MillerCoors, Group Team Up for Watersheds

MillerCoors and River Network, a non-profit organization focused on water quality, recently announced that they have chosen eight finalist organizations to receive a total of $44,000 for watershed protection programs, with additional funds of $8,000 to support the competition.

The finalists were chosen from six states where the company has breweries: California, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Winners will be chosen through an online voting competition at http://www.rivernetwork.org/forms/vote-millercoors-grants. The voting will close 5 p.m. PST on March 6.

River Network has a robust water protection network of 700 local, state, and regional partners committed to water protection and restoration. MillerCoors partnered with River Network to leverage its grassroots member groups for a grant competition that creates or expands programs that impact and protect watersheds. The eight finalists’ proposed watershed protection projects range from training and education programs to building rain gardens to reduce stormwater runoff.

According to Kim Marotta, vice president of corporate social responsibility at MillerCoors, noted that the finalists showed passion and dedication to water sustainability. “We are excited to join forces with River Network to help local watershed protection organizations make a direct and positive impact on the water resources in each of their communities.”

Details for each of the eight finalist proposals follow:

Institute for Environmental Solutions; Denver, Colo.
The Education and Outreach Campaign of the Emerging Contaminants (EC) Project will educate residents about their personal “chemical footprint” and empower them with strategies for improving the quality of their community’s water.

The Coal Creek Watershed Coalition; Crested Butte, Colo.
The project will expand efforts to comprehensively address pollution in the Coal Creek watershed by removing abandoned industrial batteries from the watershed’s headwaters, studying and implementing best management practices for magnesium chloride (MgCl) application as a dust retardant and expanding the organization’s educational outreach program, called Water Wise.

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper; Statesboro, Ga.
A new volunteer fish collection program in eastern Georgia will the verify the current levels of mercury in fish, educate the public about mercury contamination and its sources, and engage people in the effort to prevent future mercury pollution.

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed; Columbus, Ohio
Project partners will create an urban stormwater management demonstration site in Columbus, including water collection and rain gardens to decrease polluted runoff. The demonstration will kick off an outreach campaign to churches, schools, small businesses, and public officials, with the goal of activating 10 similar projects by 2012.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper; Milwaukee, Wis.
Milwaukee Riverkeeper will train local volunteers to test water quality in the Milwaukee River Basin as part of a larger initiative focused on achieving maximum improvement in water quality through the efforts of local environmental programs and projects.

Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network; Racine, Wis.
This program would fund the creation of eight demonstration rain gardens in southeastern Wisconsin.

Sierra Nevada Alliance; South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
The South Lake Tahoe Monitoring Project is a water quality monitoring effort to evaluate creeks and rivers at specific monitoring sites in order assess the health of the Upper Truckee Watershed, which flows to Lake Tahoe.

Little Tennessee Watershed Association; Franklin, N.C.
This program will provide educational materials and field training for local volunteers to carry out physical habitat assessments of identified stream reaches in western North Carolina. Information from the assessment will be used to influence and educate the public – as well as effect long-term watershed protection policy change.

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