The North Carolina Environmental Management Commission is considering a proposal to designate the Horsepasture River an Outstanding Water Resource. The river, which is already designated as Wild and Scenic, is surrounded by public land, but private inholdings throughout Western North Carolina are rapidly being developed. Uncontrolled development of land close to water sources is responsible for 40% of the known impaired streams statewide. The OWR designation wouldn’t limit building near the Horsepasture, but it would ensure pollution safeguards are met when land is developed.

In order to be considered for OWR designation, officials must determine that the Horsepasture has excellent water quality and that it has outstanding fish habitat and a high level of water-based recreation. Proponents of the designation say the river meets all these requirements.

Find out more at environmentnorthcarolina.org.