In December 2016, the Southwestern NC Resource Conservation and Development Council was awarded a $71,000 grant from Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund. This fund is committed to preserving and protecting our environment’s safety. The RC&D will use this grant to create storm retrofits in Maggie Valley. A storm retrofit is measures taken to help channel harmful runoff from parking lots, highways, farm land, or other developed areas into specialized systems to filter out pollutants and properly drain this stormwater. This is very beneficial to the environment because it reduces the amount of stormwater runoff in our rivers and streams. Southwestern RC&D Council has divided the grant money toward three projects: Maggie Valley’s Fire Station, Jonathan Creek, and commercial properties. The Maggie Valley Fire Station needed a more efficient way to wash their fire trucks and equipment without such an environmental stress. A washing pad, equipped with proper drainage and filtration that channels into a bio-retention pond, has been put in place for their use. On Jonathan Creek, more than 200 feet of shoreline has been repaired to prevent sediment build-up in the creek. The RC&D is also in the process of working with commercial operations to install rain gardens, bio-filters, subsurface stormwater chambers, and cisterns to improve the quality of the environment surrounding these operations. “This grant will help us better serve our community for years to come,” said Lynn Sprague, executive director of the Southwestern RC&D, in an interview about the grant with the local newspaper, The Waynesville Mountaineer. “We have taken three years to assess stormwater needs in Maggie Valley and this project will start the implementation of many conservation practices to improve water quality. We thank Duke Energy for its support and are eager to launch this project so that we can continue serving our local waterways.” To learn more about Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund, visit http://www.duke-energy.com/foundation.