The Nature Conservancy applauds the members of the Gulf Task Force on their comprehensive vision for the Restoration of the Gulf of Mexico and particularly commends the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) new 3-year, $50 million Gulf of Mexico Initiative. Announced this morning, the new initiative, which builds on past and existing successful local projects, will help agricultural landowners improve water quality, increase water conservation and enhance wildlife habitat in watersheds that drain directly into the Gulf of Mexico.
“This is exciting news for the Gulf,” said Kacky Andrews, the Conservancy’s Director of Oceans and Coasts Conservation, “and the Conservancy commends the NRCS and the many others who continue to make Gulf restoration a priority. We look forward to continuing to support their efforts from Florida to Texas.”
The Gulf of Mexico Initiative is designed to implement sustainable agricultural and wildlife habitat management systems that maintain agricultural productivity and help prevent saltwater intrusion into fresh water systems that can include local drinking wells. Additionally, the work on the land will help to protect and restore shoreline environments, especially estuaries that are the cradles of the Gulf’s lucrative fisheries.
“The Gulf of Mexico faces many challenges,” said Andrews. “NRCS’s leadership and commitment to the Gulf will be key to a strong beginning for the work ahead. As the Gulf Task Force announces its strategy for restoration, the NRCS offers an inspiring example of how everyone with a stake here can play a part in helping to create a better future for the Gulf and the 24 million people who live and work here.”
The Nature Conservancy has a long and successful history working with the NRCS and local agricultural producers around the country, from the Glacial Ridge project that helps to protect drinking water for the town of Crookston, Minnesota to coastal forest and stream restoration along the Jourdan River in Mississippi.
For more information, you can download the NRCS press release here (PDF).
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.