07/05/10 — Clean water projects get $2 million in grants

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Clean water projects get $2 million in grants

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on July 5, 2010 1:50 PM

RALEIGH -- Attorney General Roy Cooper announced last month that more than $2 million in grants will go to improve water quality, protect North Carolina rivers and wildlife habitat, and help farmers clean up animal waste lagoons.

Projects were selected to receive grants in keeping with the Smithfield Agreement's goal to enhance North Carolina's environment, particularly the state's river basins. Cooper's office sought to award grants to projects that will benefit eastern North Carolina, home to most of the state's large hog farms.

The N.C. Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation has been awarded a grant of $450,000 to close inactive hog waste lagoons and ensure proper management of animal waste. Using previous grants, the Foundation has already closed more than 150 lagoons, is working to close 14 more, and has implemented waste management and water quality projects.

Ducks Unlimited will receive $375,000 to protect 300 acres of watershed and game lands in Bladen County.

The North Carolina Zoological Society was awarded a $375,000 grant to protect 236 acres of forested wetlands in Halifax County.

The Blue Ridge Forever coalition, a group of 10 land trusts in western North Carolina, was awarded a $375,000 grant to protect headwater streams through conservation easements and purchases and conveyances to the State Parks system. This grant will fund seven projects covering almost 3,000 acres in Avery, Caldwell, Henderson, Mitchell, McDowell, and Transylvania Counties in the French Broad and Catawba River Basins.

Other grants include: $150,000 awarded to the Nature Conservancy; $80,000 awarded to the Tar River Land Conservancy will receive $80,000; $55,000 awarded to The Land Trust for Little Tennessee; $50,000 awarded to the Piedmont Land Conservancy; $50,000 awarded to the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation; and $45,000 awarded to the Catawba Lands Conservancy.

These grants are the eighth in a series to be awarded to environmental programs under an agreement with Smithfield Foods, Inc. According to the agreement signed on July 25, 2000, Smithfield agreed to provide $50 million over 25 years to improve the environment. The agreement also included $15 million provided to North Carolina State University to fund development of new technologies for processing and treatment of hog waste.