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Attorney General Josh Stein Announces More Than $850,000 in 2021 Environmental Grants in Eastern NC

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced $866,591 in grants to preserve and enhance the environment in eastern North Carolina through the Environmental Enhancement Grant (EEG) program. Across the state, Attorney General Stein will award nearly $3 million in grants to 27 grantees.

Grants in eastern North Carolina were awarded to:

City of New Bern

The city of New Bern will receive $134,000 to build stormwater infrastructure in an underserved neighborhood that has long been subject to flooding. The grant is a part of the city’s larger resiliency and revitalization project.

“The city of New Bern is making smart investments in improving water quality and preventing flooding in historically underserved neighborhoods,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I hope this grant will help improve the quality of life for people in New Bern.”

“The Attorney General’s Environmental Enhancement Grant Program award supports the city’s overall resiliency initiatives and one of the primary goals of our Resiliency and Hazard Mitigation Plan, to improve conditions for our most underserved and socially vulnerable populations,” said Jeffrey Ruggieri, Development Services Director for the City of New Bern.

“Flooding is the biggest concern and most frequent hazard experienced in the Greater Duffyfield Community. The Stormwater Enhancement Project is a representative mitigation solution to retrofit sustainable practices and nature-based solutions in our older neighborhoods that have been plagued with disinvestment. The project will make the neighborhood safer, improve water quality, and add an amenity for the surrounding residents.

“EEG funds have been imperative to the city’s broader planning efforts, which encompass a holistic approach toward building the resilience capacity of New Bern and being better prepared for the future.”


East Carolina University

East Carolina University will receive $149,241 to identify and evaluate stormwater control measures throughout the city of Greenville. The project will help the city determine which locations are at a higher risk for flooding and poor water quality and take steps to reduce the environmental damage caused by stormwater runoff, especially in underserved communities. ECU students will also get to participate in the project.

“This project will help ensure that underserved communities in the Greenville area avoid stormwater flooding and pollution,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m pleased that ECU and the city are working together to better understand stormwater issues and potential solutions to reduce flooding and protect water sources.”

“ECU, in collaboration with the Center for Watershed Protection and the city of Greenville, aims to address some of the city’s stormwater challenges through this new grant by mapping and evaluating dry detention basins (stormwater control measures) around the city and identifying those that pose a risk to water quality and flooding,” said Dr. Michael O’Driscoll, associate professor at ECU’s Department of Coastal Studies. “It is estimated there may be several hundred of these stormwater systems that are not currently mapped and many of these may increase flood risk and water pollution to local creeks and the Tar River. This work will help the city improve management of stormwater in flood prone areas and gain insights into areas where potential retrofits can reduce the environmental impacts. These efforts will improve understanding of stormwater impacts across the city and in underserved communities. In addition, ECU students will benefit by getting practical experience that helps the community.”


Bertie County Hive House

Bertie County Hive House will receive $74,350 to improve a four-acre greenspace in Lewiston Woodville through cleaning, stormwater remediation, and planting. The greenspace provides recreational and educational opportunities for the underserved community.

“Public green areas are vital to our community health,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This grant will help create a community space people can visit and enjoy.”


Kinston Cares

Kinston Cares will receive $95,000 to rehabilitate FEMA flood buyout property in east Kinston through research, community planning, and environmental education.

“Communities across North Carolina have been devastated by hurricanes and flooding in recent years,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This grant will help make Kinston stronger.”

“I am elated and excited to hear that Kinston Cares has received funding to assist in reviving Lincoln City,” said Jackie Braxton, former Lincoln City resident and Self-Help Credit Union member. “The community was owned by African Americans from the 1800s until 1990 when hurricanes and flood waters destroyed it. The revitalization is a tribute to our ancestors and culture. The community that died will come alive and be reconnected to the city of Kinston.”


Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited will receive $75,000 to restore wetlands within the Goose Creek Game Lands that will increase water exchanges between Smith Creek and its estuary.

“Wetlands protect our communities from flooding and enhance water quality,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m proud to partner with Ducks Unlimited to preserve this area for more people to enjoy in the future.”

“The Environmental Enhancement Grant award serves as a critical funding source in support of our project to enhance 25 acres of tidally-influenced managed wetlands,” said Ducks Unlimited Regional biologist Ethan Massey. “The grant funds will be leveraged with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) and Ducks Unlimited matching support to complete the project. Wetland restoration projects like these are important to maintain and improve wetland function and water quality in North Carolina. This project will also allow NCWRC to manage the area more effectively to provide high quality wildlife habitat and public outdoor recreational opportunities.”


Town of Pollocksville

The town of Pollocksville will receive $114,000 to construct publicly accessible wetlands in Riverfront Park to help protect flood-prone properties.

“Building wetlands will help protect homes and families in Pollocksville the next time we have a flood or hurricane,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “The wetland this grant builds will also protect our natural environment and wildlife.”

“The town of Pollocksville is excited to receive the EEG grant and thanks Attorney General Stein and his department for the support,” said Pollocksville Mayor Jay Bender. “As we continue to recover from the devasting floods of Hurricane Florence, this grant will enable us to build back better in an environmentally sound and resilient fashion.”


City of Jacksonville

The city of Jacksonville will receive $175,000 to continue efforts to preserve and protect the New River. The grant will help the city expand 12 of the existing New River Estuary Oyster Highway sites, construct 1,850 small patch reefs, and add nearly 2.5 million oysters to improve biofiltration.

“This grant will help safeguard the New River,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “It will help marine life thrive and help improve the quality of water sources.”

“The City of Jacksonville is committed to preserving and protecting the New River, a process which began 21 years ago with the close of the city’s Wilson Bay WWTP and the immediate cleanup efforts utilizing an innovative process called bioremediation,” said Pat Donovan-Brandenburg, stormwater manager for the city of Jacksonville. “We continued those efforts three years ago with the “New River Oyster Highway” where we created 12 half-acre artificial reefs or stepping stone habitats for oyster and fish populations in the region between Wilson Bay and Stones Bay within the New River.

“Using funds provided by the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office’s Enhancement Grant Program, we will expand the 12 existing NRE Oyster Highway sites by adding more than 2,480,000 oysters and constructing an additional approximate 1,850 patch reefs (across all sites).”


North Carolina Coastal Land Trust

The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust will receive $50,000 for the Hoggard’s Millpond Conservation Project, which will help the trust acquire 348 acres of Hoggard’s Millpond Tract and transfer it to the town of Windsor to create a new public park.

“Public parks make our communities stronger and happier,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m pleased to distribute these funds to help the town of Windsor create a new public park that the community can enjoy for decades to come.”

“Coastal Land Trust is ever appreciative of this recently approved EEG grant for our Hoggard’s Millpond Conservation Project which represents a unique community conservation partnership to protect a site with significant wildlife, historic, water quality, and recreational resources,” said Janice Allen, director of land protection. “Our primary partner, the town of Windsor, is one step closer to having a new nature/historic park for its residents, and visitors, to enjoy.”


About the Environmental Enhancement Grant Program

The Environmental Enhancement Grant program began after an agreement between the Attorney General’s Office and Smithfield Foods in 2000. Under that agreement, Smithfield provides $2 million to the state every year to be distributed among environmental projects across North Carolina. Including the 2021 grants, the Attorney General Office’s has awarded nearly $37 million to more than 190 projects in the state.

In 2021, Attorney General Stein has announced the following EEG grant in addition to the above:


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