Pigeon River Fund Awards $347,005 in Water Quality Grants

The Pigeon River Fund recently awarded $347,005 to environmental groups working to improve surface water quality, enhance fish and wildlife habitats, expand public use and access to waterways and increase water quality awareness in Buncombe, Haywood and Madison counties. Since 1996, the Pigeon River Fund has distributed $6,688,042 in grants.

The most recent Pigeon River Fund grant recipients are:

Asheville GreenWorks - $30,000 to decrease the amount of litter, pollution and erosive material that flows into waterways and to increase awareness water protection efforts, including the Youth Environmental Leadership Program.

Environmental Quality Institute - $18,000 to support the Volunteer Water Information Network and Stream Monitoring Information Exchange biomonitoring projects that engage volunteers in monitoring water quality and provide data that assists partner organizations working on water quality in Buncombe, Madison and Haywood counties.

Haywood Waterways Association:

· $60,000 to continue coordinated community efforts to address water quality issues, implement the Haywood Watershed Action Plan and increase public appreciation of water resources through educational programs and publications.

· $41,600 toward the costs of repairing failing septic systems for low-income homeowners identified by the Haywood County Environmental Health Department.

Madison County Soil & Water Conservation District - $15,000 to install underground cisterns to reduce storm water runoff, encourage runoff infiltration and conserve water to be re-used on the Madison County Public Library site.

Maggie Valley Sanitary District - $60,000 toward the acquisition of 159 acres in two parcels, known as the Carver and Worrell tracts, in the Campbell Creek watershed to protect a Maggie Valley drinking water source. Each $30,000 award is contingent upon securing other funds.

Mountain Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council (MVRC&D) - $44,750 to support programs, including water monitoring in the Ivy River watershed, septic repair and youth education. MVRC&D will also provide an electronics amnesty day in partnership with the landfill.

Southwestern NC Resource Conservation and Development Council - $27,655 toward the 2018 Envirothon and Youth Environmental Stewardship Camp that engages middle and high school youth from Haywood, Madison and Buncombe counties in hands-on learning about water quality issues.

The Conservation Fund - $30,000, contingent on securing other funds, to support the acquisition of a corridor between Sheepback Mountain and Indian Creek in Haywood County.

The Richard L. Hoffman Foundation - $20,000, contingent on securing other funds, toward the acquisition of an 87-acre tract on the eastern slopes of Bailey Mountain in Mars Hill. The Smith Property will serve as a public riparian greenway linking existing conservation areas with municipal and university parks utilizing urban, peri-urban and rural stream corridors.

The Pigeon River Fund was established through an agreement between Carolina Power & Light (now Duke Energy) and the State of North Carolina. The grant program is administered by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.