USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Coca-Cola North America President Sandy Douglas announced their partnership to restore and protect damaged watersheds on national forests achieved a milestone of one billion liters of water restored. Both parties say the partnership will continue and committed to doubling that outcome through 2018.
The 13 restoration areas are located on national forest land, which provides drinking water to more than 60 million Americans.
“This milestone that Coca-Cola, USDA and our partners have reached is just the latest example of how partnerships between the public and private sectors can reach more people, harness more innovation, and do more good than either government or businesses can achieve alone,” Vilsack says. “America's 193 million acres of public forests and grasslands supply the drinking water for 60 million Americans, support approximately 200,000 full and part time jobs and contribute over $13 billion to local communities each year.
This public-private partnership includes community organizations and taps their collective expertise to address increasing stress on water resources during challenging budget times. Dozens of local communities and hundreds of volunteers and youth worked together on water resource management education and stewardship activities.
The Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico is an example of the public-private partnerships approach. Local partners worked together to help restore an alpine meadow and enhanced a natural wetland habitat. By slowing the flow of Placer Creek, a tributary of the Rio Grande, the local team helped to restore a biodiverse meadow habitat and replenish the groundwater that contributes to the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico's water supply. The meadow restoration project is expected to replenish approximately 49 million liters of water per year.
More information on each of the projects can be found here.