National Forest water restoration, replenishment projects provide sustainable delivery to downstream users in California
Release Date: Sep 18, 2013
VALLEJO, Calif. – The U.S. Forest Service, along with the Coca-Cola Company, National Forest Foundation and other partners, have two watershed-focused restoration projects planned for this fall in California. The Eldorado National Forest will conduct meadow restoration activities, Sept. 26, while the Angeles National Forest will host an invasive species removal event, Oct. 19. The combined efforts of these organizations, and other key collaborators like American Rivers and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will help restore watersheds that supply local communities.
“We intend to build on existing partnerships and explore new ways to accomplish collaborative Ecological Restoration work,” said Randy Moore, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester. “We are focusing on restoration actions so that the land will be better able to adjust and thrive in the face of climate change and large scale disturbances such as fire, drought and insect and disease attacks.”
Beginning on Sept. 26, the Forest Service and its partners will be revisiting a 2012 project that was completed at Indian Valley on the Eldorado National Forest. This “Return to Indian Valley” restoration project, which will involve volunteers planting willows and various handwork, is an example of how the partnership continues to give back to the local communities. The project offers volunteers a chance to return to the project site and see the fruits of their labor.
Indian Valley is in the headwaters of the Mokelumne River Watershed. The watershed accounts for 94 percent of the East Bay Municipal Utility District water supply impacting much of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, which includes Coca-Cola’s San Leandro bottling facility. This project enables Coca Cola to restore and replenish the water they use for their products, while helping the Forest Service and NFWF restore natural habitats.
“As a leading catalyst for meadow restoration across the Sierra, American Rivers is excited to advance a strong partnership to show how restoration improves water supply and river health,” said Luke Hunt, director of headwaters conservation, American Rivers. “With roughly a quarter of meadows in the Mokelumne watershed in need of restoration, this project is an excellent step forward.”
Less than one month later, on Oct. 19, an Invasive Species Removal project will take place on the Angeles National Forest. Volunteers from Coca Cola’s Los Angeles facility will spend the day assisting NFF and Forest Service staff in the manual removal of invasive plants in Big Tujunga Canyon that impact riparian areas by stealing water from native vegetation.
Restoring natural habitats and replenishing water is vital for this forest’s project site because approximately 13 million people live within an hour’s drive of the Angeles National Forest. The Los Angeles Basin relies on the forest for 33 percent of their drinking water and 72 percent of their open space. This project is an extension of the restoration work that the NFF has been implementing on the Angeles National Forest as part of their Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences conservation campaign.
“The National Forest Foundation is thrilled to continue our partnership with Coca-Cola to accomplish this important work on the backyard national forest of Los Angeles,” said Bill Possiel, president of the National Forest Foundation.
“This project reflects Coca-Cola’s stewardship toward achieving water balance through diverse, locally-focused community water projects,” said Tim Heinen, vice president of field operations for Coca-Cola. “By 2020, we are on track to safely return to communities and nature an amount of water equal to what we use in our finished beverages and their production.”
The projects follow the formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Coca-Cola, which occurred Sept. 13, at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington, Ill. The MOU enhances the existing premier water stewardship partnership between Coca-Cola, NFF and the Forest Service.
The Forest Service, NFF and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, began working with Coca-Cola in 2011, as they began to expand partnerships to restore watersheds and forested lands across the U.S. Coca-Cola is pursuing water replenishment goals, while the Forest Service, NFF and the NFWF are ensuring healthier ecosystems and an ample, clean, drinking water supply.
From 2012-2013, Coca-Cola will have invested more than $600,000 in six different restoration projects within the National Forest System, with investments being leveraged by the National Forest Foundation, which has committed more than $200,000 in 2013. Additionally, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation also invested $150,000 in 2012 on two restoration projects.
“We are very pleased to have received such generous contributions from Coca-Cola and the National Forest Foundation,” Moore said. “These partners and others, such as American Rivers, make these efforts possible.”
For more information:
Indian Valley Meadow Restoration Project: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/r5/workingtogether/?cid=stelprdb5390138&width=full
Coca-Cola’s 2013 Water Stewardship Replenish Report:
Big Tujunga Canyon Restoration
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