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The word on everyone’s mind after the first ever Watauga Riverkeeper Festival: Success!
Kids and adults alike came out in droves to celebrate the beautiful mountain rivers of Appalachia at the Valle Crucis Community Park on Saturday. The Watauga Riverkeeper and Appalachian Voices worked together to create a family-friendly event with plenty for kids (and adults) to do.
Between the arts and crafts, hula hooping, make-your-own trail mix, poker run, nature walks, face painting, costume parade, and beautiful weather, people of all ages had a day full of fun in the sun. There was even a watermelon-eating contest, with a messy twist – contestants had to keep their hands behind their backs for the duration of the contest!
Musical entertainment was provided by the Alberta Boys and Melissa Reaves, both of whom had the crowd excited about the mission of the Watauga Riverkeeper and Appalachian Voices.
The festival featured local foods, including homemade slaw and tomatoes straight from the garden of Appalachian Voices’ own Willa Mays.
The festivities concluded with a raffling of items donated from supporters of Appalachian Voices. All proceeds from food, T-shirts, and raffling will go to support the Riverkeeper and Appalachian Voices in protecting the mountains of Appalachia and their rivers.
Special Thanks to Mast General Store, Earth Fare, Foscoe Fishing, River and Earth Adventures, and all the volunteers who helped to make the event possible.
Be sure to check out photos from the Festival!
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 | Posted by Front Porch Blog | No Comments
The Watauga Riverkeeper Festival is THIS SATURDAY! Come out on July 24, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Community Park in Valle Crucis, N.C.! Enjoy a day of outdoor recreation and a celebration of the river with live music, games, food and if the river is running—a float down the wild and wonderful Watauga River. This week’s river critter:
The Crawdad: A Southern Staple
We all know that people down south love their “crawfish boils”, where crayfish (more colloquially called crawfish or crawdads) are seasoned to delicious tastes and eaten en masse.
But crawdads aren’t just an important staple of a southern diet; even more importantly they are a staple of rivers and their ecology. The largest diversity of crawdads in the world is exhibited right here in the southeastern United States, with over 330 species populating the waters.
Relatives of the lobster, crawdads are freshwater crustaceans of the order Decapoda. This means they have ten legs, one pair of which is a set of large, sharp pincers.
When cooking up some Louisiana crawdads, we might not think about what they eat at their parties. Crawdads generally feed off of small aquatic creatures, living and dead, and plants. This diet provides important ecological processes to keep rivers healthy.
One important note: Crawdads are very sensitive to changes in river health. Most crawdads cannot withstand water pollution of any kind, so it is important to keep the waters fresh for our crustacean friends.
Friday, July 16th, 2010 | Posted by Front Porch Blog | No Comments
An unannounced change in the EPA’s web page for Coal Combustion Products Partnership (C2P2) may signal a shift in the agency’s stance on reusing toxic coal ash for “beneficial reuse.”
Since July 2, 2010 the informational page has been blank except for a lone note: “The Coal Combustion Products Partnerships (C2P2) program Web pages have been removed while the program is being re-evaluated.”
Every year, 129 million tons of coal ash waste is produced by coal fire power plants in the United States. This toxic fly-ash is made of fine particulates and heavy metals that pose a growing threat to the environment and public health. Yet, the EPA has allowed coal ash waste to be reused in agriculture, construction materials, consumer products, concrete, and even mine filling. Ash that is not reused is stored in billion-gallon ponds, known as slurry ponds, or dumped in landfills.
In late June the EPA proposed two regulation standards for coal ash waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The more stringent option, Subtitle C, would classify coal combustion waste as a hazardous material; however, beneficial reuse would not be regulated under either EPA regulation option. The EPA is currently accepting public comments on the proposed regulation, which you can submit here or through Appalachian Voices in the near future.
The C2P2 program seems a contradictory step for the EPA. Shouldn’t an environmental agency be regulating hazardous materials, not promoting its use in public works, our food supply, or in potential contamination situations? Recent news from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) cites the EPA allowing coal executives to “edit agency reports and fact sheets to downplay risks of coal ash.”
PEER also uncovered the EPA using coal industry research as basis for promoting the reuse program, and filed a formal complaint this month over EPA publications that claim coal ash reuse is a form of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
“We suggest that EPA use this opportunity to honestly review the entire range of potential public health and environmental effects of injecting millions of tons of unquestionably hazardous materials into the stream of commerce,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.
Downplaying the disastrous consequences of the TVA ash spill is impossible, as is denying coal ash’s threat to public health. Through further regulation and dismissal of the “beneficial” factors in coal ash reuse, coal companies may finally begin to pay the real price for an outdated fuel source.