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A mussel with fringe around its opening partially burried in the sand on the river bottom.
Information icon Appalachian elktoe in the Little River Translyvania County NC. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

Stream stewards

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Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature.

The importance of streams, in general, and especially here in the mountains, can’t be understated. For many they’re the source of drinking water, and here in the mountains they’re a key part of our outdoor recreation culture, which in turn fuels an outdoor recreation economy. In western North Carolina, our streams are home to three endangered species – the Appalachian elktoe mussel, the littlewing pearlymussel, and the spotfin chub – a tiny fish found in the Little Tennessee River.

In the Southern Appalachians, rivers are common resources – they belong to all of us equally. This means responsibility for their well-being is shared by all. To help empower people to be good river stewards, the Henderson County Cooperative Extension office is offering a Master Stream Stewards program.

Modeled on the popular Master Gardener program, Master Stream Stewards is a series of seven, three-hour classes, meeting from 6:00 to 9:00 Wednesday nights from February 1 through March 14. Students will progress from an introduction to watersheds and what makes a healthy stream through classes on erosion, stormwater runoff, pond management, illicit discharges, water quality monitoring, and laws and programs protecting streams.

The course provides a solid background on stream health issues to landowners who want to be good stewards and community members who want to do a little something extra to help their streams.

The course cost $30.00, and will be held at the Henderson County Extension Center. To register, contact Diane Silver at (828) 697-4891.

For WNCW and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this is Gary Peeples.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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