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Attorney General Josh Stein Announces More Than $425,000 in 2021 Environmental Grants for Southeastern NC

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, October 28, 2021

Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced $426,612 in grants to preserve and enhance the environment in southeastern North Carolina through the Environmental Enhancement Grant (EEG) program. Across the state, Attorney General Stein will award nearly $3 million in grants to 27 grantees.

Awards in southeastern North Carolina were awarded to:

University of North Carolina Wilmington

University of North Carolina Wilmington will receive $92,192 to test stormwater ponds for the presence of harmful algae, fecal bacteria, metals, and toxic chemicals and determine the source of these pollutants. The data from this project will help the city of Wilmington repair existing stormwater ponds and better develop these ponds in the future.

“This grant will help us better understand what harmful pollutants are in stormwater ponds in Wilmington, and how they got there,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Having a better understanding will help UNC-Wilmington and the city of Wilmington work together to keep people in the area safe from these contaminants.”

“We at UNC Wilmington are most excited to be receiving this funding from the AG’s Environmental Enhancement Program to study the water safety of wet detention ponds,” said Dr. Michael Mallin, research professor at UNC-W’s Center for Marine Sciences. “These ponds are ubiquitous throughout the urban and suburban landscape and receive polluted stormwater runoff from all kinds of land uses. Unfortunately, they are often easily accessible to the public, children play near them, people fish in them, and urban homeless camps are often located nearby these ponds. We know that toxic algal blooms occur in such ponds and have led to dog fatalities in Wilmington and elsewhere, and we suspect other contaminants also pose human and pet health dangers. Our program will be to sample pond water for algal blooms and toxins, fecal bacteria and other water quality measures, and sample sediments for toxic chemicals, heavy metals and nutrients. Our data will be statistically compared with pond physical characteristics and drainage area factors to see what physical and land-use factors most impact pollutant loads.  We will work with and inform our long-term collaborators in City of Wilmington Stormwater Services, and their public outreach program.”

Winyah Rivers Alliance

The Winyah Rivers Alliance will receive $172,420 to create a water-quality monitoring program in the Lumber River Watershed that will be supported by the local community and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

“I’m pleased that this grant brings together the Winyah Rivers Alliance, UNC Pembroke, and the local communities to monitor water quality in the area,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Their partnership will help the community maintain access to safe water.”

“Winyah Rivers Alliance is incredibly grateful for the funds from the Attorney General’s Office,” said Tina Christensen, executive director of the Winyah Rivers Alliance. “The support allows us to develop a robust water quality monitoring program in the Lumber River watershed, whose waters and communities face threats of harmful pollution from a number of sources. We are excited to work with local citizens and UNC Pembroke to protect the natural and scenic river now and in its future.”

North Carolina Coastal Land Trust

The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust will receive $50,000 for the Hoggard’s Millpond Conservation Project, which will help the trust acquire 348 acres of Hoggard’s Millpond Tract and transfer it to the town of Windsor to create a new public park.

“Public parks make our communities stronger and happier,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m pleased to distribute these funds to help the town of Windsor create a new public park that the community can enjoy for decades to come.”

“Coastal Land Trust is ever appreciative of this recently approved EEG grant for our Hoggard’s Millpond Conservation Project which represents a unique community conservation partnership to protect a site with significant wildlife, historic, water quality, and recreational resources,” said Janice Allen, director of land protection. “Our primary partner, the Town of Windsor, is one step closer to having a new nature/historic park for its residents, and visitors, to enjoy.”

The Coastal Land Trust will also receive $50,000 for the Cape Fear River Conservation Partnership to acquire a 272-acre parcel along Cape Fear River. The land will be transferred to the state of North Carolina to be managed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission as either game lands or a state conservation area.

“Conserving this area along the Cape Fear River will allow generations of North Carolinians to enjoy it in the future,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m glad that this grant will help us preserve North Carolina’s environment.”

“The recently approved EEG grant for the Coastal Land Trust’s Cape Fear River Conservation Partnership will greatly assist us with our efforts to acquire an additional 272-acres of land along this iconic river,” said Allen. “The Cape Fear River property is a special place on our coast with old growth cypress-tupelo swamp forest important to rare fish and wildlife including the federally threatened Wood Stork and state significantly rare Swallow-tailed Kite.”

Town of Pembroke

The Town of Pembroke will receive $62,000 to create a stormwater utility program with community input meetings, a management plan, an operations and maintenance plan, and stormwater ordinances.

“This grant will help the town of Pembroke plan and develop a stormwater utility program,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This program will help maintain water quality and reduce flooding and runoff concerns in the area.”

“The Town of Pembroke is extremely grateful to receive stormwater management funding assistance from Attorney General Stein,” said Pembroke Town Manager Tyler Thomas. “The funds awarded will ultimately prevent or greatly reduce the impact of future storm events on critical state supported assets and properties vital to the economic health and well-being of citizens in the Town of Pembroke. Fully implemented, grant aid will protect a significant portion of property within the Town of Pembroke valued at over 60 million dollars and protect 250 acres of State property and infrastructure valued at over $637 million.”

About the Environmental Enhancement Grant Program

The Environmental Enhancement Grant program began after an agreement between the Attorney General’s Office and Smithfield Foods in 2000. Under that agreement, Smithfield provides $2 million to the state every year to be distributed among environmental projects across North Carolina. Including the 2021 grants, the Attorney General Office’s has awarded nearly $37 million to more than 190 projects in the state.

In 2021, Attorney General Stein has announced the following EEG grant in addition to the above: