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What you can do about pollution in the French Broad River

It’s unacceptable that sections of the French Broad River still don’t meet environmental standards over 45 years after the passage of the Clean Water Act. Too often parts of our river aren’t clean enough for my family or yours to swim and fish in. Last year we witnessed the river closed at times because of oil spills and chemical pollution, and, this summer, our water team has seen moderate amounts of rain trigger dramatic spikes in E. coli levels at some of our area’s most popular river recreation sites.

We need to raise $10,000 by the end of July to reach our goal of collecting more water quality samples more quickly, so you know when it’s safe to swim in the French Broad. Donate to MountainTrue today.


Wilma Dykeman described the French Broad as “too thick to drink and too thin to plow.” Thanks to the Clean Water Act and the actions of many committed North Carolinians, our river is significantly cleaner, and thousands of people enjoy floating down the river on any given weekend. Still, we have yet to meet the goals of the Clean Water Act to make the French Broad River fishable and swimmable at all times.

On the hunt for sources of pollution, French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson pours excess water from a sample collected at a tributary of the French Broad River.

MountainTrue’s water team is tracking down sources of pollution one sample at a time with 30 water quality testing sites along the French Broad. Each sample costs around $8, meaning about $1,000 a week in supplies, and increased sampling means increased processing back at the lab. A single incubator costs $2,000. In order to keep up with samples coming in, we will need to purchase a new one in the next two weeks.

We do this to protect you and your friends and family from pollution sources like farm runoff and sewage leaks. We post the results to and the Asheville Citizen-Times so the public knows when and where it’s safe to swim.

Will you help keep our waterways safe? We need your support so that the French Broad River can be healthy today and for generations to come. Help us reach our $10,000 goal by making a donation today.

As your French Broad Riverkeeper, I will continue to find and eliminate pollution sources, clean up trash, and advocate for better laws and enforcement. But that work is only possible with your support.

Thank you for supporting MountainTrue in our mission to protect the places we share.

Hartwell Carson
French Broad Riverkeeper

P.S. Want to do more to sustain MountainTrue’s work year-round? Consider making a monthly recurring donation. Sign up for the Headwaters Giving Circle today.


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SheVille Team

We are a one-of-a-kind magazine that provides local, regional, national and international information about women’s lives and education, performing and visual arts and writing, the environment, green living and sustainability and regional Western North Carolina business, people and events. “Villages preserve culture: dress, food and dance are a few examples. As villages grow in population and turn into towns, local cafes make way for large American chains. Handmade leather sandals are discarded for a pair of Western sneakers. Due to its small size, a village fosters a tight-knit sense of community. explains the meaning of the African proverb, “It takes a village,” by stating that a sense of community is critical to maintaining a healthy society. Village members hold a wealth of information regarding their heritage: they know about the ancient traditions, methods of production and the resources of the land. When villages become dispersed or exterminated in times of war, this anthropological knowledge disappears. Large cities are not as conducive to growing and producing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Villages, on the other hand, usually have ample amounts of land and other resources necessary for growing conditions.” The Importance of Villages by Catherine Capozzi Our Mission provides readers with information important to women’s lives and well-being. We focus primarily on the areas of education & health, business & finance, the arts & the environment. We are particularly interested in local & regional resources, organizations & events.

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