This spring, a nationwide conservation partnership between NFWF and Walmart embarks on its ten-year anniversary with a notable distinction: it has achieved more than six times its original -- and ambitious -- goal.
Acres for America was launched in April 2005 as a decade-long, $35 million commitment to purchase and preserve one acre of wildlife habitat in the United States for every acre of land developed by Walmart, a number then estimated at 138,000 acres. The program's vision was to protect and restore critical habitats for birds, fish, plants and wildlife. At the same time, it would provide access for people to enjoy the outdoors and support rural economies that depended on forestry, ranching and recreation.
Today, with 55 projects in 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, Acres for America has grown to become one of the most effective partnerships in the history of U.S. conservation. Over the last decade, NFWF has partnered with others to protect more than 850,000 acres of open space -- an area the size of Yosemite National Park -- for wildlife, ensuring that this priceless natural heritage will endure for future generations.
Project locations span the country and include some of America’s most iconic landscapes: the Grand Canyon, the Ozarks, the Yellowstone ecosystem, the lakes of Maine, and the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the acquisitions connect existing protected lands in order to unify wild places and wildlife migration routes. Others protect pristine trout streams, forests and wetlands. And all are home to important native species -- from grizzly bears to bats, Golden-winged warblers, Coho salmon, and whooping cranes -- that need wild spaces in order to survive.
To date, investments from Acres for America have leveraged more than $323 million in additional conservation funds from other partners, which has greatly increased the impact of the program.
“Although much of the land along the giant crevasse of the north rim of the Grand Canyon has been protected, huge portions are still vulnerable to subdivision, development and drought. Protecting the Kane and Two Mile ranches secured a vast landscape that connected three national monuments, two national recreation areas and eight wilderness areas.” said Mike Ford, Southwest Director for The Conservation Fund.
Learn details about Acres for America projects.
Read more about the Acres for America program.