Acres for America program now totals 624,000 acres
SAN FRANCISCO – August 25, 2010 – Protection of more than 4,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat in northern California, funded in part by Walmart’s Acres for America program in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), is yielding encouraging results for the region’s salmon population.
A recent report by scientists at the University of California-Davis Center for Watershed Sciences shows ”very positive” signs of the fish’s rebound in several streams providing cold water to the Shasta and Klamath rivers. The findings come just over one year after The Nature Conservancy’s purchase of the Shasta Big Springs Ranch. The property includes six miles of Klamath River tributaries, which supply the cold water needed by coho, Chinook and steelhead salmon during their annual migrations upriver. The $14 million dollar purchase in 2009 was aided by a $750,000 grant from Walmart’s Acres for America program.
To date, the Acres for America program has protected approximately 624,000 acres across the United States, including remarkable places like the Shasta Big Springs Ranch.
“This is an excellent example of how a priority restoration project can have relatively immediate results,” said Carson Jeffres, the lead scientist on the project. “Scientists, conservationists and agencies have long agreed that protecting these spring-fed streams had great potential. As our findings indicate, this is an important piece of the bigger puzzle of salmon restoration.”
“Acres for America is another example of Walmart creating partnerships with organizations that share our commitment to sustainability and making a difference beyond our direct operations,” said Matt Kistler, senior vice president of sustainability for Walmart. “We are committed to protecting lands like Shasta Big Springs Ranch for future generations, while also protecting sites for wildlife and recreation.”
“Safeguarding these lands and streams is essential for the survival of salmon in the region,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director of NFWF. “With the support of Walmart, we’re protecting habitat for this important species and demonstrating how we can work together on conservation priorities.”
“It is going to take a continued concerted effort among conservation partners to successfully restore the once vital fishery of the Shasta River but there are real signs of progress,” said Amy Hoss, project manager for The Nature Conservancy’s lower Klamath Project. “The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Acres for America program are protecting important lands and waters.”
This year marks the halfway point of Walmart’s 10-year, $35 million commitment to purchase one acre of wildlife habitat in the U.S. for every acre of land developed by the company. These projects have helped Acres for America connect 7.5 million acres of conservation lands. During the next five years, Walmart and NFWF will focus on preserving lands critical to protecting migration routes, wildlife, watersheds, and forests.
States with lands protected under the Acres for America program include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Wyoming. When complete, the Acres for America program is expected to be one of the largest public-private partnerships in the U.S., and the first time a company has directly tied its land-use footprint to land conservation.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. or “Walmart,” serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,400 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.0 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine’s 2009 Most Admired Companies survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.
About The Shasta Big Springs Ranch
The 4,543-acre Shasta Big Springs Ranch in northern California is a collaborative project between The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Game to restore salmon and steelhead habitat in the Shasta River and Lower Klamath Basin. The project has also been aided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the NOAA Fisheries Service as well as the Acres for America program, a partnership between Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
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