CFWNC’s Pigeon River Fund awards $236,250 in water quality grants

Press release from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina:

The Pigeon River Fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) awarded eleven grants totaling $236,250 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 more than $8.2 million in grants.

The most recent Pigeon River Fund grant recipients are:

$28,000 to Asheville GreenWorks to modify the design of the Trash Trout to make it more durable and to install more of these litter-capturing devices in Buncombe County.  Grant funds will also recruit, train, manage and outfit volunteers as part of the new StreamKeepers Program.

$10,000 to Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation District for the Envirothon and Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES!) Camp programs that engage middle and high school youth in hands-on learning about water quality issues.

$6,500 to Haywood Waterways Association to repair two failing septic systems in the Pigeon River Watershed near Canton, NC.

$30,000 to Haywood Waterways Association for planning, engineering design, permitting and education for the Hominy Creek Stream Improvement Project.

$10,000 to Laurel Community Center Organization to turn a creekside classroom into the Laurel River Room, an aquatic-themed natural sciences/STEM classroom for public education and appreciation of the Big Laurel Creek/Laurel River Watershed in Madison County, NC.

$30,000 to Maggie Valley Sanitary District toward acquisition and permanent protection of the 24.5-acre McGaha property in Haywood County.

$12,080 to MountainTrue to continue Swim Guide, a weekly water quality monitoring program focused on sampling for E. coli bacteria at popular river accesses.

$25,670 to MountainTrue to improve its E. coli monitoring work by establishing a real-time testing location and conducting follow up to identify possible sewer leaks documented from two infrared imaging flights.

$30,000 to RiverLink to complete an engineered design for the Southside Community Stormwater Project, identified as a high priority opportunity to solve flooding issues and improve surface water quality in Town Branch, also referred to as “Nasty Branch.”

$24,000 to Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy toward the costs of surveying a 109-acre conservation easement on the Crabtree Bald Geers property in Haywood County.

$30,000 to The Conservation Fund to assist in protecting the 25.1-acre Finger property in Haywood County.

The next application deadline for qualifying nonprofits in Buncombe, Haywood and Madison counties is September 15, 2021.  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.  CFWNC administers the grant program.  For information about the Pigeon River Fund, contact Senior Program Officer Tara Scholtz at 828-367-9913.

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) works with families, businesses and nonprofits to strengthen communities through the creation of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking. A permanent charitable resource, the Foundation manages over 1,200 funds and facilitated $22 million in grants last year bringing total giving to more than $276 million since its founding in 1978. Learn more at

About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.