The partnership between NiSource and The Nature Conservancy is part of NiSource’s Direct e-Bill campaign that encourages its residential and commercial customers to sign up for free paperless billing. During the three-month campaign, each customer who signed up triggered a donation to support local freshwater conservation projects in their state. In total, 18,883 customers across five states signed up during the campaign – including more than 8,200 in Ohio.
"We're continuing our commitment to environmental stewardship across the company," said Columbia Gas of Ohio President Jack Partridge. "This partnership is a great opportunity for our utility customers to support local conservation programs, while also saving themselves time and money."
Today Partridge presented Josh Knights, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, a check for $95,750. The ceremony was held at Columbia’s downtown Columbus headquarters. The funds will help the Conservancy improve water quality, restore a biologically diverse stream, and balance commerce and nature on the Ohio River.
“Although fresh water covers only a tiny fraction of Earth’s surface, it sustains all life outside of the oceans,” Knights said. “This generous gift from Columbia Gas and its customers will help protect fresh water for the people of Ohio and the nature they enjoy.
“With the help of gifts like this, the Conservancy is working to improve fresh water resources in Lake Erie, the Big Darby Creek, and the Ohio River,” Knights said.
In central Ohio, the Conservancy is improving the health of Big Darby Creek State and National Scenic River by reversing decades of channel modifications at its 800-acre Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve. NiSource funds will help the Conservancy reestablish the river’s winding course and provide habitat diversity for more than 30 fish species.
In northwest Ohio, the Conservancy is developing solutions in the Western Lake Erie Basin to the problem of agricultural runoff, which spoils fish spawning grounds and causes harmful algal blooms. NiSource funds will help the Conservancy pioneer innovative farm practices and advocate for incentive programs as well as common-sense regulations to curtail harmful fertilizer and sediment runoff.
The Conservancy is also working with state and federal agencies to restore more natural flows along 300 miles of the Ohio River, which is segmented by a series of locks and dams. NiSource funds will help the Conservancy change the operation of locks and dams in an effort to increase the size and health of fish and mussel populations without hampering river barge traffic
In addition to the customer-driven campaign, the NiSource Charitable Foundation contributed $100,000 to The Nature Conservancy to support its ongoing freshwater conservation efforts in five states, including Ohio, for or a total contribution of $200,000.
Signing-up for Direct E-bill is Simple and Free
Columbia Gas of Ohio’s free electronic billing service is a convenient way customers can manage their account and help the environment at the same time. Instead of getting a paper bill in the mail, customers receive an e-mail notification that their gas bill is available to view on Columbia’s Web site the same day it’s rendered.
Customers can pay their bill online at no charge and perform other business on their account, too, such as signing up for the Budget Payment Plan. The e-mail notification also includes a link to electronic versions of monthly bill inserts, customer newsletters and other important account information.
According to a recent survey, the average household receives approximately 19 bills and statements and makes approximately seven paper payments per month. Collectively, the production and transportation of those paper bills, statements and payments consume nine million trees, 755 million pounds of paper and 512 million gallons of gasoline.
Visit www.columbiagasohio.com and select “Manage Your Account” to sign up for the free paperless Direct e-Bill service. Learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to conserve and protect the world’s fresh water supply at Nature.org.
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.