Walmart Helps To Revitalize Otay River Delta
Grantee of National Acres for America Program Restoring Urban Wildlife Habitats
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Diego, Calif., May 10, 2012 - Walmart's Acres for America program is supporting efforts to restore 55 acres of riparian habitat at the western terminus of the Otay River watershed, in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and River Partners. As a result of this restoration project, more recreational space will be available to Otay River Delta visitors, as well as the residents of Chula Vista and bikers who utilize the "San Diego Bayshore Bikeway."
The project site, which is located directly west of Interstate 5 on the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), South San Diego Bay Unit, is situated immediately upstream of the point where the Otay River enters San Diego Bay. Restoration efforts will include replacing non-native vegetation in the habitat with structurally diverse, native plants that will support a variety of neotropical migratory birds as well as an array of other native wildlife.
"Walmart's dedication to support the preservation of San Diego's Otay River is a perfect example of companies pitching in to do what's right for our natural habitats," said John Carlon of River Partners. "While San Diego may be known for its beaches, it is critical we do all in our power to protect the many rivers, lagoons, and tributaries that give this region its reputation for natural beauty and diverse wildlife."
Across the country, Walmart's Acres for America program is conserving 250 acres of land to protect and restore wildlife habitats in the heart of our nation's regions, including Bridgeport, Chicago, Portland, and Washington in addition to the San Diego project. The announcement is part of an ongoing effort to conserve the nation's most precious lands and natural resources to benefit people, wildlife and local economies.
"Walmart is proud to help protect and restore important natural habitats in communities that we serve," says Jennifer May-Brust, Walmart vice president of realty supplier management and compliance. "The Acres for America program exemplifies our commitment to sustainable development as it directly links our land use to land preservation. Our urban restoration projects often times involve volunteers, including our customers and associates, and provide a way for people to connect with and enjoy nature right in their backyard."
Since 2005, Walmart has worked with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to establish Acres for America, a 10-year, $35 million commitment to purchase and preserve one acre of wildlife habitat in the U.S. for every acre of land developed by the company. The program has protected critical habitats for birds, fish, plants and wildlife and far surpassed its original goals, becoming one of the country's most effective conservation partnerships. To date, Acres for America has invested in projects in 25 states and the District of Columbia, protecting nearly 680,000 acres.
"Protecting and restoring streams, woodlands and other natural places in our urban areas is a vital part of the Acres for America mission," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "Walmart's support of these projects directly benefits areas that are home to both wildlife and people, and makes our cities more livable for everyone."
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. States with lands protected or restored under the Acres for America program include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming, in addition to the District of Columbia.
About River Partners
Founded in 1998, River Partners' mission has been to create wildlife habitat for the benefit of people and the environment. The organization has been recognized with numerous awards: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Restoration Leadership Award in 2004, the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2005, the James Irvine Leadership Award in 2007, the Floodplain Management Association's Award for Excellence in 2008, among others. River Partners has a successful track record of implementing over $55 million in ecosystem restoration projects in critical floodplain areas. In this process we have installed more than one million trees and native plants and worked with virtually every state and federal agency involved in ecological restoration. River Partners is a leader in the field, and we continually develop new and innovative methods for large‐scale restoration. Our work spans 11 watersheds in California, including the Sacramento‐San Joaquin River System, San Diego's Otay River watershed, and the Lower Colorado River. We are headquartered in Chico, CA with offices in Modesto, CA, and San Diego County. www.RiverPartners.org.
About the San Diego Bay NWR
The San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge protects a rich diversity of endangered, threatened, migratory, and native species and their habitats in the midst of a highly urbanized coastal environment. Waterfowl and shorebirds over-winter or stop here to feed and rest as they migrate along the Pacific Flyway. Enhanced and restored wetlands provide new, high quality habitat for fish, birds, and coastal salt marsh plants, such as the endangered salt marsh bird's beak plant, or the Light-footed Clapper Rail. Quiet nesting areas, buffered from adjacent urbanization, ensure the reproductive success of the threatened western snowy plover, endangered California least tern, and an array of ground nesting seabirds and shorebirds. The San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge also provides the public with the opportunity to observe birds and wildlife in their native habitats and to enjoy and connect with the natural environment. Informative environmental education and interpretation programs expand the public's awareness of the richness of the wildlife resources of the Refuge. The Refuge serves as a haven for wildlife and the public to be treasured by this and future generations.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at 10,130 retail units under 69 different banners in 27 countries. With fiscal year 2012 sales of $444 billion, Walmart employs about 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.
About the National Fdish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
Established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) sustains, restores and enhances the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, it has awarded over 11,600 grants to more than 4,000 organizations and leveraged $576 million in federal funds into $2.1 billion for on-the-ground conservation. To learn more, visit www.nfwf.org.