CLYDE – Haywood Waterways received a $3,600 grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation to plant river cane at River’s Edge Park in Clyde. The purpose is to promote the availability of natural resources to Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) tribal artisans for traditional arts and crafts, and to improve the Pigeon River’s water quality.
Rivers Edge Park has undergone a series of facelifts in recent years. The park was established after the floods of 2004 to reduce flood impacts downstream. A secondary purpose is its use as a community park. The Town of Clyde recognizes the value of clean water and has worked with Haywood Waterways and the Haywood Soil & Water Conservation District to plant hundreds of trees and return the area to a forested floodplain.
River cane grows near water and provides many benefits for water quality. It holds soil in place to stop erosion, slows floodwaters, reduces stormwater runoff and filters pollutants, provides shade to keep the river cool, and adds habitat for aquatic organisms.
River cane is a native bamboo that does not grow as high as the nonnative bamboo seen everywhere. River cane has greatly decreased over the years, and the loss not only affects local rivers but also the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and their culture. When rivercane was abundant the Cherokee used it for most anything, such as furniture, walls for houses, fishing traps, and spears. The most important craft that rivercane is still used for today and helps with their overall economy is basket weaving.
This project is sponsored by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and the Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources (RTCAR). RTCAR funds projects that benefit tribal artisans and teaches, protects, and promotes Cherokee traditional art, resources, and land care for present and future generations (www.rtcar.org).
“When the plants establish themselves, this project may reduce erosion and allow harvesting by EBCI artisans in the future, but most importantly, it brings rivercane back to an area where it historically thrived.” said Adam Griffith, RTCAR director for EBCI Cooperative Extension Services.
Caitlin Worsham, project manager for Haywood Waterways, said, “Thanks to the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, RTCAR, and the Town of Clyde for making this project possible. It not only brings together diverse partnerships but also helps the Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haywood County, and water quality.”
Haywood Waterways Association is a member-based nonprofit organization working to protect and improve surface water quality in Haywood County (www.haywoodwaterways.org).
– Haywood Waterways Association release