By Kristen Todd, CMLC AmeriCorps Project Conserve Program Coordinator

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Thirty AmeriCorps Project Conserve gather together after Disaster Mitigation Service Day

Last April, 30 AmeriCorps Project Conserve (ACPC) Members teamed up with the Weed Action Coalition of Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG) and several local landowners for a Disaster Mitigation Service Day. The environmental-based AmeriCorps program is a national service program in which members come from across the nation to dedicate themselves to serving western NC for an 11 month service term. ACPC was founded in September of 2004 as an initiative of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) to respond to the growing conservation needs in WNC.

The projects were executed in Bat Cave, NC, an area highly vulnerable to severe thunderstorms, landslides, high winds, erosion, and flooding. According to the 2010 Henderson County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, there are 236 buildings in the Bat Cave Area that are vulnerable to landslides, representing nearly $20 million dollars in value. These hazardous events are not uncommon after heavy rain which often block transportation routes, damage property, and put residents in danger. With guidance from WAC-HNG, members focused on control of two non-native invasive plants, English Ivy and Japanese Knotweed.

To learn more, visit www.wachng.org.