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Walmart Foundation supports groundwater conservation efforts for Arkansas’ Delta

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$1.15 million grant to Ducks Unlimited for increasing scale and pace of conservation in Arkansas’ Delta Region

Public and private stakeholders stand ready to benefit from increased investments in agriculture and natural resource conservation thanks to a grant from the Walmart Foundation. The $1.15 million grant complements more than $40 million from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to support on-farm work and education in eastern Arkansas through the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership.

“We are thrilled to have continued support from the Walmart Foundation for agriculture and natural resource conservation in eastern Arkansas,” said Ducks Unlimited (DU) Director of Agriculture Support, Dr. Scott Manley. “Place-based initiatives bring together diverse stakeholders in productive landscapes to identify shared goals, strategies, and resources to achieve sustainability. Ducks Unlimited, USA Rice, and 25 additional supply-chain partners stand ready to increase the scale and pace of conservation across this important region.”

To implement shared solutions for groundwater conservation, healthy soils, and wildlife, DU and partners will work with the state’s largest industry – agriculture – to bolster the $16 billion worth of economic benefit provided each year. Doing so will include: (a) Expanding partnerships through increased interaction with key public stakeholders, including state, university, and electric utility partners: (b) Pursue current and emerging USDA funding opportunities and act to remove delivery barriers, thus increasing financial resources available for on-farm programs, and (c) Deploy existing supply-chain partners and recruit new ones to teach and promote industry best management practices that result in on-farm solutions for sustainability.

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Connecting this agriculture work with DU’s initiative to improve forest health across older mature bottomland forests in the state will mesh overall efforts to reflect the true spirit and intent of an eastern Arkansas place-based initiative. Progress is already underway with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on areas such as Hurricane Lake and Bayou DeView Wildlife Management Areas. A prudent investment in forest health at this time will mesh overall efforts to reflect the true spirit and intent of an eastern Arkansas place-based initiative.

“The Walmart Foundation is excited to provide grant funding for Ducks Unlimited’s efforts in our home state of Arkansas,” said Julie Gehrki, VP and COO, Walmart Foundation. “Place-based initiatives like this one have the potential to deliver positive nature impacts at the landscape level. The Rice Stewardship Partnership demonstrates great promise in its collaborative approach and we look forward to the impact it will create.”

For more information, visit www.ducks.org, and be sure to follow DU’s Twitter feed – @DucksUnlimited and @DUConserve – to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

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