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 New Fund to Benefit Restoration of San Francisco Bay Estuary, Fish and Wildlife

May 29, 2013 -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has announced the establishment of the NFWF San Francisco Bay Estuary Conservation Fund, which is dedicated to protecting and restoring the San Francisco Bay Estuary. The fund will support projects to benefit fish, wildlife, and habitats in and around the Estuary as well as projects to improve federal, state, and local enforcement of environmental and wildlife protection laws.

The fund is intended to serve as a long-term funding source for projects to benefit the bay estuary. Its initial value of approximately $8.7 million is derived from the settlement of various criminal environmental cases prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California over the past several years. These include the settlement announced on May 28 between Walmart and the United States Department of Justice, which directs a $4.5 million community service payment to NFWF for environmental projects, initiatives, and enforcement activities designed for the benefit, preservation, and restoration of the environment, watersheds, and ecosystems in the federal judicial district for the Northern District of California.

In San Francisco, Don McGrath, Chairman of the NFWF Board of Directors, said, “This is a positive step to restore decades of harm done to the San Francisco Bay Estuary. We value the work our partners have done over the past several years to restore the Bay and are pleased to be bringing new funding to this effort.”

The fund may be augmented over time by additional monies received from the settlement of future environmental enforcement actions, private donations, certain public contributions, and investment earnings on the fund itself.  NFWF will identify and select projects to receive financial support from the fund in consultation with a panel of federal and state fish and wildlife trustee agencies.

NFWF will make an initial investment of a portion of the fund to support an important project in partnership with the State Coastal Conservancy. The project is an innovative effort to remove derelict creosote pilings from San Francisco Bay, in concert with a related effort to restore habitat for Pacific herring. The project was specifically recommended in the 2010 San Francisco Bay Subtidal Habitat Goals Report. NFWF is also developing a wider San Francisco Bay Estuary strategy to attract and guide future investments in the area. 

Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF, said, "We also acknowledge the hard work of the Department of Justice in these cases and appreciate their confidence in entrusting us with the various settlement funds."

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a Congressionally-chartered non-profit organization, is one of the largest private funders of conservation projects in the United States. It is subject to oversight by Congress and is governed by a 30-member board of directors that includes the heads of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition to its core mission of conservation grantmaking, NFWF has a longstanding history of administering settlement payments from environmental enforcement cases nationally. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.

Read the Department of Justice press release here.