USACE, Conservation Fund announce nationwide partnership to protect water resources

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WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 22, 2010 -- Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy and Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund, gathered today on the shores of the Anacostia River to sign a memorandum of understanding announcing a partnership that will promote enhanced conservation and balanced management of the nation's water resources and sustainable development in adjacent communities.

"Today's ceremony builds on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' long history of working with The Conservation Fund," said Darcy. "We look forward to continuing to partner with the Fund in finding sustainable water and land management solutions that benefit both the needs of nature and the present and future needs of our human communities."

"This partnership recognizes the indispensable service of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in overseeing the nation's rivers, harbors, wetlands and coasts," said Selzer. "The Conservation Fund is proud to enlist as a nationwide partner to help with the Corps' growing efforts to restore and enhance our aquatic resources for the benefit of communities and nature."

Through this partnership, USACE and The Conservation Fund will look to:

• Conserve freshwater, estuarine and coastal water resources and the native plant and animal communities associated with them;
• Promote greater use of green infrastructure, non-structural approaches to flood protection and stormwater mitigation;
• Promote innovative, effective responses to climate change that will maintain healthy water resources and associated natural communities;
• Encourage water management approaches that benefit both natural and human communities; and
• Develop understanding and skills at all levels in public and private sectors needed to preserve the health of the nation's water resources.

This effort builds on years of collaboration between USACE and The Conservation Fund on an increasing number of projects with significant value to the nation, including:

• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Conservation Fund announce nationwide partnership to protect water resources/2-2-2
• Protection of 2,400 acres and nearly seven miles of river frontage along the Missouri River in Wynot, Nebraska, as part of USACE's Missouri River Recovery Program;
• Creation of mitigation banks in Mississippi and Texas that compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands with the restoration and permanent protection of more than 21,000 acres;
• Establishment of compensatory mitigation program protecting more than 35,000 acres of Alaskan wetlands and adjacent habitat since 1998;
• Conducting national training for federal and state wetland protection teams;
• Management of a wetlands conservation account that used Clean Water Act penalty funds to restore thousands of acres of wetlands in northeastern Illinois.

Today's ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Earth Conservation Corps, a local nonprofit organization that engages youth in the restoration of the Anacostia River. Their headquarters provided an ideal location to illustrate how restoring nature and protecting natural aquatic functions provides clean water and places to recreate and connect with nature.

About U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is comprised of about 37,000 civilian and military employees who serve the Armed Forces and the Nation by providing vital public engineering services and capabilities across the full spectrum of operations -- from peace to war -- in support of national interests.

About The Conservation Fund
The Conservation Fund is dedicated to advancing America's land and water legacy. With our partners, we conserve land, train leaders and invest in conservation at home. Since 1985, we have helped protect more than 6 million acres, sustaining wild havens, working lands and vibrant communities. We're a top-ranked conservation organization, effective and efficient. www.conservationfund.org

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