Catawba River Keeper Foundation (1st Place Winner)
This nonprofit’s mission is to educate and advocate to protect the Catawba-Wateree River Basin's lakes, rivers and streams for everyone who depends on and enjoys them. The Catawba River has been designated as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers three times, but thankfully this organization has been working since 1997 to protect one of the Charlotte region’s most vital natural resources.
Catawba Riverkeeper trains and leads six locally based Covekeeper Programs on Lake James, Lake Hickory, Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, Lake Wylie and Lake Wateree. Their Lake Norman Covekeepers manage an Island Keeper Program that has removed trash from Lake Norman's 42 islands since 2002. They’ve also have trained volunteers through their Covewatcher, Streamwatcher, Waterwatcher and Muddy Water Watch programs. In addition, they operate a youth kayaking program and lead periodic family paddling trips. Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation has been fighting alongside other individuals and organizations to remove coal ash ponds from beside Charlotte's drinking water reservoirs for years.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (2nd Place Winner)
CMSWS is a leader for water quality improvement programs. Its Stream and Wetland Mitigation Bank was the 1st municipal program in NC and, along with grant awards, has restored approximately 30 miles of streams. Its Floodplain Buyout Program moved almost 700 families from floodplains to improve water quality and reduce flood risks. Its stormwater ordinance provides mitigation options that protect and improve watersheds at rates greater than would be provided by the state’s model ordinance. Its monitoring program is the most comprehensive municipal program in NC, allowing rapid response to pollution. Its Pilot Structural Control Measure Program is the most comprehensive municipal program in NC, verifying pollution reduction rates so only the most effective controls are used locally. Each year its Public Education Program provides an average of 2300 TV and radio ads about stormwater pollution and engages an average of 3,000 volunteers to prevent and remove pollution from local waterways.
CMSWS is recognized as a pioneer in the US for developing innovative and comprehensive water quality programs. It uses analysis of local scientific and cost-benefit data, combined with stakeholder input, to create collaborative, successful programs driven by water quality monitoring results.
SAROS Desalination (3rd Place Winner)
With a mission to provide fresh water to areas in need, SAROS Desalination has created and is currently testing a wave driven, sustainable seawater desalination system with minimal carbon footprint. SAROS targets coastal regions and islands where typical solutions can be unfeasible by requiring large infrastructure and use of electricity and/or fossil fuels. SAROS proposes to promote sustainable development of water shortage solutions for these areas. Currently, over 230 million people live on islands or in coastal communities that lack access to fresh water. Islands are also extremely vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels. Being wave-driven and removing the need for electricity and fossil fuels, the unit is capable of operating completely off grid. SAROS aims to preserve the ecological and environmental needs of communities by reducing emissions, producing minimal salt brine concentration and removing the dependency on imported sources.
SAROS has discovered a way to harness the energy found in ocean waves and produce fresh water without the use of electricity or fossil fuels. With a focus on sustainable design, SAROS has low operating and maintenance costs and a dramatically reduced environmental impact.
Sam's Xpress Car Wash
Sam's Xpress Car Wash is consistently working to improve our environment one car at a time. They take the utmost precautions in making sure they are not only conserving water usage, but returning the water they use safely into our waterways.
Sam's Xpress Car Wash is a part of each community they have a location in. They are committed to protecting our environment in every way possible. From cleaning streams to their operations. Sam's Xpress is an all around great company who cares about their customers.