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The grant is through the Catawba-Wateree Habitat Enhancement Program of Duke Energy.
A large portion of wildlife habitat, including native plant species, can be found on waterfront property in Cowan’s Ford Nature Refuge and Latta Plantation Nature Preserve in northern Mecklenburg County and McDowell Nature Preserve in southern Mecklenburg County.
The department will use the grant money for grassland/shrub land management areas on projects that include:
  • improving habitat for rare bird species,
  • removing invasive plant species, such as Autumn olive,
  • and managing non-native animal species, such as feral hogs.
Autumn olive can reduce native plant species and their habitat, and feral hogs have a negative impact on water quality and threaten many desirable plant and animal populations.
“The money will allow Park and Recreation to do some work that it normally couldn’t afford and will go a long way toward helping us protect the wildlife who inhabit the nature preserves along the Catawba River,” Chris Matthews said. He is division director for Park and Recreation’s Nature Preserves and Natural Resources Division.
In 1994 the department’s Nature Preserves and Natural Resources Division began actively supporting the protection, management, and restoration of natural communities in Mecklenburg County. The work includes developing and restoring Piedmont Prairie habitat sites and the protection of rare plant and animal species. 
To learn more about nature preserves in Mecklenburg County, visit the Nature Preserves and Natures Resources Web page.