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Attorney General Josh Stein Announces More Than $950,000 in Environmental Grants for the Triangle Region

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced $957,197 in grants to protect and improve the environment in the Triangle area 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:

Chatham County

NC State University will receive $24,151 to research low-cost windbreak with vegetative strip to improve air quality for people who live near livestock farms.

“In an agriculture state like North Carolina, we must find ways for people and livestock to peacefully coexist,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am pleased to fund this research into ways to improve the air quality for people who live near livestock farms.”

Durham County

The Ellerbe Creek Watershed will receive $144,325 to implement a stream stabilization project on Strayhorn Branch. It also will reconnect the area to the floodplain, establish a wetland habitat, and reduce sediment in Ellerbe Creek in the Falls Lake Watershed.

“As North Carolina’s Attorney General, I take seriously my role in protecting our state’s natural resources – including the water we drink,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am pleased to provide this funding to the Ellerbe Creed Watershed to improve and stabilize water resources in the Falls Lake Watershed, which provides drinking water for Raleigh.”

Sampson and Cumberland Counties

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will receive $250,000 to educate commercial agricultural producers about and implement conservation farming techniques, including field buffers, native plantings, prescribed burn, and restoration of longleaf pine savannas.

“The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will use these funds to do important work with commercial farmers,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “As a result, habitats will be preserved and conservation efforts in our state will be strengthened.”

“The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is honored to have received a 2020 Environmental Enhancement Grant to support the Corporate CURE (Cooperative Upland habitat Restoration and Enhancement) Program,” said Benjy Strope, CURE/SEFA Management Biologist. “Funding will allow us to maintain and develop early successional habitat on lands owned by commercial agricultural producers. This management benefits water quality and numerous game and non-game species, particularly those of greatest conservation need.”

Sampson and Cumberland Counties

NC State University will receive $242,021 to identify and study PFAS in swine sludge to determine the chemicals’ risk to fields in the Cape Fear Watershed.

“I am extremely concerned about the impacts of forever chemicals like PFAS in our environment,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am pleased to award these funds to further research into all of the impacts PFAS are having on our environment. Until we know all the consequences of these chemicals, we will be unable to fully clean up the mess.”

Wake County

The Dorothea Dix Conservancy will receive $100,000 to prepare to restore 5,400 linear feet of Rocky Branch, an impaired waterway. This project will fund a review of the park master plan, a review of the plans for adjacent properties, a stream assessment, and soil and waste assessment of an adjacent pre-regulation closed landfill.

“A park like Dix Park can have a transformative impact on a city,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “It provides not just a place for fun and fellowship, but can also be an economic boon to North Carolina. I am pleased to be a part of the effort to continue to invest in Dix Park for each of those reasons.”

“This EEG funding will support the planning for the restoration of Rocky Branch Creek, an impaired waterway that runs through Dix Park in downtown Raleigh,” said Kerri Stanton, Development Coordinator. “This planning project will investigate stream restoration options for Rocky Branch, including a review of existing data and plans, a soil assessment of the adjacent closed pre-regulatory landfill, and a stream condition assessment.”

Wayne County

Sound Rivers Inc. will receive $196,700 to construct stormwater control measures on Wayne Community College.

“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 Wayne Community College students – will benefit from improved water quality in the area.”

“Sound Rivers is grateful for the investment in green stormwater infrastructure by the EEG program,” said Heather Deck, Executive Director. “The funding for this program has provided a wonderful opportunity to partner with Wayne Community College, which is working to enhance their stormwater infrastructure to improve local water quality and transform their campus into a living laboratory for students.”

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.”

About the EEG Program

These funds are distributed through the Environmental Enhancement Grant (EEG) program, which began after an agreement between the Attorney General’s Office and Smithfield Foods in 2000. Under that agreement, Smithfield provides the Department of Justice $2 million each year for environmental projects across the state.

Due to ongoing litigation, this year’s is the second grant cycle since 2016. This grant cycle includes the distribution of nearly $3 million to 22 grantees. Earlier in 2020, Attorney General Stein distributed more than $3.5 million to 27 grantees.

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