A local group wants to put a value on a precious natural resource in the mountains.
The French Broad River Partnership has commissioned a study to measure the economic impact of the waterway.
It will also assess the value of the waterway's biological diversity and other "non-market" goods, such as wildlife populations.
The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, a local nonprofit focused on creating and managing funds and grants for WNC, said having the data could help boost the eight-county watershed.
"An added bonus is if we could attract new businesses, if we could have some information to advocate for environmental resiliency," Tara Sholtz with Community Foundation of WNC said.
The 56 thousand dollars in grant funding for the study came from Community Foundation of WNC, Econbology Wildlife Foundation, and Duke Energy.
The work is expected to wrap up next fall.