Pigeon River Fund Exceeds $6 Million in Water Quality Grants

The latest round of grants from the Pigeon River Fund awarded $309,635 to environmental groups working in Western North Carolina bringing total grants to $6,188,147 since 1996. These grants improve surface water quality, enhance fish and wildlife management habitats, expand public use and access to waterways and increase awareness to help protect resources in Buncombe, Haywood and Madison counties.

The following eleven projects were recommended by the PRF Advisory Board at its November meeting:

Asheville GreenWorks - $27,000 to continue the Youth Environmental Leadership Program that engages youth from low-income communities in water-quality testing, riparian zone restoration, educational programs and environmental clean-ups, including the Trash-Boom project and a live-stake nursery along Hominy Creek in cooperation with the Franklin School of Innovation.

Environmental Quality Institute - $17,800 to support the Volunteer Water Information Network and biomonitoring projects that engage volunteers in monitoring water quality and provide data to assist partner organizations working on water quality in Buncombe, Madison and Haywood counties.

Volunteers assisted in live-staking efforts along eroding riverbanks on the Ivy River and Hominy and Cane Creeks to help stabilize riparian soils and reduce sedimentation in the French Broad River Basin. Photo courtesy of MountainTrue.

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.
  • $39,600 toward the costs of repairing failing septic systems for low-income homeowners that are identified by the Haywood County Environmental Health Department.

Madison County - $25,000 to install stormwater best management practices on three school campuses through projects involving students onsite and in the classroom and culminating in a community celebration.

Maggie Valley Sanitary District -$25,000 toward transactional costs associated with the purchase and conveyance of the 558-acre Wilder Tract that protects the Jonathan Creek watershed.

MountainTrue - $7,700 toward the purchase of live-stakes, a raft and equipment needed for stream bank planting along the Hominy and Cane creeks.

Mountain Valley Resource Conversation and Development Council - $45,000 to support water monitoring in the Ivy River watershed, septic repair, youth education programs and electronics amnesty program in partnership with the landfill.

ReCreation Experiences Missions and Ministries - $25,000 toward material costs for septic system repairs for low-income homeowners in Madison County.

Southwestern NC Resource Conservation and Development Council:

  • $24,815 toward the 2017 Envirothon and Youth Environmental Stewardship Camp programs that engage middle and high school youth from Haywood, Madison and Buncombe counties in hands-on learning about water quality issues.
  • $12,720 toward the development of the Beaverdam Creek Watershed Action Plan.
The next application deadline for qualifying nonprofits in Buncombe, Haywood and Madison counties is March 15, 2017.

The Pigeon River Fund was established through an agreement between Duke Energy and the State of North Carolina.