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Wednesday, 05 July 2017 15:44

Water quality projects receive Pigeon River Fund grants

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Environmental groups working to improve water quality, aquatic habitat and recreational access recently saw $182,000 in grants from the Pigeon River Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, with most of that money going to Haywood County organizations.

Land acquisition:

Maggie Valley Sanitary District, $30,000. Along with other funds, the grant will help purchase the 88-acre Bradley property in an area crucial to protecting drinking water from Johnson Branch.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, $30,000. Along with other funds, the grant will help acquire the 273-acre Boyd Parcel near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for addition to the Silvers Game Lands, managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

The Conservation Fund, $30,000. Along with other funds, the grant will help buy the 93-acre Urban Property on the north side of Maggie Valley, which helps protect the watershed that provides the valley’s drinking water.

Canton greenway:

Haywood Waterways Association, $10,500. HWA will install river access steps and riparian vegetation near BearWaters Brewing in Canton as part of a greenway extension.

Town of Canton, $30,000. In partnership with HWA, the town will establish a river run between the Canton Recreation Park and BearWaters. The grant will cover engineering and design costs for an ADA-accessible boat launch to the Pigeon River.


Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, $16,000. The funds will go toward development of a comprehensive plan for management of the recent 5,329-acre addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Waterrock Knob.

Haywood County Schools, $2,000. A new water collection system in the Pisgah High School Pulp and Paper Technology Lab will reduce the wastewater that must be treated by Evergreen Packaging and increase student awareness of water conservation and recycling in the paper industry.

Haywood Waterways Association, $14,000. The Shelton Branch Stream Relocation Project at Vance Street Park in Waynesville will include stream relocation, bank stabilization and educational signage.

Since its creation in 1996, the Pigeon River Fund has awarded $6.4 million for water conservation and education in Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties. The money comes from Duke Energy in exchange for the company’s damming the Pigeon River for hydropower. The fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The next application deadline for grant funds is Sept. 15.

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