Charlotte, N.C. — Fourteen organizations spanning 27 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina will receive more than $1.1 million in new grants from Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund to support environmental and wildlife programs.
The fund is a $10 million multiyear commitment from Duke Energy to help local organizations continue to protect and improve the environment, including waterways used year-round across the Carolinas and neighboring states.
“The projects we’re investing in now through the Water Resources Fund ensure that future generations will enjoy the benefits of our waterways,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “This in one of the many ways we are working to build a better future for our communities.”
“We are so excited to receive a grant from Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund for the RADTIP Riparian Restoration Plan,” said Stephanie Monson Dahl, director of the strategic development office for the city of Asheville. “These funds will help create a community partnership to further our City Council’s 2036 vision, which includes a focus on clean water and quality urban forests.”
“These projects benefit our waterways and contribute to the economic vitality of our local communities,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president. “Maintaining the vitality of our communities is one of our most important responsibilities at Duke Energy.”
“Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund is an incredible resource for organizations like ours,” said Natalie Britt, executive director of Palmetto Conservation Foundation. “We are thrilled to receive funding to conserve an awesome watershed and give the public access via the Palmetto Trail,” she said. PCF is building a new passage of the trail along the lower Eastatoe Creek through the internationally acclaimed Jocassee Gorges Wilderness Area in Pickens County, S.C. The mountains-to-sea Palmetto Trail is one of 16 cross-state hiking trails in the nation.
Duke Energy has awarded more than $6 million in grants to 73 projects in the Carolinas and Virginia since establishing the fund in 2015. Recipients are selected by an independent body that includes five environmental experts and two Duke Energy employees.
Organizations receiving the new grants are:
- Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council (N.C.)
- City of Asheville (N.C.)
- City of Eden (N.C.)
- City of Jacksonville (N.C.)
- Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina (N.C.)
- Pickens County (S.C.)
- Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development (N.C.)
- Palmetto Conservation Foundation (S.C.)
- Rockingham County Historical Society Museum and Archives (N.C.)
- Spartanburg Area Conservancy (S.C.)
- The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina (S.C.)
- Trout Unlimited, Inc. (N.C.)
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte (N.C.)
- YMCA of Greenville (S.C.)
Additional details on the grants follow:
- Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council (N.C.) – $30,000 to improve an impacted subwatershed of the North Toe watershed by stabilizing and restoring a 1,000-foot section of Grassy Creek. The project will also continue development of the Overmountain Victory Trail.
- City of Asheville (N.C.) – $60,000 to improve water quality and engage the community through development of a riparian restoration plan along the east bank greenway and creation of educational interpretive signage.
- City of Eden (N.C.) – $100,000 to provide a walking trail next to an Eden waterway in the western section of the city.
- City of Jacksonville (N.C.) – $100,000 to revitalize Riverwalk Marina while also incorporating public access features by replacing old docks and piers and by constructing a boardwalk, on-the-water fishing, picnic and viewing areas, as well as a kayak and canoe launch for public use.
- Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina (N.C.) – $100,000 to match funds from the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group to underwrite research. The results will be used to develop a watershed conservation strategy to protect water quality and availability in the Catawba-Wateree Basin.
- Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development (N.C.) – $26,000 to improve water quality in the Ivy River Watershed, a water supply source, through partnership development, stakeholder engagement, education and outreach, and on the ground projects.
- Rockingham County Historical Society Museum and Archives (N.C.) – $61,500 to provide canoe/kayak access at High Rock Ford, the highest point of navigation on the Haw River, and add 4 river miles to the historic Haw River Paddle Trail and one-quarter mile to the historic Haw River Land Trail.
- Trout Unlimited, Inc. (N.C.) – $94,919 to complete aquatic organism passage restoration projects on strategic cold water streams for the long-term viability of brook trout and other aquatic species through the removal or replacement of culverts that block fish passage.
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte (N.C.) – $76,521 to establish a long-term Catawba Basin Upland Watershed Observatory that will document the impact of land use and invasive species on Catawba Watershed water quality and quantity in order to develop best conservation practices for uplands.
- Pickens County (S.C.) – $100,000 to support improvements to the Twelve Mile Recreation Area, located in a formerly distressed area of Pickens County, which will allow citizens access to fishing, hiking, picnic areas, whitewater and flatwater paddling while stimulating the economy and potentially creating new jobs.
- Palmetto Conservation Foundation (S.C.) – $100,000 to protect the natural environment by using best management practices and materials to construct the Dug Mountain Passage of the Palmetto Trail, which will provide public access to the lower Eastatoe Creek watershed in Jocassee Gorges.
- Spartanburg Area Conservancy (S.C.) – $75,000 to extend the Cottonwood South Trail approximately 2.5 miles along Lawson’s Fork Creek, one of the main watersheds in Spartanburg, S.C. The project will connect to the existing Glendale Shoals Preserve, established by SPACE in 1994.
- The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina (S.C.) Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area Expansion – $100,000 toward the purchase of an iconic property in the South Carolina mountains. Once acquired, the Conservancy will transfer it to South Carolina State Parks.
- YMCA of Greenville (S.C.) Caine Halter Family YMCA Outdoor Classroom and Riparian Corridor Restoration – $80,075 to make updates to the Reedy River riverside, including creating an outdoor classroom and installing science stations that will become an environmental education resource for the Y’s programs as well as other community partners.