing to be aware of how they affect all of us. . .

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) about 10 years ago

janeAnne:

Interesting post since I grew up about 12 miles outside of Asheville.  It's good to know people are aware of this and perhaps with vigilance by groups wanting to ensure their waterways are cleaner, they will improve in the future.

We have our own issues with streams and and some of our upstate lakes.  I have wondered if some of the polution may be because of lack of rain to help cleanse rivers and streams.  I'm sure that is only a part of the problem.

 

Posted by Sheila Reeves (Allen Tate Realtors) about 10 years ago

Sheila~

I'm going to look into your suggestion that drought is also a culprit... here's one case I know of...for sure...Once-mighty river hurt by drought, pollution, growing water demand

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) about 10 years ago

Thanks for bringing light to such an important issue.  We all need to be aware of our local resourses and be diligent in protecting them.

Posted by Hope Goss, Ventura Real Estate (Ventura Property Shoppe) about 10 years ago

Aloha janeAnne, Thanks for another interesting post and your continued efforts to raise environmental issues. We have similar concern with our natural resources with the water quality of our oceans. Development creates pressure on our offshore reefs as more sediments and fertilizers flow into the water with storm run off.

Posted by Pete Jalbert, R(S) (The Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. ) about 10 years ago

Hope~

Local and renewable resources are, just as you say, very important. Check on the ECO-All-Stars Group for all kinds of interesting news in both departments.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) about 10 years ago

Hope~

 

Yes...both local and renewable resources are SO important. As a REALTOR, especially nowadays, doesn't it become more important to keep these oftentimes forgotten factors in mind?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) about 10 years ago

Hi janeAnne,  This is interesting. 

Houston is called the Bayou City because we literally have so many streams, bayous, rivers, etc. getting down to the Gulf.  Last report I read believe it or not was that over 50% of the waste in our streams was due to Construction.  Probably from the residential side because there is so much of it going on.  (residential construction)

This leaves us with the perfect opportunity to do make a difference with advanced framing techniques and green building.  :) Seriously.  That's pretty sad statistics.

It also sounds like you all are in the same situation as here with growth in population which could lead to many shortages in water, electricity, etc.   Important that we have smart growth..not just growth.

Posted by Stephanie Edwards-Musa, knitwit at thred UP (thredUP.com) about 10 years ago

Thank you for writing on this subject janeAnne..

I have often wondered, just why it is that all the most polluting endeavours human beings have to offer are located right on the river?

Some of the answer I know, but still, it's  just is senseless..

Uphill battle.

NeighborJohn

Posted by John Narrin (ECO-Steward Realty) almost 10 years ago

Pete~

You commented, " Development creates pressure on our offshore reefs as more sediments and fertilizers flow into the water with storm run off." I would like to learn more about this...and especially if and how this eco-issue affects you/your real estate clients.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 10 years ago

Stephanie~

And you commented, " Important that we have smart growth..not just growth." Here in Asheville, we have begun to implement our Smart Growth Plan. Tis is a real benefit for all concerned. However...the major polluter of the Pigeon is a corporation...and so we have a special challenge.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 10 years ago

John~

I agree. It does seem senseless.

While rivers once were used to transport goods, now they are used as disposals... and a hundred years ago transporting goods could have made sense...but dumping pollutants does not make sense to me/my clients.

Here's an interesting example of a positive change for a River: in Detroit, measures have been taken by William McDonough and Ford Motor Company to rectify Detoit's problem of pollution on the River Rouge...and it's working! Maybe we need to study and implement that example.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 10 years ago

I rafted down the Pigeon river ten years ago and my skin came out of the river with a soft acid washed feel to it.

Posted by Sabrina Kelley, Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land (ERA Herman Group Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

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