Kay Killian, an assistant district attorney in Lincoln County, was recently presented with an award for her efforts to help preserve local lands.
The Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission named her the recipient of its 2013 “Blue Fin Award,” handed out annually to recognize local individuals or organizations that have done positive things on or around the lake to benefit it, its residents and visitors.
Killian was honored, specifically, for preserving more than 500 acres in Lincoln and Gaston counties near the lake that will help ensure high-quality drinking water throughout the Charlotte region.
“It should be as much my parents’ reward as mine,” Killian said Friday.
The land, 562 acres to be exact, has been in her family for generations, some from her mother’s side and some from her father’s.
While she said she was surprised to have been recognized by the commission, the work that earned her the honor is nothing new.
Her ancestors, early settlers in the area, had long been taking care of the property on which they lived.
“It was their way of life — to have land and farm the land,” she said.
The old family farm, part of a watershed area, will now help keep drinking water clean. It was permanently conserved with Catawba Lands Conservancy and borders Johnson Creek, the largest western tributary of Mountain Island Lake.
Overall, nearly half of the lake’s shoreline is protected through land put into conservation easements, as well as land purchased by county and state governments to protect it, according to a Marine Commission press release.
“I think I’m in really good company with previous award winners,” Killian added.
Marine Commission Chairman Kari Lanning, of Lincoln County, praised Killian’s stewardship of the lake.
“The Killian family has lived in the Mountain Island area for generations and own land that would be prized for development,” Lanning said in a statement released after the award was handed out during the group’s monthly meeting Oct. 2 in Mount Holly.
“Instead, Kay Killian and her family have put their land into conservancy, preserving it as rural and protecting the water quality of Mountain Island Lake,” Lanning added.
The Marine Commission includes members appointed from Gaston, Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties.
“Kay Killian’s protection of so much land supports the Marine Commission’s mission to preserve and protect water quality, property and wildlife, and to promote public safety on Mountain Island Lake,” Lanning said.
The lake serves as a drinking-water source for nearly one million people, the release noted.