USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Coca-Cola Americas President Steve Cahillane Friday announced a partnership jointly with the National Forest System to improve watersheds and return a billion of liters of water back to nature. The Forest System provides drinking water to nearly 60 million Americans.
The new collaboration between government, business and community organizations will leverage collective expertise to address increasing challenges on water resources, USDA said. Federal dollars spent on these projects have been matched two-to-one by Coca-Cola, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the National Forest Foundation.
"By working together, we can better protect our nation's watersheds and further enhance restoration efforts, even during challenging budget times," said Secretary Vilsack. "Today's partnership between Federal, private and non-profit partners is just one example of the strong collaboration that allows government to continue providing results for the American people."
Cahillane said the project is part of a larger effort to provide clean water for communities.
"Our experience combined with the knowledge and resources of USDA and other partners will exponentially increase efforts to create healthier, more sustainable communities for all Americans," he said.
Projects authorized Friday include wetland restoration near Chicago, eliminating evasive weeds in California, restoring natural flow of streams in New Mexico, and alleviating flooding near Lake Michigan.
Other examples of federal, business and community collaboration include restoration of fire-damaged stream channels in Colorado and meadow improvement in California.