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BLACK MOUNTAIN — Town Council backed an effort to restore a portion of Swannanoa River at its Dec. 9 meeting.

The resolution of support allows the town to seek up to $77,000 from the Department of Water Quality. This would be added to funds acquired in the last fiscal year from the Pigeon River Grant and a more recent award of $50,000 from Duke Energy. If Black Mountain receives the funding from the state, the Swannanoa River Restoration Project will be fully funded. 

Related: Warren Wilson College restores streams to natural courses

The Swannanoa River is listed on the impaired waters list from the source to North Fork Swannanoa River. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality defines impaired waters as those whose samples exceed particular parameters and do not meet water quality standards.

The Clean Water Act requires reports on water quality every two years. In 2018, the Swannanoa River was listed as a Category 5, meaning the water quality exceeded criteria to be considered impaired and there were no long-term restoration projects in place.  

Black Mountain Town Manager Josh Harrold said the goal of Swannanoa River Restoration Project is to get the portion of the river that runs through Black Mountain off the impaired waters list. 

The project will focus on the part of the river behind Veterans Park, he said. While the town has tried to make small improvements to the area in the past, the fully funded project would allow the town to make larger, long-lasting changes. 

“It is in pretty rough shape,” Harrold said. “It is starting to erode away part of our disc golf course at Veterans Park. This restoration will address that issue and kind of bring the stream back to more of an original stream channel.”

In addition to protecting recreational areas, the restoration project will work to control sediment pollution downstream and restore approximately 2,000 feet of stream to a functioning state.

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