Archived Outdoors

Pigeon River Fund fuels WNC water quality work

Volunteers pose with the litter-catching Trash Trout. Asheville GreenWorks photo Volunteers pose with the litter-catching Trash Trout. Asheville GreenWorks photo

The most recent round of Pigeon River Fund Grant Awards distributed through the Community Foundation for Western North Carolina will provide $236,250 for water quality projects in Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties. 

Awarded projects include:

  • $30,000 to help Haywood Waterways Association plan, engineer, design, permit and provide education for the Hominy Creek stream Improvement Project. 
  • $30,000 to help the Maggie Valley Sanitary District acquire and protect the 24.5-acre McGaha property in Haywood County.
  • $30,000 to help The Conservation Fund protect the 25.1-acre Finger property in Haywood County.
  • $25,670 to help MountainTrue improve its E. coli monitoring work by establishing a real-time testing location and conducting follow-up to identify possible sewer leaks documented from two infrared imaging flights.
  • $24,000 to help the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy survey a 109-acre conservation easement on the Crabtree Bald Geers property in Haywood County.
  • $12,080 for MountainTrue to continue the Swim Guide, a weekly water quality monitoring program focused on sampling for E. coli bacteria at popular river accesses.
  • $6,500 to help Haywood Waterways Association repair two failing septic systems in the Pigeon River Watershed near Canton. 
  • $30,000 to help RiverLink complete an engineered design for the Southside Community Stormwater Project, which aims to solve flooding issues and improve surface water quality in Town Branch, also referred to as “Nasty Branch.”  
  • $28,000 to help Asheville GreenWorks make the Trash Trout more durable and install more such litter-capturing devices in Buncombe County. Funds will also recruit, train, manage and outfit volunteers for the new StreamKeepers Program. 
  • $10,000 to support Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation District Envirothon and Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES!) Camp programs. 
  • $10,000 to help Laurel Community Center Organization turn a creekside classroom into an aquatic-themed natural sciences/STEM classroom in Madison County. 

Since 1996, the Pigeon River Fund has distributed more than $8.2 million in grants.  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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