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TNRC Meeting Minutes September 14, 2018

Meeting minutes for Transylvania Natural Resource Council

Regular Meeting

 September 14, 2018

 Welcome

 The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m. by Lee McMinn; the business meeting was called to order at 10:16 a.m. by Lee McMinn.

Roll Call:

Addison Bradley                   Bart Renner            Jeff Parker

Woody Noland                      Lee McMinn       Dan Hodges

Jennifer Kafsky                      Kent Wilcox       R.K. Young

Mark Tooley                          Davis Whitfield-Cargyle

In addition, eleven members of the public were present.

Speaker Series:

 Program consisted of a presentation by Wes Knapp, N.C. Natural Heritage Program, regarding our significant natural areas. R.K. Young also presented a video: “Apfelbaum takes us from the restoration of former military sites to a residential neighborhood crafted to retain plant species diversity and to remediate stormwater within the context of development.”

Approval of minutes from April 2018:

 R.K. Young made a motion to approve, seconded by Dan Hodges. Minutes were approved unanimously.

 Future Presentations:

 Program for October: Subcommittee on Landslide Planning: Rick Wooten, N.C.D.E.Q., will present on landslide planning.

Program for November: Cooperative Extension and the Environment, Bart Renner.

Program for December: Maria Wise, Watershed Coordinator, Mills River Partnership.

Program for January: Water and sewer upgrade update, Jim Fatland.

Program for February: Climatestoriesnc.org is a website describing climate change in N.C. Possibly a showing and discussion following held in the Rogow room. Members to consider this option.

Program for March: College Day, Jennifer Kafsky.

Program for April: Kids in the forest, presented by various groups.

Program for May: Field trip to D.S.R.F. to revisit Chestnut restoration project.

New Business:

 Welcome Shannon Lally, AmeriCorps Volunteer.

Resolution of Appreciation: Resolution of appreciation to Senator Edwards and Representative Henson for their support regarding landslide planning. Senator McGrady has $3.2 million set aside for landslide mapping, both Senator Edwards and Representative Henson stated their support of Transylvania County being reinstated to obtain funding for landslide planning and mapping. Davis Whitfield-Cargyle made a motion to approve the resolution, R.K. Young seconded. Bart Renner commented to add “Transylvania County Agricultural Advisory Board hereby express their gratitude,” as well as T.N.R.C. The motion passed unanimously.

Election of Chair:  Dan Hodges moved to re-establish Lee McMinn as chair, Woody Nolan seconded.

Temporary Chair for October 12, 2018:  Davis Whitfield-Cargyle will serve.

Old Business:

Archiving County Records/G.I.S. Overlay:  Kent Wilcox met with Mark Burrows to discuss creating a variety of overlays. Kent Wilcox will research further and report next month.

 Updates from public land managers and subcommittees:

 Michael Cheek is fighting fires in the west.

Landslide Planning Committee: There is money in the DEQ budget for landslide planning/mapping. Unknown is when these funds will become available or what the application process might be.

Hemlock Cost-Share Program: AmeriCorps volunteer will assist with the program. There will be a workshop on October 27, 2018, for homeowners wishing to treat trees themselves, this will be held at the Allison Deaver House from 9 A.M. to 2 P.M. Further information can be found on the Extension website, as well as the H.R.I. website.

MountainTrue to host an informative happy hour at D.D. Bullwinkles on September 26, 2018, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Davis Whitfield-Cargyle made a motion to adjourn, Dan Hodges seconded, approved unanimously.

Meeting was adjourned at 11 A.M.

How to check if your home is in a landslide zone
(Asheville Citizen-Times Sep. 15, 2018)

ASHEVILLE — Hurricane Florence began lashing the Carolina coastline Friday morning.

Andrew Kimball, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Greer, South Carolina, said the remnants of Hurricane Florence will bring heavy rainfall to Western North Carolina as early as Saturday.

With up to a foot of rain predicted in localized areas, particularly upslope, the threat of mudslides will be elevated in the coming days.

Do you know if your home is in the danger zone?

Rick Wooten, senior geologist for North Carolina’s Geohazards and Engineering Geology division at the Asheville regional office, has mapped landslide hazards in the region since the remnants of hurricanes Frances and Ivan swept through in 2004.

“We try to get the information out there in the form of maps so people can understand and be informed of potential landslide hazards where they live or are considering buying property,” he explained.

Landslides tend to recur in the same general areas, so Wooten said his team use data from past landslides and even prehistoric landslide deposits to anticipate and model where the earth could give way again, and which direction the debris flow could take.

“Past landslides are good indicators, and help us validate and calibrate our models.”

The good news for local landowners is the data is more easily accessible than you might think.

In Buncombe County, it’s embedded within the Geographic Information Systems database, which contains data including parcel details, surface water, and aerial imagery.

To see if your Buncombe County property lies within a landslide zone, go to gis.buncombecounty.org/buncomap for full GIS access.

In the upper righthand corner, you’ll find a button marked “Map Layers.” Click that and then, in the drop-down menu that appears, check the boxes next to “Debris Flow Pathways” and “Stability Index Map.” You’ll find them almost at the bottom, under the “Environmental” group.

The data may take a while to load, but you can scroll the map for certain areas, or enter a particular address in the search field in the upper lefthand corner of the screen.

The “Map Layers” button also offers a legend to help interpret the data you’ve revealed.

Wooten said the best approach to avoid getting caught in a landslide is, of course, to know if you reside in a zone with a history of landslides.

And it’s best to know that far in advance of a storm.

Other indicators of instability include cracks in pavement, Wooten said. “Sometimes a road that goes through a neighborhood can have cracks for years without a problem, and then the right storm comes along and the road can be gone.”

Creeks and other drainage areas along mountainsides often act as avenues for debris flow in a landslide.

Wooten also said that, with above-normal rainfall for the year and the approaching storm, conditions are “favorable” for landslides to occur.

If more than 5 inches of rain falls within 24 hours, conditions would be ripe for scattered landslides. Chances lessen without intense downpours. Ten inches of rain within 24 hours would likely cause more widespread landslides, he said.

Stay aware of weather conditions for your area, he warned.

“Also be aware of your surroundings. If there are signs of unstable areas, particularly above where you live, if we get heavy rainfall, you might consider finding another place to stay.”

The National Hurricane Center website is the prime place go to get information about hurricanes and rainfall, he said.

The Asheville regional office of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality may be able to answer questions about landslides at 828-296-4500.

Further, Buncombe County is encouraging people to Text BCAlert to 888777 to sign up for emergency alerts for our community.

In the event of a weather-related emergency or other hazard or emergency, Buncombe County will use the alert system to issue instructions and warnings.

The city of Asheville is also encouraging residents to sign up for AVL Alert, the city’s emergency notification system, which allows people to sign up for alerts for up to five locations.