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Duke Energy awards $1.1 million in Water Resources Fund grants

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Fourteen organizations in 27 counties in South Carolina and North Carolina will receive more than $1.1 million in new grants from Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund to support environmental and wildlife programs.

According to a news release, the investment is part of a $10 million multiyear commitment from Duke Energy to help local organizations continue to protect and improve the environment, including waterways used year-round across the Carolinas and neighboring states. Duke Energy has awarded more than $6 million in grants to 73 projects in the Carolinas and Virginia since establishing the fund in 2015. Recipients are selected by an independent body that includes five environmental experts and two Duke Energy employees.

“These projects benefit our waterways and contribute to the economic vitality of our local communities,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president, in the release. “Maintaining the vitality of our communities is one of our most important responsibilities at Duke Energy.”

Organizations in South Carolina receiving the grants are:

  • Pickens County – $100,000 to support improvements to the Twelve Mile Recreation Area, located in a formerly distressed area of Pickens County, which will allow citizens access to fishing, hiking, picnic areas, whitewater and flatwater paddling while stimulating the economy and potentially creating new jobs;
  • Palmetto Conservation Foundation – $100,000 to protect the natural environment by using best management practices and materials to construct the Dug Mountain Passage of the Palmetto Trail, which will provide public access to the lower Eastatoe Creek watershed in Jocassee Gorges;
  • Spartanburg Area Conservancy – $75,000 to extend the Cottonwood South Trail approximately 2.5 miles along Lawson’s Fork Creek, one of the main watersheds in Spartanburg. The project will connect to the existing Glendale Shoals Preserve, established by the conservancy in 1994;
  • The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area expansion – $100,000 toward the purchase of an iconic property in the South Carolina mountains. Once acquired, the conservancy will transfer it to South Carolina State Parks;
  • YMCA of Greenville Caine Halter Family YMCA Outdoor Classroom and Riparian Corridor restoration – $80,075 to make updates to the Reedy River riverside, including creating an outdoor classroom and installing science stations that will become an environmental education resource for the YMCA’s programs as well as other community partners.

Grant recipients in North Carolina include the Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council; the cities of Asheville, Eden and Jacksonville; Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina; Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development; Rockingham County Historical Society Museum and Archives; Trout Unlimited Inc., and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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