February 26, 1998

Diana M. Hawkins or

Vicki M. Boatwright



The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced, this week, that it has awarded $330,000 in challenge grants for six river restoration projects in the southeastern United States.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southeast Regional Director, Sam Hamilton, the grants are being made available through the Foundation's Restore Our Southern Rivers program a coalition of public and private organizations, whose members include the Service, the Foundation, the USDA-Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and corporate members, Alcoa Foundation and Philip Morris Companies Inc.

Although rivers in the Southeast are among the world's most biologically diverse freshwater systems, Hamilton said, he noted that the diverse plants and animals that make these rivers unique are threatened by sedimentation, pollution, and commercial development.

Projects slated to receive 1998 Restore Our Southern Rivers grants include:

Hamilton praised the Foundation for sponsoring the Restore Our Southern Rivers program and its recent efforts to expand this initiative. He stated, "We are extremely pleased that the Foundation is working to draw public attention to the unique resources in the rivers of the Southeast. Their actions are assisting us substantially in our aquatic restoration efforts, demonstrating clearly that working in partnership with others will prove to be the best way to help reverse the years of aquatic degradation our rivers have endured."

Funding for the 1998 Restore Our Southern Rivers grants includes more than$144,000 provided by five federal agencies and an additional $186,000 in private matching funds. These private funds are contributions from local communities, conservation organizations, states, and industry and represent a major willingness on behalf of all partners to actively work together to improve aquatic environmental conditions.

The objectives of the program include: restoring, protecting, and enhancing important aquatic, wetland, and riparian habitats; improving water quality; demonstrating practical ways for private landowners to implement best management practices; and fostering holistic, watershed approaches to conservation, that benefit multiple wildlife species as well as human communities. Proposals for Restore Our Southern Rivers projects must be submitted each year to the Foundation by October 1.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was established by an act of Congress in 1984 and is dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife, and plants. Its goals are environmental education, natural resource management, habitat protection, and ecosystem restoration. The Foundation meets these goals by developing partnerships between the public and private sectors and supporting conservation activities that address the root causes of environmental problems.


Release #: R98-011

1998 News Releases

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