Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Want an easy way to save the French Broad?

It only takes a minute:


The amount of failing streams in the French Broad River Watershed has increased by 75% in the last two years and the City of Asheville is proposing rules that would reduce one of the most vital protections for the river. Stream side vegetation is currently protected to prevent harmful pollution from entering the river. The proposed rules would reduce those protections and leave the French Broad River vulnerable to further water quality decline.

There is a proposal under consideration by the City of Asheville to reduce stream side protections throughout Asheville. This change refers to changes of the stormwater ordinance buffer rules. The current ordinance specifies 30ft buffers on all mapped streams and the new rule would be very convoluted and confusing. It is based on slope, disturbed area, and stream type. It would be too confusing to enforce, too confusing for many developers to understand and ultimately a reduction for the protection of our streams.

With the water quality of streams getting worse throughout the state, many other communities are increasing the stream side protections in response to this threat. Communities like Hendersonville, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Charlotte, and dozens of other NC towns have 50ft vegetative setbacks, but Asheville is considering reducing their protections down to 8 and 10ft in many circumstances. This is the wrong proposal at the wrong time. Asheville should be leading way not heading in the other direction. See page 13-14 of the proposed stormwater ordinance for the new buffer chart.

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