Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina to benefit Catawba River Basin with $100,000 grant from Duke Energy

Press Release from Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina:

MORGANTON, NC — Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina received a $100,000 grant to continue its work to protect the waters of the Catawba River Basin in North and South Carolina. The grant is part of the Water Resources Fund, a $10 million commitment from Duke Energy.

Foothills Conservancy is one of 14 organizations across North and South Carolina to collectively receive more than $1 million in the fifth grant announcement. The Water Resources Fund is a multi-year commitment that will leave a legacy of improved water quality, quantity and conservation in the Carolinas and neighboring regions. This grant is Foothills Conservancy’s second in two years from the Water Resources Fund.

“This grant will help us further our efforts to identify and preserve key conservation lands in the Catawba River Basin,” said Andrew Kota, associate director of Foothills Conservancy. “We thank Duke Energy for its support and are looking forward to moving this project forward to help ensure that these waters remain clean and plentiful for those that rely on them for recreation, drinking water, and energy.”

The Catawba River Basin is one of North Carolina’s most important river basins. More than two million Carolinians from Old Fort to Charlotte and downstream to South Carolina rely on the river and its many tributaries and reservoirs for their drinking water supply.

Foothills Conservancy will use the grant funds from Duke to match funds from the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group for a study that will determine water quantity and quality “hot spots” and identify key watershed areas for conservation throughout the Catawba River Basin. The conservancy’s grant will add an economic analysis to the research model that will be conducted by RTI International. The economic analysis will allow Foothills Conservancy and its partners to calculate the costs and benefits of conserving parcels within the identified hot spots.

“Duke Energy is committed to protecting and restoring the rivers and waterways that are valuable resources for our communities and the regional economy,” said Cari Boyce, president of the Duke Energy Foundation. “We look forward to our partnership with Foothills Conservancy and the impact this grant will have in the Catawba River Basin.

Investment decisions are carefully reviewed by the Water Resources Fund committee, an independent body that includes five environmental experts and two Duke Energy employees. Selected projects are chosen on several criteria, including whether the project is science-based and research-supported.

Duke Energy anticipates two grant announcements per year over the course of the Water Resources Fund. Visit for more information on how to apply and register for the session.

About Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina
Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is a nationally accredited, nonprofit regional land trust based in Morganton. The conservancy works cooperatively with landowners and public/private conservation partners to preserve and protect significant natural areas and open spaces. Focus areas include watersheds, forests and farmland across the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills in eight counties: Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln, McDowell, and Rutherford. Since 1995, Foothills Conservancy has protected more than 50,000 acres, including lands added to South Mountains, Lake James and Chimney Rock state parks; Wilson Creek, South Mountains and the Johns River state game lands; Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Information about Foothills Conservancy, including ways to support its work, can be found online at or by calling 828-437-9930.

About Duke Energy Foundation
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of the communities where its customers live and work. The foundation provides more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts. The foundation’s education focus spans kindergarten to career, particularly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), early childhood literacy and workforce development. It also supports the environment and community impact initiatives, including arts and culture.

Duke Energy employees and retirees actively contribute to their communities as volunteers and leaders at a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. Duke Energy is committed to building on its legacy of community service. For more information, visit http://www.duke-ener

About Molly Horak
Molly is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and writer for Mountain Xpress. Her work has appeared in the Citizen-Times, News and Observer and Charlotte Observer. Follow me @molly_horak

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