Duke energy ospreys

Duke Energy’s Catawba-Wateree Habitat Enhancement Program is providing grants for organizations who want to protect wildlife, like these ospreys.

Organizations with ideas for fish and wildlife habitat enhancements along the Catawba River are urged to share their plans in applications for funding through a program sponsored by Duke Energy.

Starting May 1, qualifying government agencies and nonprofit organizations wanting to enhance, create and protect fish and wildlife habitats along the Catawba-Wateree River are encouraged to submit applications for grants provided by Duke Energy’s Catawba-Wateree Habitat Enhancement Program (CWHEP).

Projects eligible for funding include a wide range of categories − from planting native shoreline vegetation, constructing osprey platforms and wood duck boxes, and installing fish attractors, to purchasing property and conservation easements along the Catawba-Wateree River that permanently preserve rare and unique habitats.

Past projects have ranged from construction of waterfowl nesting platforms and boxes, to the creation of large underwater reefs for fish habitat.

For 2019, more than $1.9 million is available for enhancement projects in North Carolina. And more than $1.5 million has been set aside for projects in South Carolina. Individual project awards typically range from $10,000 to $50,000.

Since 2007, the program has provided more than $1.5 million in awards in the Carolinas for habitat enhancement projects. A panel of scientists, along with several private citizens, will evaluate applications and select projects to receive funding in 2019.

CWHEP is a cooperative effort of Duke Energy, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

The program is funded annually from a fee charged to individuals and residential marina developers seeking permits to build piers on the Catawba-Wateree lakes. The Foundation for The Carolinas administers the funds.

Those interested in seeking funds from CWHEP are encouraged to complete an application found online at the Catawba-Wateree Habitat Enhance Program and submit it for consideration before July 31.

In addition to the Catawba-Wateree program, a Keowee-Toxaway Habitat Enhancement Program was established in 2015 for projects along Lake Keowee and Lake Jocassee, and their watersheds in the foothills region of South Carolina.

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