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Conservation Alliance Grantees Deliver Three Big Victories

Organizations Protect 12 Million Acres in Alaska, British Columbia, and Maine

 
PRLog - Jan. 17, 2013 - Bend, Ore. – At the turn of the new year, Conservation Alliance (http://www.conservationalliance.com/) grantees delivered three major victories that protected more than 12 million acres of land in Alaska, British Columbia, and Maine. With these successes, Conservation Alliance funding has helped save 41 million acres since 1989.

11 Million Acres in Alaska

On December 19, the Interior Department released its final management plan for the 23-million acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. This first ever plan for the reserve will guide management of the area, including energy development and conservation. The final plan calls for protection of key habitat and recreation areas within the reserve totaling a staggering 11 million acres. Two Conservation Alliance grantees, Alaska Wilderness League (http://www.alaskawild.org/) and Audubon Alaska (http://ak.audubon.org/), played a key role in securing this success.

“By protecting 11 million acres of Arctic wetlands and wildlife nurseries, this plan proves that sound energy policy and conservation can go hand in hand. And not only that, they must,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold.

One Million Acres in British Columbia

The British Columbia government announced on December 18 that Shell Oil will withdraw its plans to develop coalbed methane in the Sacred Headwaters in northwest BC. The government also announced that it will not issue oil and gas leases in the area in the future. This decision protects one million acres of wild lands that are the source of the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine Rivers, three of BCs most productive salmon streams.

“Eight years ago, northern BC communities joined together to say ‘no’ to coalbed methane and ‘yes’ to wild salmon,” said Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition executive director Shannon McPhail. “Today is an incredible day for residents of the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine watersheds.” SWCC worked closely with the region’s Tahltan First Nation to demonstrate strong support for protecting the area.  

21,870 Acres in Maine

On December 18, the Downeast Lakes Land Trust (http://www.downeastlakes.org/) and the State of Maine announced the purchase of a conservation easement on the 21,870-acres West Grand Lake Forest. The property wraps around the village of Grand Lake Stream, and is adjacent to other conservation lands, including the land trust's 33,708-acre Farm Cove Community Forest. These lands are in a broader landscape of nearly 1.4 million contiguous acres of public and private conservation lands extending across the border into New Brunswick, Canada. The West Grand Lake Forest conservation easement includes 17 miles of shoreline on three different lakes. This easement purchase extends the option agreement between the land trust and Lyme Timber Company through 2015, providing the time needed to raise the additional funds required to purchase the property outright.    

“We are proud to be a part of these impressive, grassroots conservation victories,” said Conservation Alliance Executive Director John Sterling. “Our members have proven, once again, their ability to identify and fund effective organizations that get the job done.”

The Conservation Alliance plans to contribute $1.5 million in grants in 2013, up from $1.3 million in 2012.

About the Conservation Alliance:

The Conservation Alliance is an organization of outdoor businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas.

Membership in the Alliance is open to companies representing all aspects of the outdoor industry, including manufacturers, retailers, publishers, mills and sales representatives. The result is a diverse group of businesses whose livelihood depends on protecting our natural environment.

Since its inception in 1989, the Alliance has contributed more than $11 million to grassroots conservation groups. Alliance funding has helped save more than 41 million acres of wildlands; protect 2,700 miles of rivers; stop or remove 25 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase nine climbing areas.

For complete information on the Conservation Alliance, see www.conservationalliance.com.

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