USC Upstate Watershed Ecology Center Awarded $25,000 Duke Energy Grant

May 16, 2016 at 10:52 am

The University of South Carolina Upstate is pleased to announce that the Watershed Ecology Center has received a $25,000 grant from Duke Energy.

The Watershed Ecology Center will use the money to continue its work to enhance and improve the waterways and the environment in Spartanburg County. “This grant will help us better serve our community for years to come,” said Dr. Jack Turner, director of the Watershed Ecology Center. “We thank the Duke Foundation for its support and are eager to launch this project so that we can continue serving our local waterways.”

Turner said the monies will help to support the expansion of a stream-monitoring program he has been participating in through Georgia’s Adopt-A-Stream efforts. As part of the program, Turner and other volunteers have been monitoring about eight streams throughout Spartanburg County. He said the grant will provide testing kits for at least 12 more teams and training in how to test, how to read the results and then how to report the findings back to the Adopt-A-Stream program. The monies also will help to purchase supplies for continued sampling and testing.

“It’s been rewarding to see the difference that we have already made in our community,” Turner said. “We’ve been able to identify a problem and then to notify the appropriate people to have things cleaned up. Our work is important for the longterm life of our community.”

The grant is part of the Water Resources Fund, a $10 million commitment from Duke Energy. The Watershed Ecology Center is one of nine organizations across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to collectively receive more than $700,000 in the third grant announcement. The Water Resources Fund is a multi-year commitment that will leave a legacy of improved water quality, quantity and conservation in the Carolinas and neighboring regions.

The Watershed Ecology Center was founded at the University of South Carolina Upstate by Turner in 1999. Turner’s vision for the center includes scientific research on the watershed ecology of the region, community outreach and educational programming for local schools. The center is a privately funded endeavor supported by local businesses, water utilities, and grants.

Turner arrived in Spartanburg in 1974 to begin his career teaching ecology, microbiology, environmental science and plant psychology at USC Upstate (then USC Spartanburg). With a master’s in microbiology from South Dakota State University and a doctorate in ecology from the University of Oklahoma, his passion for nature captured the attention of his students and soon his love for the environment spread beyond the University to educating the community about environmental issues all the while working to conserve water.