Small urban streams running through neighborhoods or on public grounds are often degraded, undervalued and underutilized. Urban streams are also often considered a low priority by state and federal agencies.
Biological monitoring, or identifying and counting aquatic macroinevertebrates in a section of the stream, is one way to check stream health, and it’s the technique used by the Stream Monitoring Information Exchange, a long-term volunteer water quality monitoring effort in Western North Carolina currently coordinated by the Environmental Quality Institute.
Clean Water for North Carolina is partnering with Green Opportunities, a nonprofit focusing on green-collar job training and placement, and other groups in the Asheville area to train young adults in urban neighborhoods to:
- Use the biological monitoring method,
- Identify environmental injustices in their neighborhoods,
- Take action to prevent pollution, and
- reach out to their communities to get involved!
Watch our Video, “Take Action on Pollution”:
Meet our 2014 Urban Streams Program Coordinator
Dewana Little will lead our 2014 Urban Community Streams project in collaboration with Green Opportunities, Asheville Greenworks, and other local nonprofits. She brings a passion for learning, teaching, and working with youth. Dewana is finishing the Built Environment training with Green Opportunities this spring. She founded and directs a small nonprofit, Positive Changes Youth Ministries, which offers free child care to low-income and no-income families. She will conduct ongoing monitoring of urban waters, pursue creative partnerships to create jobs and improve stormwater flow in Asheville, and help CWFNC and Green Opportunities teach younger audiences about water quality and taking pride in urban streams.
Dewana says, “I love to learn and to teach. I feel that education and knowledge of self are important to success in life. Community awareness is a topic that I would like to promote to the youth and the low income neighborhoods because these areas are the main targets for social, economical, and environmental injustices. I am excited to be working for a group that’s focused on educating and supporting the fight for environmental justice for at-risk communities throughout NC.”
Photos from the past two years of the Urban Community Streams program: