North Carolina has received $2 million in grants to improve water quality in North Carolina rivers and clean up hog lagoons as part of an agreement with Smithfield Foods Inc.
These grants are the first in a series to be awarded to environmental programs under an agreement with pork producer Smithfield Foods. The agreement, signed July 25, 2000, specifies that Smithfield must provide $50 million over 25 years to improve the environment. Another $15 million was provided to North Carolina State University to fund development of new technologies for processing and treatment of waste.
Projects were selected to receive grants based on the twin goals of the Smithfield Agreement, environmental enhancement and conversion of lagoons used to manage hog waste.
The grants include the following:
* The Cape Fear River Assembly will receive $500,000 to educate area residents about water pollution and to monitor, evaluate and identify ways to improve water quality in the Cape Fear;
* A grant of $286,000 will be used to help the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust cover half the cost of protecting 242 acres in Brunswick County adjoining Town Creek, a part of the Cape Fear River Basin. An additional $214,000 will go to the Coastal Land Trust to purchase conservation easements along the Neuse River near New Bern;
* The City of Jacksonville will receive $500,000 to fund a variety of projects related to its Wilson Bay Initiative, which aims to clean up the New River. Grant money will be used to purchase aeration units that help oysters filter water in the bay, to fund a study of the program and to educate students about water pollution. Jacksonville also plans to use $175,000 to purchase easements and restore wetlands along Thompson Creek;
* A grant of $500,000 will go to the North Carolina Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation Districts to help farmers close out hog lagoons.