Duke Energy awards $730,000 in Water Resources Fund grants to local organizations

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  • Part of $10 million, multiyear commitment to protect and improve the environment

  • Nine nonprofit organizations in the Carolinas to benefit

  • Already, 38 projects have received more than $3.5 million from the fund

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nine organizations in North Carolina and South Carolina will share $730,000 in new grants from the Water Resources Fund to improve local water quality.

Projects run the gamut, including providing additional public access along the Catawba River, protecting wetlands on the Waccamaw River, and permanently protecting land along rivers in Randolph and Stokes counties.

The Water Resources Fund is a $10 million, multiyear commitment from Duke Energy to help local nonprofits continue to protect and improve the environment, including waterways used year-round across the Carolinas and neighboring states.

"The Water Resources Fund reflects our ongoing commitment to protect water resources that are vital to the health of the region," said Shawn Heath, president of the Duke Energy Foundation. "The projects across the Carolinas will leave a legacy of improved water quality and conservation for decades to come."

The fund was announced in September 2014. Recipients are selected by an independent body that includes five environmental experts and two Duke Energy employees.

Water Resources Fund grant recipients and projects 

North Carolina

  • City of Belmont (N.C.) Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park$100,000 to complete the park along the Catawba River in Gaston County, providing river access and recreational and environmental education opportunities.

"Our town is growing, and public access to the Catawba River is vital for our residents and visitors, said Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin. "This grant will enhance our new Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park by providing access to the Catawba. I'm thrilled to accept the Water Resources Fund grant on behalf of our city council."

  • Catawba County Parks (N.C.) Riverbend Park Lookout Shoals Lake – $100,000 to provide a handicapped-accessible river observation/fishing platform on Lookout Shoals Lake, with interpretive kiosks providing educational information about Oxford Dam, clean energy and good stewardship of our natural/cultural resources.
  • City of Randleman (N.C.) Deep River Greenway$100,000 toward the purchase of purchase 157 acres located on the Deep River in Randolph County to protect it from development, improve water quality and provide a recreational destination for the region.
  • Community Services of Swain (N.C.) Swain Riverfront Expanded Public Recreational Access Project – $90,000 to expand public use and access to waterways in Swain County through new riverfront access and user opportunities, including fishing, canoe, kayak and tubing access.
  • North Carolina Coastal Land Trust (N.C.) Project WOW! Waters of Waccamaw – $70,000 to permanently protect critically important wetlands and almost 2 miles of a forested buffer on the river in Columbus County.
  • Piedmont Land Conservancy (N.C.) Hill Farm in the Dan River Basin – $48,000 to transfer 155 acres of the Hill Farm in Stokes County to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission for permanent protection and management as a public access fishing, hiking and limited hunting preserve.

South Carolina

  • Furman University (S.C.) Swan Lake Restoration Project – $95,000 to restore seepage wetland habitat and improve water quality of Swan Lake in the Reedy River watershed by building floating marsh islands. A pedestrian bridge will also be constructed to allow views of the lake restoration. The project in Greenville County will be the basis for student-faculty ecological research and community education.

"Swan Lake lies at the heart of Furman University's campus," said Dr. Weston Dripps, director of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability and professor of earth and environmental science at Furman University. "This project highlights Furman's ongoing efforts and commitment to promoting environmental stewardship and responsibility. We are honored to be selected for this grant and thank Duke Energy for its support."

  • City of Rock Hill (S.C.) River Park Kayak Launch Improvement Project – $100,000 to expand public use of and access to the Catawba River by constructing an improved canoe/kayak launch at River Park, one of three river access points in York County, S.C.
  • Watershed Ecology Center (S.C.) Adopt-A-Stream program for Spartanburg County$25,000 to improve source water quality in the county through the education and involvement of citizen water quality monitoring volunteers.

About the Duke Energy Foundation
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs vital to the health of its communities. Annually, the foundation funds more than $25 million in charitable grants, with a focus on education, environment, economic and workforce development, and community impact. Duke Energy has long been committed to supporting the communities where its customers and employees live and work, and will continue to build on this legacy. For more information, visit duke-energy.com/foundation.

About Duke Energy
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com

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Media Contact: Anne Sheffield