RALEIGH — Projects that will conserve and protect North Carolina land and waterways in several coastal counties are among the 50 projects in the state to be awarded nearly $20 million in grants from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Friday.
Grants include $1,209,075 to Bertie County for Salmon Creek Initiative, a natural area with artifacts of cultural and historical significance; $545,000 for Emerald Isle to fund a 29.7-acre tract behind the old town hall and recreation center for use as a natural area and future site for athletic fields; and $450,000 to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for the Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson site.
“The Clean Water Management Trust Fund plays a vital role in protecting North Carolina’s most treasured natural and cultural resources for future generations,” said Gov. Cooper in a statement. “Since the fund’s beginning, these grants have been used in every North Carolina county to protect drinking water supplies, preserve historical resources, conserve clean streams for fishing and swimming, and provide buffers around our military bases.”
The new grants awarded last week will be used to protect 10,286 acres, including western waterfalls, maritime forests, historic forts, greenways and trails and buffers around military bases. More than 8,200 acres will be open to the public for hiking, birding and other recreational uses. Funds were also granted for 10 projects to restore more than 13 miles of the state’s waterways and five projects designed to introduce innovative techniques for managing stormwater.
In the last 20 years, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund has conserved more than 500,000 acres of land, protected more than 2,500 miles of streambank and preserved 12 historic sites.
“Protecting the state’s natural and cultural resources is critical to the economic sustainability of our state, helping to make North Carolina an attractive place to live, work and visit,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Cooper also announced Friday that he had appointed the following members to the board of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund:
- Greer Cawood of Winston-Salem as board chair. She serves in government relations for the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and as a North Carolina state appointee to the Natural Heritage Trust Fund and has served as a trustee of the North Carolina chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
- John Wilson of Chapel Hill as an at-large member. Wilson previously served as a board member and president of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and board member of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. He has produced several environmental documentaries for UNC-TV and has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill.