DuPont Company on October 10 announced a pledge of $250,000 to The Nature Conservancy in an effort to improve water quality in vital Midwestern watersheds and to further reduce excess nutrient runoff from agricultural fields.
DuPont is a charter member in an effort by the Conservancy to establish watershed monitoring and best-management practices in the Boone River watershed in Iowa and the Mackinaw River watershed in Illinois. Information gathered from these projects will be used in watershed projects in other agricultural areas.
"DuPont is proud to partner with The Nature Conservancy to help improve water quality in a key agricultural region," says Linda Fisher, DuPont vice president and chief sustainability officer. "This effort is fully aligned with DuPont's global commitment to water conservation – an important component of our strategy to deliver sustainable solutions to key markets and geographies worldwide."
Effort to reduce nutrient runoff
The Conservancy and its partners in the Boone and Mackinaw watershed areas hope to improve water quality throughout the upper Mississippi River watershed and reduce excess nutrient delivery through to the Gulf of Mexico.
"This grant will allow us to move our monitoring projects on the Boone and Mackinaw rivers one giant step forward," says Dave DeGeus, ag watershed director for the Conservancy's Upper Mississippi River program. "In turn, we'll know in a timely manner the best ways to improve water quality within highly productive agricultural areas."
The $250,000 grant from DuPont will match funds pledged by The Kresge Foundation to the Campaign for Conservation: Saving the Last Great Places in Iowa. It is contingent on the Conservancy reaching its $9.5 million campaign goal by Feb. 1, 2008.
"Agriculture is making tremendous strides in protecting the environment," says Dean Oestreich, DuPont vice president and general manager and president of Pioneer Hi-Bred. "Today farmers are using conservation tillage, buffer strips, terraces and other means to hold soil and nutrients in place. But we know there is more agriculture can do. This pledge looks at ways we can continue to improve nutrient management and water quality in a sustainable manner without impacting farmer productivity and profitability."
Pioneer will work with farmers
In addition to financial support, DuPont and its Pioneer business will be actively involved in the project by providing ag expertise and engaging farmers to work in the project.
The Boone River watershed encompasses 581,110 acres in six central counties in Iowa, which flows into the Des Moines River then into the Mississippi River. Funding from DuPont will begin implementation of a three-phase monitoring plan within the Boone River watershed to help develop the measurable ecological restoration goals at the watershed scale.
The Mackinaw River drains the fourth largest watershed of the Illinois River system with almost 740,000 acres. This watershed contains some of the most productive agricultural land in the United States. Nearly 80% of the watershed currently is in highly productive agriculture of corn and soybeans.
As a part of its 2015 Sustainability Goals, DuPont has committed to reducing water consumption by at least 30% over the next 10 years at its global sites where the renewable freshwater supply is either scarce or stressed as determined by the United Nations analysis of river basins globally. For all other sites, DuPont will hold water consumption flat on an absolute basis through the year 2015, offsetting any increased demand from production volume growth through conservation, reuse and recycle practices.
Who are the players in this project?
The Nature Conservancy is a leading international, nonprofit organization that preserves plants, animals and natural communities representing the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. The Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for protecting more than 15 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 100 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific.
The Nature Conservancy in Iowa has more than 7,500 members and manages 33 preserves totaling over 6,000 acres. Since the chapter began in 1963, with the aid of volunteers it has been involved in the protection of nearly 20,000 acres in the state, including native prairies, wetlands and woodland communities.
Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is the world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics in nearly 70 countries.
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.