Duke Energy accepts applications for 2014 Habitat Enhancement Program

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy is again offering grants through the Habitat Enhancement Program (HEP) to qualifying government agencies and nonprofit organizations that want to enhance, create and protect fish and wildlife habitats along the Catawba-Wateree River and its tributaries in North Carolina and South Carolina.

HEP is a cooperative effort by Duke Energy, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

The program is funded annually from a fee charged to individuals and residential marina developers seeking permits to build piers on the Catawba-Wateree lakes. The Foundation for the Carolinas administers the funds.

"This is an important program for the enhancement and creation of fish and wildlife habitat within and adjoining the Catawba River," said Joe Hall, Duke Energy lake services director. "The program has helped support numerous fish and wildlife habitat activities since its beginning more than ten years ago."

Those interested in seeking funds from the HEP this year are encouraged to complete an application found at http://www.duke-energy.com/lakes/hep-how-to-apply.asp and submit it for consideration before July 31, 2014.

Projects eligible for funding include a wide range of categories -- from planting native shoreline vegetation, constructing osprey platforms and wood duck boxes, and installing fish attractors, to purchasing property and conservation easements along the Catawba-Wateree River that permanently preserve rare and unique habitats.

Over $150,000 was awarded in 2013 for projects ranging from construction of waterfowl nesting platforms and boxes to the creation of large underwater reefs for fish habitat. Since 2007, about $1.5 million has been approved in the Carolinas for funding habitat enhancement projects. A panel of scientists, along with several private citizens, will select projects that will receive funding in 2014.

About Duke Energy Carolinas

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: http://www.duke-energy.com/.