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Walton Family Foundation Expands its Investment in Forest and Wetland Restoration in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley

July 8, 2020
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation-led public-private partnership leverages $1.25 million grant for nearly $30 million impact

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Walton Family Foundation has awarded The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) $1.25 million to restore, enhance and protect the sensitive forest, wetland and aquatic habitats in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. NFWF and its partners have leveraged this funding to generate an additional $30 million in matching federal funds. NFWF, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and International Paper awarded eight grants through the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Restoration Fund (LMAV Fund).

“Planting more than 2 million trees and restoring more than 10,000 acres of frequently flooded lands is a win for nature and local communities,” said Paul Wolfe, program officer at the Walton Family Foundation. “This is an example of business, government and philanthropy all coming together to work with nature and finding solutions that help improve water quality while reducing the damage to communities caused by flooding.”

Over the last decade, the Walton Family Foundation has supported the restoration of more than 104,000 acres and the planting of more than 30 million trees in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, which has helped return the land to forest and wetlands for the benefits of water quality and wildlife habitat.

“These projects will help restore forests and improve hydrology within the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, the nation’s largest floodplain,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants will support healthy populations of species like the Louisiana black bear, as well as numerous forest birds and freshwater fish, while at the same time improving water quality and reducing the impacts of flooding on local communities.”

Widespread loss of forests, combined with flood control and drainage efforts, has led to critical habitat loss for wildlife, damaged water quality and resulted in frequent flooding of farmland. The Foundation supports the LMAV Fund in an effort to restore these habitats for the benefit of water quality, wildlife and the working lands that people depend on. Restoring frequently flooded farmland helps farmers focus on more highly productive land, increases farmer profitability and saves taxpayer dollars through reduced disaster payments.

The four projects being supported by Foundation funds will protect bottomland hardwood habitat under conservation easements, as well as restore the forest habitat and hydrology, and improve aquatic habitat connectivity. These projects will also provide water quality and quantity benefits, as well as sequester carbon.

Launched in 2017, the LMAV Fund is a competitive grant program that supports restoration, enhancement and management of bottomland hardwood forests and wetlands, and promotes aquatic connectivity on private and public lands. The fund’s work benefits local communities by improving forest health, enhancing wildlife habitat and increasing water quality, and supporting 35 jobs associated with these projects within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 5,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $6.1 billion. Learn more at