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PNS Daily Newscast - November 24, 2017 


On today’s rundown, all eyes on the G.O.P. tax plan - labor groups say it’s not good for working families, and the view from Michigan is the likely loss of many services across the state; plus, report today on Black Friday and Native American Heritage Day

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Land Conservancies Protect Drinking Water at Its Source

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy helped protect the Weaverville watershed that provides drinking water and a home to thousands of wildlife. (SAHC)
The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy helped protect the Weaverville watershed that provides drinking water and a home to thousands of wildlife. (SAHC)
August 14, 2017

WEAVERVILLE, N.C. -- North Carolina's abundant water sources provide drinking water to thousands of people, but protecting the quality of that water starts on the land.

That fact has guided a public/private partnership in one part of the state. The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy recently worked with Weaverville to protect 310 acres around the town's watershed. Michelle Pugliese, land protection director with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, explained how the benefits reach beyond the town.

"When we protect water right where it comes out of the ground at its source, we're doing the best work towards protecting water quality downstream,” Pugliese said. “So it's not just benefiting the town of Weaverville, but all of the communities that depend on water quality in French Broad River."

Pugliese said the conservancy was able to get funds through the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund. The water from the project ultimately flows into Reems Creek, which feeds the French Broad River.

The New River Conservancy also works to establish conservation easements along its waterway. President George Santucci said while conservancies like his accomplish a lot to protect water sources, public officials have the power to do more.

"The state, through the DWR and local governments, county governments, city governments, have the power to institute mandatory protections on buffers,” Santucci explained.

He added that the state does require a 25-foot buffer on all designated trout waters, but they allow for grass vegetation, rather than more effective shrubbery.

Pugliese said the Weaverville project is an example of how towns and conservancies can create a win/win for all involved.

"We're both getting to meet our individual goals because, by protecting that watershed property with a conservation easement we're making sure that that high quality water is going to be protected forever,” she said. "It's also helping the town of Weaverville to generate some income off of land that they own."

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC