BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is working hard to improve its image with its latest announcement that its Acres for America program is conserving an additional 300 acres of land to protect and restore wildlife habitats in the heart of U.S. cities, including Bridgeport, Chicago, Portland, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.
"Walmart is proud to help protect and restore important natural habitats in communities that we serve," says Jennifer May-Brust, Walmart VP realty supplier management and compliance. "The Acres for America program exemplifies our commitment to sustainable development as it directly links our land use to land preservation. Our urban restoration projects often times involve volunteers, including our customers and associates, and provide a way for people to connect with and enjoy nature right in their backyard."
In 2011, Walmart expanded its Acres for America investments to include urban conservation projects in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles. The awards announced this week will support additional projects in Bridgeport, Chicago, Portland, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.involve community volunteers in enhancing habitat quality in the wetland by restoring native vegetation, which will benefit fish and bird populations in the Tualatin River system.
The 2012 Acres for America urban projects are:
Pequonnock River Fish Passage, Bridgeport, Conn.
Partner: Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound
This project in the heart of Bridgeport will install a fish ladder in the Pequonnock River, providing safe passage for river herring, trout, sunfish, eel and perch through a highly urbanized area. It will mitigate the damaging effects of a highway construction project that paved a part of the stream channel.
Eggers Grove Marsh Restoration, Chicago, Ill.
Partner: The Field Museum/Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Volunteers will remove invasive species, sow native plant seeds and maintain trails in Eggers Grove, a 205-acre preserve on the Illinois-Indiana border. The marsh and woodland along Lake Michigan is a rare example of the region's natural ecosystem and is an important habitat for migratory and nesting birds.
Nyberg Creek Wetland Restoration, Portland, Ore.
Partner: Wetlands Conservancy
The Nyberg Creek Wetland lies along I-5, the major transportation corridor in Oregon. This 13-acre project will involve community volunteers in enhancing habitat quality in the wetland by restoring native vegetation, which will benefit fish and bird populations in the Tualatin River system.
Otay Delta Habitat Restoration, San Diego, Calif.
Partner: River Partners
Located near several trail systems and the Bayshore Bikeway, this project focuses on 65 acres where the Otay River meets San Diego Bay. Community, state, federal and local agencies will collaborate on a restoration of the area that will benefit local residents and four endangered species of birds.
In addition to these four projects, Walmart will award an additional grant to support the Anacostia River Revitalization Fund in Washington, D.C. The Fund supports projects that improve water quality, benefit public health and local economic development, and provide outdoor recreation and volunteer opportunities in the nation's capital. Partners include the Washington, D.C. Department of the Environment and federal agencies.