The gift in support of TNC's Routes & Roots: Enterprise Healthy Rivers Project will support the organization's efforts to highlight the importance of "blue infrastructure" — rivers and regional watersheds that provide drainage and outflow for rainfall, generate clean energy, deliver cost-efficient transportation options, and strengthen habitats and farmland. Among other things, TNC will use the funds to reduce excess nutrient runoff into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico, with the aim of minimizing the gulf's "dead zone"; sustainably manage the Colorado River and restore watersheds in the Colorado Basin; and partner with Canada's First Nations to ensure that the full economic, cultural, and environmental value of Canada's boreal forest benefit all. The environmental organization also will use the funds to implement a sustainable development model that integrates conservation values into renewable energy planning for rivers and watersheds in the western Balkans.
"This contribution is one of the biggest gifts we have received in years," said Nature Conservancy president and CEO Mark Tercek. "It will benefit both people and wildlife across two continents while facilitating the sharing of best practices to drive global progress in conservation. This effort to preserve great rivers is about more than just protecting fresh water today — it also demonstrates Enterprise's leadership, vision, and commitment to making a difference for the long term."
"My family and our company have deep roots in St. Louis, and one of the world's greatest rivers runs right through our hometown," said Carolyn Kindle Betz, granddaughter of Enterprise founder Jack Taylor and senior vice president and executive director of the foundation. "But in light of Enterprise's international expansion, it was important that this gift benefit communities and their surrounding environment worldwide. We hope it will help more and more people understand and support the critical role rivers play in our lives."