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Attorney General Josh Stein Announces More Than $300,000 in Environmental Grants for Western NC

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced $339,527 in grants to protect and improve the environment through the Environmental Enhancement Grant (EEG) program. Across the state, Attorney General Stein will award nearly $3 million in grants to 22 grantees. That includes 10 construction projects; five planning, research and education projects; three land acquisition projects; and four small grants.

Awards include:

Buncombe County

The North Carolina Arboretum Society will receive $26,617 for the Willow Pond project. The funds will be used to construct an education interactive kiosk for Willow Pond wetland complex.

“Educating people about our environment can reap benefits for generations of North Carolinians,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I hope this project will foster interest in nature for North Carolinians of all ages.”

“The North Carolina Arboretum’s Willow Pond project will restore a wetland to provide habitat to a variety of flora and fauna, including the N.C. species of conservation concern mole salamander; will process an estimated 7.6 million gallons of water annually producing cleaner water for all those downstream; and will serve an estimated 5,000 students, 250 adults and 100,000 visitors annually as an educational resource highlighting stormwater management, biodiversity and native plants,” said Lisa Baker, North Carolina Arboretum Donor Relations Manager. “This award from the EEG program will not only support these overall impacts, it will be instrumental in creating an educational kiosk that will highlight frog and toad species in this restored wetland.”

Henderson County

Henderson County Soil and Water Conservation District will receive $90,000 to implement a stream stabilization project in Lewis Creek by using natural stream channel design.

“Water improvement projects have the potential to improve water quality and strengthen communities,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am pleased to fund the Henderson County Soil and Water Conservation District effort to stabilize Lewis Creek at the Edneyville Community Center and Park.”

“The Henderson County Recreation Advisory Board is very appreciative that Henderson County has been awarded $90,000 for the Edneyville Community Center Stream Restoration Project from the Environmental Enhancement Grants (EEG),” said Jeffery Donaldson and Arthur Hunter Marks III, Chair and Vice Chair of the Recreation Advisory Board. “This project will bring balance back to a stream that has been straightened over the years and is now experiencing detrimental erosion due to this unnatural state. We look forward to seeing a transformation that will restore the Lewis Creek at the Edneyville Community Center and Park.”

Madison County

Mountain Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council was awarded $130,397 for the Madison County School stormwater BMP. This project will allow for stormwater improvements at two schools – Brush Creek Elementary School and Madison Middle School – in Madison County including stream stabilization, rain garden, vegetative plantings, stormwater detention, and wetland creation.

“As Attorney General, my job is to protect North Carolinians. That includes the water we drink. This project will improve the quality of water for many years to come,” said Attorney General Josh Stein.

Macon County

Macon Soil and Water Conservation District will receive $92,513 to create a new 900 linear feet channel with vegetative riparian buffer to stabilize Cove Branch and reduce erosion. It will also include an education component.

“Thanks to this project, students will be able to learn about science and protecting the environment first-hand,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “At the same time, they – along with future Macon County residents – will benefit from improved water quality in the area.”

“The Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Macon County School System would like to thank NCDOJ for approving our grant request to fund the Cove Branch Project in Macon County,” said Doug Johnson, District Director. “This grant will be the final piece, which, along with the funding we already have in hand, will allow us to restore a severely eroded and incised portion of Cove Branch. Along with the obvious water quality benefits the project will bring, it will also afford a unique educational opportunity due to the stream’s location, which places it within walking distance of two local schools, Macon Middle School and Mountain View Intermediate School. Thank you again to the NC Attorney General’s Office for agreeing to fund this worthwhile project.”

Statewide Projects

Waterkeepers North Carolina will receive $188,000 to research microplastic pollution in 30 streams and rivers, identify types of microplastics, and estimate loading rates from stormwater.

“It is critically important that we do everything we can to address pollution in our invaluable water sources,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I appreciate the work Waterkeepers North Carolina does to do just that, and I am pleased to provide them with this additional funding.”

UNC Charlotte will receive $101,792 to research whether biosolid land application contributes to PFAS occurrence in surface water, groundwater, and soil statewide.

“I am extremely concerned about the presence of forever chemicals like PFAS in our drinking water,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am suing DuPont over its role in polluting our water with PFAS. I am pleased to be supporting this work that will help inform our state’s efforts to clean up the mess these dangerous chemicals have created.”

“PFAS contamination has caused widespread health concerns among our residents in NC,” said Mei Sun, Assistant Professor and Lead Researcher at UNC Charlotte. “This project is to provide information to policymakers, water engineers, and community stakeholders to better understand if biosolids land application will contribute PFAS to our precious water resources, improve PFAS exposure assessment, and guide sustainable applications of biosolids in affected areas.”

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