N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund protects state’s surface water

As North Carolina continues to experience substantial population growth, the importance of protecting the state’s sources of water becomes even more important. Sediment from erosion and pollutants in storm water runoff are two of the biggest threats to water quality.

The N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, at the forefront of the effort to protect the state’s surface water, recently provided grants to protect surface water on 29 sites encompassing more than 16,000 acres, and to restore more than 70,000 feet of stream banks.

“Investments to limit erosion, improve storm water management and buffer our streams and rivers are a critical piece of the state’s plan to ensure current and future generations have access to clean drinking water,” said CWMTF Executive Director Bryan Gossage. “Beyond protecting our rivers, streams and lakes, special elements of nature that exist in the Tar Heel state -and sometimes nowhere else – also benefit from the grants provided by the fund.”

The fund is also tasked in legislation with conservation efforts aimed at conserving the state’s “natural heritage,” species of plants or animals that are globally rare, and sometimes found only in North Carolina.

Working together with conservation partners, grants are provided annually to project applicants from throughout the state.

In the just-completed 2015 grant cycle, two water quality projects in Columbus County received nearly a half million dollars for Lake Waccamaw and the Waccamaw River, while approximately $330,000 will help protect an emergency drinking water supply for the Town of Weaverville in the headwaters of Reems Creek, a tributary to the French Broad River.

In all, $19.3 million was provided to 50 conservation projects in 30 different counties to: conserve 16,295 acres of riparian buffers and ecological communities; restore 70,565 linear feet of stream banks; and purchase 3.37 miles of greenway corridors.

The Clean Water Management Trust Fund was established in 1996 to protect the state’s drinking water sources. Today, with more than $55 million in active contracts, the fund is additionally tasked by the North Carolina General Assembly with conserving or protecting the state’s natural resources, cultural heritage and military installations.

-Submitted by N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

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