BENTONVILLE, Ark., Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Walmart's Acres for America program is helping preserve an additional 218,000 acres in four states this year for critical wildlife habitat, recreation and to maintain a sustainable forestry operation. During its first five years, Acres for America has helped preserve more than 625,000 acres in 15 states – far exceeding the program's original 10-year goal of 138,000 acres.
"The program's focus in 2010 exemplifies how strategic partnerships can improve outcomes for communities faced with extraordinary challenges," said Jennifer May-Brust, Walmart vice president of realty supplier management and compliance. "Since the inception of Acres for America in 2005, Walmart has helped connect more than 6.7 million acres of critical wildlife habitat, which is an area larger than Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island combined."
Walmart, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), created Acres for America, a 10-year, $35 million commitment to purchase and preserve one acre of wildlife habitat in the U.S. for every acre of land developed by the company. During the next five years, Walmart and NFWF will focus on preserving lands critical to protecting migration routes, iconic wildlife, watersheds and forests.
"Today, Acres for America is making sure that our most important wild places not only survive, but flourish, by protecting critical lands and waters all across the country," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director of NFWF. "These unspoiled tracts are true national treasures, and Walmart's actions are preserving them for generations to come."
This year's grants will help preserve lands in Minnesota, Wyoming, Idaho and California for wildlife, recreation and to maintain a sustainable forestry operation that supports more than 3,000 jobs.
- Jamison Ranch, Calif.: Pacific Forest Trust will use a $1 million grant from Acres to acquire an easement that will protect three tracts comprising 2,416 acres in the Sierra Valley. The Jamison ranch is unique in its abundance of water, meadowlands and wetlands and is a vital habitat for wildlife. More than 5,800 contiguous acres of working landscapes will be conserved through this project.
- Shasta Big Spring Ranch, Calif.: The Nature Conservancy will use this $750,000 grant to acquire more than 4,000 acres in the Shasta Big Spring Ranch in Northern California. The property includes six miles of Klamath River tributaries, which supply the cold water needed by Coho, Chinook and steelhead salmon to survive during annual migrations. The property is adjacent to 2,000 acres of ranches that are also protected by conservation easements.
- McArthur Lake Wildlife Corridor, Idaho: At 3,727 acres, the McArthur Lake Wildlife Corridor project preserves the narrowest and most viable link between the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak Mountain ecosystems in northern Idaho, providing a crucial connection for 1 million acres of public land. The $1 million award to The Nature Conservancy of Idaho will protect two grizzly bear recovery zones and habitat for more than two dozen species of high conservation need.
- Upper Mississippi Forest Conservation Easement, Minn.: This protects more than 60,000 acres of wetlands, streams and lakeshore habitat in Northern Minnesota critical to preserving bird species, including the ruffled grouse, American woodcock and golden-winged warbler. Additionally, the Blandin Paper Company will continue operating its sustainable forestry practices on the land, supporting more than 3,000 families in the region. The public can access the lands for hunting, hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing and berry picking.
- Carney Ranch Conservation Easement, Wyo.: Through the Acres program, a grant of $785,000 was awarded to The Conservation Fund for the 2,400-acre Carney Ranch Conservation Easement. The land is a critical part of the annual migration route of the pronghorn antelope – the second longest mammal migration route still functioning in the Western Hemisphere. Additionally, this easement is home to more than 75 animal species deemed in need of protection in Wyoming.
- Sommers-Grindstone Ranch Conservation Easement, Wyo.: This project protects more than 19,000 acres, including 7.5 miles of Green River frontage and 49.5 miles of perennial and seasonal streams. The land is a key breeding ground for the sage grouse and connects the Bridger Teton National Forest with Bureau of Land Management lands. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will manage the land.
States with lands protected under the Acres for America program include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Wyoming. When complete, the Acres for America program is expected to be one of the largest public-private partnerships in the U.S., and the first time a company has directly tied its land-use footprint to land conservation.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), or "Walmart," serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,400 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine's 2010 Most Admired Companies survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/Walmartnews. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.