CSX Makes ‘Treemendous’ Gift To Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge To Restore Habitat And Slow Rising Seas

April 20, 2011

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Photo by Nikographer/www.nikographer.com

Arlington, VA — CSX announced today the donation of 10,000 trees to Maryland’s Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge to commemorate Earth Day in partnership with The Conservation Fund. As they mature, the trees will protect the marshes and other wetlands that migratory birds and forest-dwelling wildlife depend on for clean, safe water.

Over the coming months 10,000 willow oak, white oak, pin oak and sycamore trees will be planted across the 7.5 acres within Blackwater NWR’s Longfield area. The donation from CSX completes a 40-acre restoration initiative that has been a high-priority for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) as it works to manage the 27,000-acre refuge located 12 miles south of Cambridge in Dorchester County.

“Sometimes the simplest solutions in science are to let nature get back to basics, and do what it does best—clean our air, filter our water and provide habitat for wildlife. While it’s difficult to slow sea level rise, it’s relatively easy to restore native forest habitat and quickly reap its ancillary benefits,” said Manager Suzanne Baird. “We are incredibly grateful to CSX for helping us restore these important lands for wildlife and people.”

“We are proud to have the opportunity, in a very small way, to contribute to one of the great sanctuaries of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Our donation is part of our ‘Trees for Tracks’ program—our promise to plant 21,000 trees or one tree for every mile of track in our network in the areas where the trees will make the most difference. I can think of no better place that is so critical to the area’s ecosystem,” said CSX Director of Corporate Citizenship Tori Kaplan.

Home to the American bald eagle, migratory ducks and geese, endangered Delmarva fox squirrel, globally vulnerable saltmarsh sparrow and black rail, this “Everglades of the North” faces an imminent threat from climate change. Rising sea level, salt water intrusion, erosion from wind and wave action, changes in the natural water cycle, invading animal species and powerful storm surges are already transforming this unique landscape.

“Restoration efforts like the Longfield project at Blackwater NWR are vital to improving wildlife habitat and ecosystem resilience. As these trees grow, this area will attract wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts, which is good for the environment and the economy. Thanks to the generosity of CSX and the leadership of the USFWS, we are making huge strides to improve this natural treasure,” said the Fund’s Sustainable Chesapeake Program Coordinator Joel Dunn.

Since 1985 the Fund has protected more than 7,500 acres at Blackwater NWR, 150,000 acres in Maryland and more than 315,000 acres across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

In 2010, CSX helped The Conservation Fund restore 10 acres at Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana with more than 3,100 trees as part of the Fund’s Go Zero® program. CSX’s support of the Fund in the Gulf Coast is helping to restore native forests to trap carbon dioxide emissions and provide habitat for the federally threatened Louisiana Black Bear.

Photo: (top) Blackwater NWR at sunset / Photo courtesy USFWS; (bottom) Saltmarsh sparrow / Photo: Wolfgang Wander, Wikimedia

About U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

About CSX

CSX Corporation, based in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the nation’s leading transportation companies, providing rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services. The company’s transportation network spans approximately 21,000 miles, with service to 23 eastern states and the District of Columbia, and connects to more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at the company’s web site, www.csx.com.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.

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