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Walmart gets in on conservation effort

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart’s Acres for America program, a conservation partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is working on new projects in Arkansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Maine and Oregon.

The program’s mission is to protect priority lands across the country by helping to preserve wildlife habitats while providing recreational opportunities for local residents. By conserving the nation’s open land and natural resources, the program aims to benefit not only wildlife but also local economies. 

Since 2005, Walmart has worked with NFWF to establish 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. 

The program has protected critical habitats for birds, fish, plants and wildlife and says that it has far surpassed its original goals. To date, Acres for America has invested in projects in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

The new sites bring the total acres protected through the program to more than 800,000.

“These new Acres for America projects build on the conservation successes of our continued partnership with Walmart,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “From the Ozarks to Oregon, they protect the open spaces that wildlife need and provide abundant economic and recreational resources for residents.”   

“Walmart is proud to work with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation thru the Acres for America program,” said Jennifer May-Brust, VP and general counsel of real estate at Walmart. “Supporting the projects brought to life thru the Acres program reflects our value and commitment to helping our customers live better.”

New Acres for America projects include the following: 

Devil’s Eyebrow Preserve: Benton County, Arkansas 

Partners: The Nature Conservancy and Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission

The Devil’s Eyebrow Preserve on Beaver Lake, Arkansas, is a 1,950-acre lakefront parcel that harbors a rich diversity of wildlife and plants native to the Ozark region. In addition to 12 different varieties of hardwood trees, it contains several live springs, underground caves and aquifers.

Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge: Albuquerque, New Mexico 

Partners: Trust for Public Land 

The new Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico is part of Acres for America’s urban component. The 390-acre acquisition will protect and restore priority wildlife habitat for sandhill cranes and other wildlife. Just 5 miles south of Albuquerque, the property along the Rio Grande will form the basis for the new Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. 

Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary: Platte River, Nebraska 

Partners: National Audubon Society

In Nebraska, a 577-acre addition to an existing wildlife refuge will support the largest population of sandhill cranes (more than 100,000) and other birds in the Central Platte River Valley during spring migration. 

Brule-St. Croix Legacy Forest: Northwestern Wisconsin

Partners: The Conservation Fund and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

A new Acres project in northwestern Wisconsin will protect 1,477 acres of globally significant pine barrens. The parcel is the capstone of the largest conservation project in Wisconsin history. 

White Mountains to Moosehead Lake Initiative: New Hampshire and Western Maine

Partners: The Trust for Public Land

A combination of three transactions in New Hampshire and western Maine will permanently protect 49,227 acres of critical forest, lakes, streams and wetlands habitat.

Headwaters of the John Day: Central Oregon 

Partners: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 

In Oregon, 13,073 acres of timberland adjacent to the Malheur National Forest will preserve more than 35 miles of critical habitat for Chinook salmon and other species and help maintain an important wildlife corridor. 

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