Acres for America Program Awards $3.2 Million to Save Habitats and Increase Public Access to Nature
WASHINGTON, DC (November 1, 2018) - Acres for America, one of the most effective public-private partnerships in the history of U.S. conservation efforts, today announced $3.2 million in grants to protect wildlife habitats across more than 84,350 acres and increase public access to spectacular landscapes in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and Vermont.
"We know that communities across the country care deeply about wildlife and natural landscapes," said John Clarke, vice president of realty operations for Walmart. "Walmart is thrilled to help conserve these precious natural resources and proud to be a part of this landmark conservation program. We are excited about the benefits these latest projects funded by Acres for America will provide for wildlife habitats and the increased public access to these amazing natural places for the communities we serve."
These grants awarded through Acres for America, which was established by Walmart and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in 2005, will leverage an additional $70.8 million in matching contributions, pushing the total conservation impact for the 2018 grant slate to more than $74 million.
"Walmart's strong support of the Acres for America conservation program has directly contributed to the permanent protection of more than 1.4 million acres across the United States – an area larger than the Grand Canyon National Park – and a truly remarkable achievement," said Jeff Trandahl executive director and CEO of NFWF. "This program shows the power of public-private partnerships and it stands as a testament to Walmart's commitment to the communities it serves."
The grants awarded in 2018 will support the following projects:
- The Conservation Fund will spearhead a partnership with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand a waterfowl refuge located within the city of Fairbanks by 520 acres, opening public access and benefiting sandhill cranes, waterfowl and other migratory birds. (Grant amount: $135,000)
- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will permanently protect 26,144 acres of private forestland and rangeland along the coast of California, enhancing public access to the Eel River and conserving high-quality habitat for salmon and steelhead trout, tule elk and other sensitive species. (Grant amount: $500,000)
- The Trust for Public Land will purchase a conservation easement on a 22,275-acre timberland property in Montana, ensuring public access, protecting drinking water and preventing development on habitats for grizzly bears, lynx and bull trout. (Grant amount: $400,000)
- The Conservation Fund will acquire 12,376 acres of coastal prairie and marsh habitats within the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge boundary in Texas, protecting water quality, shallow aquatic habitats and emergent marshes that are essential for shorebirds and migratory waterfowl. (Grant amount: $500,000)
- The Nature Conservancy will acquire a 550-acre tract in the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas connecting more than 20,000 acres of previously protected lands along the King's River and securing habitat for 18 species found nowhere else. (Grant amount: $370,000)
- Georgia's Department of Natural Resources and additional partners will acquire a 6,065-acre property in Georgia, creating a new, publicly accessible wildlife management area, expanding longleaf pine habitat and supporting imperiled gopher tortoises and other species. (Grant amount: $500,000)
- The Nature Conservancy will purchase a conservation easement that protects 13,681 acres of high-priority longleaf pine forest in South Carolina, protecting a major drinking water source for Savannah and habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise. (Grant amount: $500,000)
- The Trust for Public Land will acquire a 2,745-acre unprotected inholding within Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest, safeguarding habitats for black bears, river otters, brook trout, bobcats and Bicknell's thrushes while increasing recreational access for hikers, cross-country skiers, hunters and anglers. (Grant amount: $300,000)
Acres for America began in 2005 when Walmart made an initial 10-year, $35 million commitment to purchase and preserve 1 acre of wildlife habitat in the United States for every acre of land developed by the company. The program has far surpassed that initial goal with more than 1.4 million acres protected in 38 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Over 14 years Acres for America has leveraged Walmart's $48 million investment with more than $652 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $700 million.
In November 2015 NFWF and Walmart announced a 10-year renewal to continue this exceptional program's work for another decade. To learn more about the Acres for America program please see this link. Additional information about the grants announced today can be found here. And a short video about Acres for America can be viewed here.
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation's wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $4.8 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.