The Nature Conservancy Praises New Department of the Interior Program to Spur Public-Private Partnerships for Conservation

ARLINGTON, VA and DENVER, CO | December 15, 2015


The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new Natural Resources Investment Center today, which intends to spur public-private partnerships for the conservation of America’s lands and waters. Leaders from across The Nature Conservancy praised the announcement, and highlighted the benefits of this kind of work from the perspectives of impact investing, on-the-ground conservation and public policy.
Marc Diaz, Managing Director of NatureVest, the impact investing unit of The Nature Conservancy, said:
“We are thrilled with the news that the U.S. Department of Interior is establishing the Natural Resource Investment Center in an effort to spur private sector investment. This new Center emerges at a moment with unprecedented opportunity to use fast-growing conservation impact investing capital to spur vital infrastructure development, water conservation, and mitigation efforts. These investment models highlight how private capital and effective policy can come together to manage our natural resources in sustainable ways that enable people and nature to thrive. This is especially significant in light of rapidly expanding development and stress on watersheds, habitats, and species in the American West.”

The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado River Program Director Taylor Hawes stated:
“The Nature Conservancy applauds the Department of the Interior on the creation of the new Natural Resources Investment Center and on continuing to provide opportunities for WaterSMART grants to share in the cost of water conservation projects in the West. The Department of the Interior has an important role in building more resilient water systems that sustain irrigated agriculture and support fish and wildlife in the face of prolonged drought in the Colorado River basin and across the western U.S. By using market-based tools and innovative public-private collaboration to conserve natural resources, enhance efficient water allocation, and promote increased investments in critical infrastructure, this new Center can help address the water supply-demand imbalance in the Colorado River basin in a way that benefits all water users, including the environment. The drought in the Colorado River basin did not happen overnight and neither will the solutions, but this Center is the right step at the right time for one of America’s great rivers.

“We encourage and support the administration’s investment in innovative approaches to water management in the Colorado River basin and the West. Today’s announcement shows that the administration is committed to collaborative water conservation programs like WaterSMART, and is willing to explore promising new ways to build the resilience of our water supplies. The Center may be especially important in setting up water banks in the West that enable voluntary and compensated water transfers for the extensive water projects constructed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

“The Nature Conservancy looks forward to working with the Center and Interior to develop and promote innovative water banking and financing solutions that benefit people and nature in the Colorado River basin.”

Lynn Scarlett, Managing Director for Global Public Policy at The Nature Conservancy, added:
“The Nature Conservancy has expressed strong support for the Administration’s work on mitigating the impacts from development on natural resources, and on encouraging private investment in protecting and restoring nature. Establishment of this Center will create more opportunities to enhance the role of the private sector in the restoration economy.”

You can learn more about The Nature Conservancy at, the NatureVest program at and the Colorado River Program at

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Lindsay Schlageter (Colorado River Basin)

Kirsten Ullman (NatureVest)

Heather Layman (U.S. policy)


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