WATR: Jackson Conservation Voters push for strong Steep Slope measures

WATR members in Jackson ***Update, due to the snow, the Planning Board Meeting has been postponed one week to Thursday, Feb 20.   I look forward to a great turnout from Jackson Conservation Voters*** Conservation-minded citizens of Jackson County will attend the Jackson Planning Board Meeting on Thursday, Feb 13 20 […]

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WATR’s friend Gary Carden is writing a new play

Gary Carden, a renown regional storyteller, is writing a play about the tragedy that took the lives of convicts forced to dig the train tunnel north and west of Dillsboro in the 19th century.   I met up with Gary on an icy morning about a month ago at Monteith […]

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New WATR website is almost ready for prime-time. Thank you….

Yes!  Our updated WATR website is almost ready for prime-time.  And a big THANK YOU goes to Ohia, web page designer, and Julie Thorner, WATR board member.  Did you know that Julie is a marketing professional with her own business: Liquid Spark, Inc. (formerly WillowWorks, Inc.)  She’s a great part […]

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Tuckasegee Summer Picnic draws a crowd!

Ken Walton enjoys the FANTASTIC food!
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Mountain Heritage Trout Waters

Jackson civic leaders, mostly from Sylva, Dillsboro, & Webster, have been meeting with the purpose of identifying stretches of Scotts Creek & the  Tuckasegee River to classify as Mountain Heritage Trout Waters.  When the project is completed, Dillsboro will be identified as a “Mountain Heritage Trout Town.”  (Same for Sylva […]

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Upcoming Traditional Cherokee Fish Harvest – Year 4

Partner with Cherokee Youth Council WATR is partnering with the Cherokee Youth Council Three events – WATR volunteers welcome – need help/chaperones Tuesday, 5/7, 6:00 PM at Extension Office on Aquoni Road — Help plan events! – went super well! Monday, 6/10, about 9:00 at Webster Weir (Jim Allman’s Place) — […]

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WATR goes to WCU for Earth & Wellness Day

  WCU Earth and Wellness Fair WATR enjoyed an afternoon at WCU meeting and chatting with students.  We staffed an information table and made friends.  We watched as kids hula-hooped, took the blood pressure of passerby-s, and discussed environmental themes.  We had to chuckle when we saw students engaged in […]

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WCU Annual Tuck Cleanup, Again — Lower Tuckasegee

WCU Annual Tuck Cleanup — Lower Tuckasegee Cleanup, April 21  For the first time ever, the Annual WCU Tuck River Cleanup (now in its 19th year) has down to the confluence with Fontana Lake. WATR volunteers worked with Wildwater  staff – they supplied guides and rafts — and we removed […]

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WCU Annual Tuck Cleanup — Scotts Creek

WCU Annual Tuck Cleanup — Scotts Creek – April 20, 2013  For years, WATR has conducted cleanups on tributaries  to the Tuckasegee River, as part of the Annual WCU Tuck River  Cleanup.  We let the college kids work out of rafts on the main river, while  we fight prickly brush […]

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It has been a busy spring for WATR –

April is Earthday Month, with many activities especially for students who head into term papers and finals in May.  In ensuing WATR Blogs, we will cover topics like: The 19th Annual WCU Tuck River Cleanup when WATR volunteers picked up trash along Scotts Creek at various sites in Sylva.  The […]

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Notes from Annual Meeting, Feb 26, 2013

WATR Annual Meeting  Thirty souls showed up at the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex on the Qualla Boundary to accomplish association business and to hear Eric Romaniszyn’s rallying presentation. Thanks to Bill Kane, our association bylaws allow for simpler board elections, use of electronic notification instead of snail mail, and adjustments […]

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Flood of 2013 has Happened, Part 2.

As prolonged as the rain was, and as intense as the flooding was, this extreme weather event is all over…and the sun is shining.  Now people have the job of picking up the pieces, cleaning up the mud, and getting back to normal.   For some, the damage was extensive – […]

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Flood of 2013 is Happening, Part 1

The Flood of 2013 is happening as I write to you.   The clock on my computer says 12:30 PM on Thursday.  It has rained for 3 days and it is continuing to rain, with a good chance that it will turn to snow later today. My purpose in writing is […]

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WATR Builders 1: Jack Gruber

WATR volunteers have helped in a variety of ways over the past few years: creek cleanups,                botanical expertise, invasives removal,         office help, trail maintenance,          and  other tasks. A big WATRshed THANK YOU for all their help. In […]

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All About Water: Watershed Film Series #3 Coming November 15th

The theme of this Film night is “It’s Our Water”. This will be our third presentation of environmentally thought-provoking videos in our Watershed Film Series. Instead of one long film, the program includes four snappy videos – (less than 5-8 minutes each) covering issues from litter to bottled water. We […]

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Adventure Hour At Discovery Trails

Come join us for an adventure. We are offering guided adventure tours at Monteith Farmstead Park on Saturday mornings at 9am and again at 11am, courtesy of WATR. Each adventure will follow a portion of Scotts Creek, a tributary of the Tuckasegee River. Along the way we will learn how […]

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Watershed Film Series

Watershed Film Series Wednesday August 22, 2012 WATR is hosting a short film series all about our water. We welcome everyone to join us at the Swain Middle School media center on August 22, 2012 from 7:00-9:00p.m. We will have a community discussion after the films. We would like to give […]

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Protect your stream by “adopting it!”

At our Public Meeting at the end of May, Rick Queen described the NC “Stream Watch” program that is offered through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  – So what’s it all about?  The state guys know that it is neighbors who live on or near the creek that know the […]

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River Cane Chronicles IV: Important Invitation

The WATR River Cane Mapping & Education Project is gearing up for the summer, and WE NEED YOU and other volunteers.   The purposes of the project are to educate ourselves and the public about the ecological and the cultural benefits of native river cane, to snoop around creeks and […]

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Board Meetings

Tuesday May 22, 5:30pm at the Bryson City Library. (Directions) Tuesday June 17, 5:30pm in Sylva. Tuesday November 13, 5:30pm Sylva.

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Summer Picnic

Friday June,15. We are outdoor enthusiasts and what better way to celebrate the great outdoors than having a picnic? Bring your friends, family, and anyone that enjoys the great outdoors. Good food, good friends, and a good community. Location TBA, so stay tuned.

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WATR Public Meetings

Monday July 23, 6:45 p.m. Sylva Public Library is the location of the WATR Mid-Summer Meeting. We will socialize at 6:45 and discuss issues and have an open dialogue from 7:00 until 8:30p.m. Everyone is invited to join the conversation.  With speaker Mark Cantrell.

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The Must-See Conservation Film, Thurs. April 19

On Thursday, April 19, at 7:00 – 8:30 PM, there will be a must-see documentary movie at the Smoky Mountain Community Theater (130 Main Street, Bryson City).  It recalls the life of perhaps the most influential U.S. conservationists of the 20th century, Aldo Leopold.  The movie is more than dry […]

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The Tuckasegee Trout Unlimited Team

The Tuckasegee Trouth Unlimited team will be doing more trash clean up in concert with the WCU Annual Tuck Cleanup. The group will be meeting at CJ Harris Boat Launch. Pickup will be done by walking the shoreline, by wading, and by boat. Dress appropriately and bring gloves. The cleanup […]

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River Clean Up Teams

Join up with Duke Energy team to pick up trash along the Tuckasegee River in the section of the former lake behind (the now nonexistent) Dillsboro Dam. This clean up will be on Thursday April 19 from 1-4 P.M. Folks will meet at the new C J Harris Boat Launch- […]

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River Cane Chronicles Part III

Morning comes and with it the question: Did the dye take? Sometimes it doesn’t. But today, Jim Long is in luck. The brown-dyed cane can be seen as soon as he removes the cover. He lifts out the cane and spreads it on the concrete of his driveway. He will […]

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River Cane Chronicles part II

With the cane bundled into the tub, Jim Long fills his cut-off oil drum with water and brings it to a boil with a propane burner. He begins cutting and mixing in walnut roots from a tree that blew down near his home.The walnut will produce deep-brown strips of cane […]

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River Cane Chronicles Part I

To prepare the harvested river cane for dyeing, Jim Long – Cherokee weaver and basketmaker – cuts a six-foot long stalk in half, then expertly wields his knife to peel off strips. He gets an average of six strips for a piece of cane this thick. He then uses his knife […]

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Intro. to The River Cane Chronicles

WATR is working with  the Cherokee tribal Revitalization of Traditional Artisan Resources, aka RTCAR.  The project is called ” WATR River Cane Education & Mapping” and it extends through this summer. River cane is important to WATR’s mission because the shoots prevent stream bank erosion and trap sediments. In short, river cane helps […]

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WATR Annual Business Meeting

WATR’s Annual Business Meeting will be held at the  Jackson County library located in the renovated Jackson County Courthouse on Monday February 27.  We will start with potluck meal at 5:30, followed by the meeting from 6:15 to 7:45. Our featured speaker will be Susan Sachs, educator for Great Smoky […]

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Harvesting Rivercane

Five WATR members traveled with Cherokee artisans to harvest the perfect canes that are suitable for traditional weaving projects: mats and baskets. We joined two Cherokee artisans, Jim Long and Lucille Lossiah, and their six assistants who are learning the craft as we headed down to the Murphy area. At […]

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Candidates for the Board

Bill Kane, WATR Board Member, described the board member nomination process, then opened the floor for nominations.    Newest nominees are: Ken Brown, owner of a construction company and leader of the local Western North Carolina Alliance chapter;   and Jennifer Cooper, interim manager – Service Learning, at WCU.   […]

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Successful January 2012 Planning Meeting

For the first time, WATR staff and members are assembling a list of activities and events for the coming season (as best we can).    With this list, members, new and old, can identify where and how they want to be involved in the coming months.   As importantly, we can […]

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Happy New Year to all of WATR’s members and friends

Year 2011 ended with an impressive list of accomplishments, to be summarized elsewhere. Now I would like to go over our intentions and our plans for the coming year.  With challenging economic times, it is more important than ever that we get volunteer effort and donor assistance in order to […]

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Generous WATR Members Make the Goal!

Thanks to recent new memberships and gifts, many of which are second and third gifts from committed members, – the Association received $10,104, pushing through the $10,000 goal for Membership Year 2011.A big WATERSHED HUG, to everyone who chipped in, to make this WATR’s best fundraising year ever. Watch for […]

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Partnership Award

Holly Krake, left, a US Forestry worker and liaison specialist for the Oconoluftee Job Corp CCC Center, presents Roger Clapp, excutive director of WATR, a Conservation Partner Award in recognition of WATR’s work with Job Corps students on the Monteith Park trails project in Dillsboro.  Job Corps students have helped […]

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Confluences — Part 1

I am standing on the southern-most point of Illinois looking out over the churning water that marks the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Native Americans, whose villages and mounds dotted the banks of the rivers, came to the point to camp, fish and fight, say the archeologists. Lewis […]

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Fall Water Meeting

WATR held its Fall Meeting at a new place: the atrium of the Jackson County Library in the totally remodeled courthouse on Monday 10/7. Roger Clapp reviewed the programs and events of the past summer and described upcoming projects. The association’s biggest accomplishment is the Stream Buffer Demonstration Trails in […]

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Green Friends

Green Friends Many WATR members support other local and state groups who strive to protect our environment and promote social justice.  Please give careful consideration of the following issues and responses and to the organizations that are pushing for reforms. Duke Energy has an approved rate increase of 4.6% to […]

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Stream Buffer Demonstration Trail

On Friday 9/16, the educational signs were installed at our interpretive nature trail in Dillsboro, NC.   If you are in the area, please stop by and take a short walk along the trail.  The trail ends with an ecological riddle that you can probably solve after your first visit. […]

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WATR gets $9,500 river cane grant from Cherokee

As clay is to the potter and stone is to the sculptor, river cane is the vital raw material to the Cherokee basket maker. But it’s in short supply. A Cherokee artisans group has provided a grant to WATR to locate cane stands along the river to provide a local supply […]

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WATR gets $9,500 river cane grant from Cherokee

As clay is to the potter and stone is to the sculptor, river cane is the vital raw material to the Cherokee basket maker. But it’s in short supply. A Cherokee artisans group has provided a grant to WATR to locate cane stands along the river to provide a local supply […]

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State of the Tuckasegee River Workshop

Watershed experts and citizens gathered to share data and their experiences concerning the health of the Tuckasegee River on Wednesday, August 24, at a one-day workshop. WATR held this informal sharing of information as a stepping stone toward  periodic assessment of the Tuckasegee River system at the watershed scale. According to Roger […]

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Why we’re important

    Two articles in the Huffington Post in June report some alarming developments in the state of the oceans and the Gulf of Mexico. In an article on June 20, reporter Travis Donovan summarized the findings of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean. His lead read,” If the […]

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Homeowners win suit over shoddily built roads

Members of the Alarka Creek Properties Homeowners Association have won a $3 million lawsuit over roads that deteriorated in the subdivision. The court accepted the property owners’ claims that the roads were shoddily built on too-steep terrain and that the developer ignored appropriate erosion control measures. Link to article

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My favorite place on the river

What is your favorite spot on the Tuckasegee? Mine is Warden’s Falls in Panthertown. My late wife Pam and I use to like to go out on the rocks at the falls and lay in the sun for awhile. I remember a particularly warm day in February a few years […]

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Macon board seeks to finish steep-slope work

Macon County’s commissioners want their planning board, if possible, to finish up work on a steep-slope ordinance. This after what Planning Board Chairman Lewis Penland wearily described as a long few weeks, in which members have drawn the ire and criticism of local anti-planning advocates.

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Swain High Students search for the endangered Appalachian Elktoe Mussel.

Cold water and the threat of rainfall did not stop the Swain High Environmentally Aware Club from searching for the endangered Appalachian elktoe mussel in theTuckasegeeRiver. On Tuesday, May 17, eleven members of the club traveled upstream of Dillsboro to start their search.  Under the guidance of Gary Peeples, outreachcoordinator […]

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Join the WATR Blog

Would you like to be a guest blogger? Submit your ideas to Bill Lee at BillLee@watrnc.org

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A Trip to the Falls with Two Names

Photo from “Occoneechee,” published in 1916 The falls as it looks today      It’s a beautiful April morning, and I’m hiking into an area below Glenville dam to see a waterfall on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee River that not many people take the time to see.      The […]

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WATR receives funding but less than amount sought

WATR recently learned that its proposed project, “Experiential Environmental Education in Dillsboro, Jackson County,” was accepted, and it will be funded by Resourceful Communities, a program of The Conservation Fund headquartered in Chapel Hill.      The good news is that WATR will receive funding, the challenging news is that we asked […]

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