N.C. Land and Water Fund Awards $60.4 Million to Protect Natural Areas, Waterways, Historic Sites and Military Buffers

Press release from The North Carolina Land and Water Fund

The North Carolina Land and Water Fund awarded grants in September and December totaling $60.4 million, providing funds for 83 projects that will protect North Carolina’s land and water from the mountains to the coast, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.

“Every year, millions of residents and visitors enjoy North Carolina’s abundance of natural resources,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “I’m grateful to the many people who advocated successfully for increased funding for the N.C. Land and Water Fund which was included in the budget to support amazing projects that benefit our families and communities.”

The funds will protect 51,478 acres, including 48,619 acres that will eventually be open to the public for hiking, hunting, boating, birding and other recreational uses. Funds were also granted for 18 projects to restore or enhance over 33 miles of streams, rivers and estuaries. Funds were awarded for two projects designed to evaluate innovative techniques for managing stormwater. In addition, 12 planning projects were funded to identify key water quality and conservation opportunities in mountain, piedmont and coastal watersheds. Grants awarded will help protect 200 types of rare plants, animals and natural communities, including 71 plants and animals that are threatened or endangered. More than $34 million in grants will go to rural and economically distressed counties.

“Thanks to Governor Cooper and the N.C. General Assembly, the N.C. Land and Water Fund this year received its highest funding levels in over a decade,” said Reid Wilson, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “The approved projects will enhance quality of life, protect wildlife habitat, and contribute to North Carolina’s booming $3.3 billion outdoor recreation economy.”

This year’s grants will support:

  • Protecting over 31,000 acres to be added to N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission game lands in Bertie, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Haywood, Northampton, Pender and Tyrell counties;
  • Adding over 1,330 acres to N.C. state parks in Avery, Buncombe, Chatham, Cumberland, Stanly, and Watauga counties, including one of the newest park units at Pisgah View in Buncombe County;
  • Protecting over 9,900 acres in local parks and preserves in Bertie, Bladen, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Carteret, Chatham, Granville, Harnett, Henderson, Jackson, Lee, McDowell, Richmond and Wake counties;
  • Protecting two historic sites, including the Alamance Battleground in Alamance County and Shallow Ford in Forsyth County;
  • Enhancing sport fisheries across the state, including trout waters in Avery, Haywood, Jackson, and Watauga counties, Muskellunge habitat in Henderson County and saltwater fisheries in Carteret County;
  • Funding planning grants across North Carolina, including efforts to identify wetlands capable of mitigating flooding, identifying threats to oyster waters of the Newport River estuary, reducing sediment pollution to recreation areas of the French Broad River and addressing flooding issues in the Town of Cerro Gordo in Columbus County.
  • N.C. Land and Water Fund grants will also provide buffers for military installations and training areas, protecting over 11,000 acres near the Dare County Bombing Range, Bogue Field, Chery Point, Fort Bragg, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Camp Lejeune and the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point. The military sector comprises over 12% of N.C.’s economy.

“Demand for our grants exceeded available funds by four times last year, and for several years before that,” said John Wilson, chair of the N.C. Land and Water Fund board. “The outstanding conservation projects made possible by this year’s budget will help address the urgent need in our rapidly growing state for increased public access to outdoor recreational opportunities, which has become more apparent than ever over the past 20 months.”

A complete list of grant awards is available on the NCLWF website at www.nclwf.nc.gov/docs/2021-grant-awards.

About the North Carolina Land and Water Fund

The North Carolina Land and Water Fund, previously known as the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, was originally established in 1996 to protect the state’s drinking water sources. The North Carolina General Assembly expanded the Fund’s mission to include conserving and protecting the state’s natural resources, cultural heritage and military installations. The North Carolina Land and Water Fund has conserved over 500,000 acres and protected or restored 3,000 miles of streams and rivers. To learn more, visit www.nclwf.nc.gov.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.

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