Erik Meyers, Vice President of Climate and Water Sustainability at the Conservation Fund, shared the following:
The Conservation Fund’s current priorities: Since its 1985 founding, The Conservation Fund has focused on building strong partnerships with government, business and other non-profit organizations to protect the places and natural resources that matter. We strive to demonstrate the economic and social vitality that comes from effective conservation and use of land, water and natural resources. Our current top priorities include safeguarding America’s forestlands, empowering underserved urban and rural communities to be more resilient to climate change and economic changes, and working with partners at federal, state and local levels on accomplishing their top land and water conservation goals to serve current and future generations.
Geographic areas the Conservation Fund works in: The Conservation Fund works across the nation in all 50 states, and our work spans the spectrum from remote communities such as Pedro Bay, Alaska, to recovering urban watersheds in Atlanta, Georgia. Notably, we are working to protect source waters and watersheds that millions of Americans rely on for plentiful clean water for households, agriculture and essential infrastructure that also supply vital habitat for native fish and wildlife.
How the Conservation Fund connects with Urban Waters: The Conservation Fund is an active partner in four current Urban Waters locations and other similar locations. Importantly, the Fund advocates for integration of natural green infrastructure with more traditional grey engineered solutions as the most effective One Water approach, particularly given the dual challenges of climate change and continued land development in our cities and urban watersheds.
Favorite part(s) of the watershed: Whether it is an urban river providing recreational access, a rural floodplain and wetland complex teaming with wildlife, or a tidally influenced estuarine marsh buffering coastal communities from storms and rising sea levels, we find great opportunities to shape solutions that provide watershed protection, learning, restoration and enjoyment for people.
Favorite accomplishment to date: We have been thrilled by the positive community response to the equitable development opportunities created by urban park and green infrastructure projects such as Kathryn Johnston Memorial and Lindsay Street Parks in Atlanta, Marlborough Terrace in Kansas City, and Garrett Park in Baltimore. We are excited by the progress in building coalitions to protect the Neuse River in North Carolina’s Triangle Area, the bi-state Blue River watershed in Kansas and Missouri, and the headwaters of the Flint River in metropolitan Atlanta. And we take particular pride in the thousands of acres of wetlands and floodplains we have conserved as the implementation partner for Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Greenseams® Program.