Pigeon River Fund awards support water quality

Environmental groups across Western North Carolina got a boost from this fall’s Pigeon River Fund Awards through the Community Foundation for Western North Carolina, with grants totaling $347,000 in funding toward water quality projects in Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties.

Recipients include:

Maggie Valley Sanitary District — The organization received $60,000 to help conserve 159 acres in the Campbell Creek watershed. Known as the Carver and Worrell tracts, these properties are key to protecting Maggie’s drinking water. Each $30,000 award is contingent on funding from other sources.

Haywood Waterways Association — The organization landed two grants totaling more than $100,000. A $60,000 grant will fund continued community efforts to address water quality issues, implement the Haywood Watershed Action Plan and increase public appreciation of water sources through educational programs and publications. A $41,600 grant will go toward the cost of repairing failing septic systems for low-income homeowners.

The Conservation Fund — A $30,000 grant will help conserve a corridor of land between Sheepback Mountain and Indian Creek in Haywood County. The purchase is contingent upon securing other funds.

The Southwestern N.C. Resource Conservation and Development Council — A $27,655 grant will support the 2018 Envirothon and Youth Environmental Stewardship Camp, which engages middle and high school youth in Haywood, Madison and Buncombe counties in hands-on learning about water quality issues.

The Environmental Quality Institute — An $18,000 grant will support the Volunteer Water Information Network and Stream Monitoring Information Exchange, which engages volunteers to monitor water quality and provide data that assists partner organizations working on water quality in Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties.

Additional grant recipients were Asheville GreenWorks, Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District, Mountain Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council and the Richard L. Hoffman Foundation.

Since its creation in 1996, the Pigeon River Fund has awarded millions of dollars 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 is March 15, 2018. www.cfwnc.org.

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