Department of the Interior
|Office of the Secretary
Contact: Hugh Vickery
|April 12, 2005
Norton Commends National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Wal-Mart for Landmark Partnership to Protect Wildlife Habitat
(WASHINGTON) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton today commended the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wal-Mart for developing an innovative conservation partnership under which the company will contribute $35 million over the next 10 years to conserve and protect vital wildlife habitat across the country.
Under the "Acres for America" program, Wal-Mart pledges to conserve at least 138,000 acres of habitat, equal to the footprint of all its stores and facilities in the United States. However, the amount of habitat actually conserved will be much higher, as the Foundation already has reached an agreement to acquire more than 6,000 acres to be added to Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana and a permanent conservation easement on more than 312,000 acres of forests, rivers and wetlands in Maine.
"'Acres for America' demonstrates the power of cooperative conservation and partnership," Norton said at a ceremony at the National Geographic Society. "With its generous contribution, Wal-Mart is empowering the foundation to protect and restore important areas of wildlife habitat that otherwise might never be conserved. The company is setting a standard of corporate stewardship that I hope other companies will emulate."
The foundation, established by Congress in 1984 as a private non-profit conservation organization, will raise $35 million from other partners to match Wal-Mart's contribution, boosting the overall total to $70 million.
"We are very excited to partner with Wal-Mart to build a premier land stewardship model for the next generation," said NFWF Executive Director John Berry.
The foundation's board identified five initial projects to be funded under "Acres for America":
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