© Jeff Rich. River Clean-up on the Swannanoa River, Asheville, North Carolina

Earlier this week Photolucida announced that Jeff Rich was selected as the 2010 Critical Mass Book Award winner for his survey of the French Broad River Basin watershed in North Carolina and Tennessee. Rich’s project includes landscapes, documentary images of cleanup workers and people using the French Broad for recreation, and portraits of people who live near the river.

“In the 1950s The French Broad River was one of the most polluted in the country,” Rich writes in his artist’s statement. But, he notes, the French Broad Watershed was cleaned up after the 1972 Clean Water Act was passed. However, “Due to weak enforcement of the Clean Water Act’s mandates and consistent non-point source pollution, the French Broad River is now becoming less healthy for the first time since the passage of the Clean Water Act, which threatens the reversal of such enormous progress.”

Rich’s work was recognized by a panel of 215 photography industry professionals. 549 photographers entered the Critical Mass competition this year.

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