CFWNC’s Pigeon River Fund awards $182,440 in Water Quality Grants

Waterrock Knob Photo by Harold Blackwood

Press release:

CFWNC’s Pigeon River Fund Awards $182,440 in Water Quality Grants

Projects benefit Buncombe, Haywood and Madison counties

The Pigeon River Fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina recently awarded $182,440 to environmental groups working to improve surface water quality, enhance fish and wildlife habitats, expand public use and access to waterways and increase water quality awareness in Buncombe, Haywood and Madison counties. Since 1996, the Pigeon River Fund has distributed $6,371,037 in grants.

The most recent Pigeon River Fund grant recipients are:

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation – $16,000 to engage regional stakeholders and professional planners in developing an integrated, comprehensive plan for the recent 5,329-acre addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Waterrock Knob.

French Broad River Academy – $14,960 to develop wetland areas on the school’s campus, adjacent to the French Broad River, to reestablish a natural area that will help filter rainwater and runoff before it makes its way into the French Broad River.

Haywood County Schools – $2,000 to install a water collection system in the Pisgah High School Pulp and Paper Technology Lab, reducing the wastewater that must be treated by Evergreen Packaging and making students aware of water conservation and recycling practices in the paper industry.

Haywood Waterways Association –
· $13,950 toward the Shelton Branch Stream Relocation Project at Vance Street Park in Waynesville, NC. The project includes stream relocation, bank stabilization and educational signage.
· $10,530 to install river access steps and riparian vegetation near BearWaters Brewing facility as a part of the greenway extension through Canton.

Maggie Valley Sanitary District – $30,000, contingent upon other funds, toward the purchase of an 88-acre tract known as the Bradley property, a crucial area protecting drinking water from Johnson Branch in Maggie Valley, NC.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – $30,000, contingent upon other funds, to acquire the 273-acre Boyd Parcel located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Maggie Valley, NC. The tract will be added to the Silvers Game Lands managed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

The Conservation Fund – $30,000, contingent upon other funds, toward the acquisition of 93 acres known as the Urban Property in Haywood County. Located on the north side of Maggie Valley, the property helps protect the watershed that provides the valley’s drinking water.

Town of Black Mountain – $5,000 to install stormwater control measures in the Black Mountain Municipal Golf Course parking lot that will reduce runoff flowing into the adjoining stream.

Town of Canton – $30,000 for engineering and design costs related to an ADA accessible boat launch on the Pigeon River that will increase public access for recreational and educational purposes. In partnership with the Haywood Waterways Association project, a “river run” will be established between Recreation Park and BearWaters Brewery.

The next application deadline for qualifying nonprofits in Buncombe, Haywood and Madison counties is September 15, 2017. Applications and instructions are available at

The Pigeon River Fund was established through an agreement between Carolina Power & Light (now Duke Energy) and the State of North Carolina. The grant program is administered by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. For information about the Pigeon River Fund, contact Senior Program Officer Tara Scholtz at 828-367-9913. The Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving 18 counties in Western North Carolina. The Foundation is a permanent regional resource that facilitated $18.9 million in charitable giving last year.

About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at

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