Left to right are Garrett Artz, Executive Director of RiverLink, Stephanie Monson Dahl, Strategic Development Office Director for the City of Asheville, Peter Sprague, Asheville, Riverfront Commission member, Dawn Chavez, Executive Director of GreenWorks, and Mike Hughes, Duke Energy’s Vice President of Community Relations.
The City of Asheville received a $60,000 grant to continue its commitment to protecting and enhancing regional waterways and the environment. The grant is part of the Water Resources Fund, a $10 million statewide commitment from Duke Energy.
The City of Asheville 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.
“We are so excited to have been awarded a grant from Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund for the RADTIP Riparian Restoration Plan,” said Stephanie Monson Dahl, Strategic Development Office Director for the City of Asheville. “These funds will help seed a partnership to create a plan for improving water quality, increasing tree canopy, and educating others about the importance of the ecology of on this stretch of the French Broad River. This work will further our City Council 2036 Vision, which includes a focus on clean water and quality urban forests.”
A large part of the work will be identifying where to locate trees and other plantings that can better stabilize river banks, improve storm water flows and drainage, or provide shade and habitat for native species. Signage will also be produced and installed to explain the ecology of the French Broad River Watershed. Partners will include Asheville GreenWorks, RiverLink, the City of Asheville, the Boy Scouts, the City of Asheville Tree Commission, funding partner Duke Energy, and other community members. Next steps include creating a steering committee and engaging in general public outreach before plan activities commence.
“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 the City of Asheville and the impact this grant will have in Western North Carolina.”
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 nccommunityfoundation.org for more information on how to apply and register for the session.