Learn to Love the River

Discover what makes the French Broad River so special and learn about the many ways it connects our community.


In this issue we’ll take a look at how floods impact our community and aquatic ecosystems. We hope you enjoy and learn something new! Have you ever seen or experienced a flood? If so, share a picture and tag us on Facebook or Instagram.


Flash Floods


Flash flood warnings are a common occurrence here in Western North Carolina. A lot of heavy rain in a short period of time can lead to a fast rise of water levels in streams and rivers. Risk for flash floods increases when building in a floodplain or flood zone and especially in a low lying area in mountainous terrain. Impervious surfaces like roads or parking lots and saturated soil leads to increased runoff and a high risk of flash floods. As little as 6 inches of fast moving water can float vehicles downriver. The Weather Channel put together an incredible video on flash floods using virtual reality to help prepare you for the potential risks.

Learning more about these events is a big step towards preparing you to stay safe! The UCAR Center for Science Education puts together teaching boxes on various topics to provide activities and content to help you teach and learn. Their flash flood teaching box provides three lessons geared towards Middle and High School students as well as other flash flood learning content!


Impact of Floods


Floods can cause lots of negative changes to our community and environment. To learn more about what causes floods and how to prepare for them, check out this SciShow Kids video. When fast flowing flood waters rush over the banks into our community, they can cause chemicals, trash, and other hazardous materials to get into our waterways. Check out this WSPA 7 News video that shows how far water can travel outside of the normal path of the French Broad River during a flood.

Floods also threaten animals that live in or near water and can greatly disrupt the ecosystem where many animals call home. SUNUPTV has an interesting video that shows how flooding can impact wildlife in positive and negative ways.

While floods are often considered a bad thing, they can also have some positive impacts! Floodwaters can carry nutrients and enrich the soil, as well as provide breeding grounds, support migration, and make animal and bird species stronger.


Living in a Floodplain


Preventing or mitigating the impacts of floods is an important part of life when you live near a river and its floodplain. Not having permanent structures in the floodplain is a good idea, that way there isn’t too much damage when a flood does happen. Check out this video from the Nature Conservancy about living near a floodplain. 

Making sure to have a riparian buffer - a vegetated area with lots of trees and other plants - along streams and rivers will ensure that the plants help soak up extra water! Some plants, like North American River Cane, are able to survive and even thrive with flood events.

To help illustrate flood events we made a stream table video that shows what can happen to buildings in a floodplain. Make sure to check it out!


A Little Dose of Inspiration

Madison C., a 5th grade student from Atkinson Elementary, submitted this piece for our Voices of the River Art and Poetry contest this year.

Scenes of the River

Rivers are beautiful streams of water with animals all around

I see fish jumping all around me. There are green fish, red fish, and a lot more

Very cold water flows on top of rocks and then splashes on me

Everyone loves the river from the animals to the people

Rays of sunshine sparkles and shimmers on top of the water

So much fun happens at the river like kids playing for hours and then having a delicious picnic

-Madison C.

Staying connected to the river and each other.

We are thinking of you all in these uncertain times and hope you are staying healthy and safe! Thanks to your generous support we are able to continue our Education, Water Quality and Land Conservation programs, but we couldn't do it without you!