Grants totaling $14.6 million will fund 39 projects to protect North Carolina’s land and water from the mountains to the coast, Governor Roy Cooper Friday. The North Carolina Land and Water Fund, formerly known as the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, awarded the grants.

The funds will protect 6,710 acres including more than 6,155 acres that will be open to the public for hiking, hunting, boating, birding and other recreational uses.

Funds were also granted for eight projects to restore or enhance over 10 miles of streams, rivers and estuaries. Funds were awarded for five projects designed to evaluate innovative techniques for managing stormwater.

In addition, six planning projects were funded to identify key water quality and conservation opportunities in mountain, piedmont, and coastal watersheds. Grants awarded this month will help protect 102 types of rare plants, animals, and natural communities, including 12 plants and animals that are threatened or endangered. More than $10 million of the grants will go to rural and economically distressed counties.

This year’s grants will support North Carolina’s $3.3 billion outdoor recreation economy, including protecting over 1,900 acres added to Wildlife Resources Commission Game Lands in Ashe, Davidson, and Caldwell counties.

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