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Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board embraces new role with significant awards for conservation
RALEIGH – Board members with the newly reconstituted state Clean Water Management Trust Fund approved $16.26 million this week to protect the state’s water supplies and several significant natural heritage areas in North Carolina.
The Dec. 18 meeting marked the first time the board awarded grants since recent legislation reshaped the trust fund’s mission to focus on protecting the state’s water supplies and natural heritage rather than wastewater improvements or conventional stormwater projects. During the recent legislative session, the state’s Natural Heritage Trust Fund was eliminated and its fund balance was moved into the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Funds awarded this week by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund’s board came from monies available from both funding mechanisms.
As part of the legislative changes, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund was moved to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“Clean water remains a high priority for leaders in our state, as demonstrated this week by the ongoing effort to protect a resource that has both environmental and economic impacts,” said Cecilia Holden, special assistant to DENR Secretary John Skvarla.
Dr. Troy Kickler, the chairman of the trust fund, added: “The newly reappointed board is a group of dedicated individuals. During the prior two meetings, the board’s decisions have shown a commitment to protecting clean water, preserving our state’s natural and historic heritage, and helping provide buffers around military bases within our state.”
The Clean Water Management Trust Fund board made 30 awards at the Dec. 18 meeting. The properties acquired will be managed by different private groups as well as state agencies, including the departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Environment and Natural Resources, and Cultural Resources, and Wildlife Resources Commission. Most of the property will be acquired using public funding from the trust fund and money from private organizations. The Clean Water Management Trust Fund board’s awards included:
· $1.85 million to help acquire 920 acres in the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area, which includes significant natural heritage areas in Avery County and a grassy bald and a natural area connecting wildlife and future foot trails.
· $507,010 to help acquire an additional 295 acres in Chimney Rock State Park. The property in Rutherford County includes the top of Shumont Mountain and can be seen from many locations in Hickory Nut Gorge.
· More than $500,000 to acquire natural areas for military training and other purposes at Camp Lejeune in Onslow County as well as training locations in Pender and Duplin counties.
· $2 million to acquire additional land at the headwaters of the East Fork of the French Broad River in Transylvania County.
· $750,000 to acquire 199 acres to add to Elk Knob State Park. The Hightower property is a key connection between state parks ownership around The Peak and the Three Top Gameland in Ashe County.
You can find a complete list of awards made during the board’s Dec. 18 meeting at the Clean Water Management Trust Fund’s website, http://www.cwmtf.net/. A description of the awards can be found under the 2013 Grant Cycle by clicking on the “2013 CWMTF Awards” and “2013 NHTF Awards.”