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Celebrating the Places That Sustain Us – and the People Who Protect Them

October 25, 2018
In our work for healthier rivers and oceans, we’re inspired by the ideas and commitment of those creating solutions to our environmental problems

A freshwater trout stream in the ranchlands of Wyoming’s high desert. A fishing village in Baja California. A corn farm in Iowa. The vast and vulnerable wetlands of the Louisiana coast.

These are the places that sustain us, places where healthy communities depend on a healthy environment for their well-being – and ours.

Over the past year, we’ve told the stories about on-the-ground work we’re supporting across the U.S. and internationally to solve some of today’s toughest environmental challenges.

Through a series of videos and articles, we showcased the special regions we’re trying to protect – and the incredible people whose commitment to conservation demonstrates the power of individuals to make a difference.

Our newest video tells the story of our Environment Program through the voices and experiences of the people whose ideas and optimism inspire.

Protecting Rivers and Oceans for the Benefit of People and the Environment
In our Environment Program, we are challenged to work with urgency to advance our goals of ensuring healthy rivers and oceans. Because of the people who share that conservation vision, we're discovering the power of individuals to make a difference.

These conservation efforts focus on protecting oceans and rivers for the benefit of people and the environment – by promoting conservation solutions that make economic sense.

In our Water in the West series, ranchers, farmers and conservationists tell their stories as they confront threats to water supply and work to create a future with flourishing rivers and tributaries throughout the Colorado River basin.

Throughout the watershed, we see a broad cultural shift underway about how water is managed. Just last year, the U.S. and Mexico signed a treaty to save enough water for over 400,000 households and restore the Colorado River Delta. And officials are on the verge of approving an agreement to secure, conserve and store water across the basin.

“There’s a lot at stake,” says Scott Yates, director of the western water and habitat program at Trout Unlimited, who is working to provide ranchers economic incentives to reduce water use.

“There are really difficult conversations occurring, creative ideas and potential solutions. Those conversations weren’t happening 15 or 20 years ago.”

Scott Yates, director of Trout Unlimited's western water and habitat program.

In our Roots of Conservation series, we hear the stories of farmers and landowners throughout the Mississippi River watershed who are adopting practices that improve water quality, build soil health and reduce pollution.

There is a revolution underway in agriculture – a growing realization that soil health is good for farmers and the environment. Already, we’ve seen better conservation practices implemented on more than 3.6 million acres of land.

“I want to make sure that the land and rivers in the Mississippi River Basin stay healthy for future generations,” explains Iowa farmer Wendy Johnson, who is diversifying her row crop operation and adding cover crops to hold nutrients and prevent soil erosion.

Wendy Johnson, Iowa farmer

Our Improving Fisheries for Healthier Oceans video shows why we believe fishing can be the sustainability success story of the 21st century.

Overfishing in the U.S. is at an all-time low and leaders in Indonesia, Chile, Peru and Mexico are taking encouraging steps towards better management of their fisheries.

These gains are being made because of people like Amy Hudson Weaver, who is working with small-scale fishermen in Mexico to restore depleted fisheries that put their livelihoods at risk.

“Fishermen have begun to get concerned about some of the trends they were seeing,” Hudson says. “Some of the fish were harder to catch. Some of the fish were less abundant.”

Amy Hudson Weaver

Finally, our Restoring the Louisiana Coast video tells the story of people and organizations who want to use the power of the Mississippi River to rebuild the Mississippi River Delta, which is losing land at an alarming rate.

In the past year, we have made huge steps forward in speeding permitting for key coastal restoration projects, paid for with oil spill recovery funds.

Robin Barnes, executive vice president of Greater New Orleans, Inc.

“It’s not just Louisiana that has something to lose,” says Robin Barnes, of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “We see making investments in our environment as a way of protecting our economic assets.”

Looking forward, we are challenged to continue working with urgency to advance our goals of ensuring healthy rivers and oceans. Because of the people who share that vision, and the alliances we’re building, I’m optimistic about what the future holds.

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