U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Conservation Fund Renew National Support for Go Zero®

September 28, 2010

cypress swamp

Mingo NWR. Photo by Chita Middleton.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Conservation Fund today announced the renewal of a national agreement using private donations to plant native trees on public lands to benefit wildlife and help fight climate change.

The agreement, which renews on October 1, will ensure that all 552 national wildlife refuges can continue to participate in the Fund’s Go Zero® program.

“Since 2000, The Conservation Fund has made it possible for us to restore significant pieces of our great forests, especially the bottomland hardwoods of the Lower Mississippi River Valley,” says the Service’s Acting Director, Rowan Gould. “With this five-year renewal of the agreement, we are committed to expanding our partnership coast to coast. When forests return after decades of being cleared, wildlife returns as well. Trees are also nature’s carbon eaters and help us combat climate change. We are extremely grateful to The Conservation Fund for helping us make a difference.”

To date, the combined efforts of Go Zero and carbon-based forest programs created through the Fund’s partnerships with the utility industry have restored 30,000 acres of national wildlife refuge lands with eight million trees. As the forests mature, they are expected to trap the equivalent of more than nine million tons of CO2.

Through its voluntary carbon offset program, Go Zero, the Fund works with companies and individuals to help reduce—and then offset—the carbon footprint or amount of CO2 produced by a person or organization at a given time. Examples of efforts with current partners include reducing and offsetting the carbon footprint of everyday activities such as a move with U-Haul, a flight purchased from Travelocity, a package shipped from Gaiam or electricity used to power a Dell notebook for three years. Customer donations help plant native trees in protected parks and national wildlife refuges to capture and store carbon over time, while also creating vital forest habitats critical to birds, fish, and other wildlife.

“At a time of increased pressure on federal and state budgets for land conservation, Go Zero donors are providing new, private capital used to further conserve and restore our nation’s land and water legacy,” says The Conservation Fund’s president, Larry Selzer. “We are thrilled by the renewal of our national partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and remain committed to restoring the very best of our nation’s native forestland on behalf of the American people and its wildlife.”

From efforts at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri—the location of the program’s one millionth tree—to the newest and largest undertaking at Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana, the Service works closely with Go Zero staff to identify its highest priority locations for restoration.

To learn more about Go Zero and upcoming restoration efforts at Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge, contact Martha Nudel at Martha_Nudel@fws.gov, or Jena Thompson Meredith, jmeredith@conservationfund.org. To view a video on the program click here.

About the U.S. Fish & 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 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.