Duke Energy has approved funding for seven streamside habitat enhancement projects in the watersheds and tailwaters of its Nantahala-area hydroelectric projects.
The company said grant funds total US$109,057, with matching and in-kind funds equaling $406,873.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) established the Riparian Habitat Enhancement Fund as part of a commitment to the Tuckasegee Cooperative Stakeholder Team and Nantahala Cooperative Stakeholder Team Settlement Agreements, which were made while the company was relicensing Nantahala-area hydropower projects.
The fund is meant to “enhance fish or wildlife habitat directly”, or “educate school children or landowners about the importance of healthy riparian areas for fish and wildlife habitat”.
An advisory board comprised of state and federal resource agencies, and county soil and water conservation experts ranked proposals, allowing Duke Energy to decide which projects to fund.
Receiving funding from Duke Energy are:
- Killian Farm – Cartoogechaye Creek Restoration: Stream bank and aquatic habitat restoration in Cartoogechaye Creek, a tributary of the Little Tennessee River near Franklin, N.C. Requestor: Land Trust for the Little Tennessee;
- Kelly Farm – Savannah Creek Restoration: Stream bank and aquatic habitat restoration in Savannah Creek, a tributary of the Tuckasegee River near Dillsboro, N.C. Requestor: Land Trust for the Little Tennessee;
- Riparian Education & Enhancement in the Hiwassee River Watershed: Replanting riparian buffers and educating local school children and landowners on the value of these buffers using a small tributary of the Hiwassee River near Hayesville, N.C. Requestor: Hiwassee Watershed Coalition;
- Little Tennessee River Greenway Riparian Restoration & Education: Remove invasive exotic vegetation and plant native trees and shrubs at the confluence of Cartoogechaye Creek and the Little Tennessee River near Franklin, N.C. Requestor: Friends of the Greenway;
- Tributary to Hiwassee River Rehabilitation: Reconstruct 1,000 feet of stream bank and enhance riparian buffers on a small tributary of the Hiwassee River near Murphy, N.C. Requestor: United States Forest Service;
Instructional Stream Table: Purchase a stream table to be used in teaching Swain County school children about the value of riparian buffers and stream habitat. Requestor: Swain County Soil and Water Conservation District; and
- Restoration Tasks in Jackson County: Stream bank reconstruction on a tributary of the Tuckasegee River, Savannah Creek, near Webster, N.C. Requestor: Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River.
Duke Energy said it will issue another requests for project proposals early next year.
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