Duke Energy funds available for fish and wildlife habitat projects around Keowee and Jocassee

UPSTATE — Beginning on Monday, qualifying government agencies and nonprofit organizations were encouraged to submit applications for the Keowee-Toxaway Habitat Enhancement Program (KTHEP).

The program funds projects that create, enhance and protect fish and wildlife habitats along the shores of Lake Keowee and Lake Jocassee, as well as in their watersheds.

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 that permanently preserve rare and unique habitats.

For 2020, available funds total more than $1.3 million. Since 2015, the first year of implementation, the KTHEP has funded projects totaling more than $930,000 to support fish and avian habitat improvements. Individual project awards typically range from $10,000 to $50,000.

The KTHEP was formed as a result of the Keowee-Toxaway Relicensing Agreement Duke Energy entered into with 16 other stakeholder organizations during the Keowee-Toxaway Hydroelectric Project Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing process.

Those interested in seeking funds this year are encouraged to complete an application found on the Keowee-Toxaway Habitat Enhancement Program website at and submit it for consideration by the July 31 deadline.

A panel of relicensing agreement representatives will review project proposals and make funding recommendations. Approved projects will receive the funds beginning in the fall of 2020.