HOW WE GOT OUR START
Wetlands and aquatic resources are a vital natural resource. They help to maintain water supplies, enable ecological diversity, aid in water purification and provide homes to many plants and animals. In addition to providing critical ecological functions, wetlands and aquatic habitats contribute more than $100 billion annually to the U.S. economy through tourism, commercial and sports fishing, and outdoor recreation. Despite these benefits, more than half of the wetlands in the United States have disappeared since 1780.
Recognizing the need to more fully involve the corporate sector in restoring vitally important wetlands and aquatic habitats, The Gillette Company joined with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1999 to create the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP). With the aid of Coastal America, a partnership of Federal agencies aimed at protecting and preserving the Nation’s coastal ecosystems, CWRP expanded from its Massachusetts base to the New England region in 2000. The first CWRP project was completed in 2000 with the successful restoration of the Sagamore Marsh, a 170-acre salt marsh in Massachusetts. The National CWRP was launched in May of that same year.
Today, state CWRP chapters have been established throughout the nation. Over 300 companies and 100 organizations have pledged more than $4 million in funds and in-kind services to the CWRP. In addition to wetlands, we have expanded our focus to include restoration, protection, enhancement and preservation efforts of other aquatic habitats. Projects have included:
- Dam Removals and Fish Passages
- Reef and Shoreline Stabilization
- Species Protection
- Habitat Maintenance
- Education and Outreach Opportunities
- Marsh Restoration
- Removal of Invasive Species
- Research and Monitoring
HOW THE PARTNERSHIP WORKS
The structure of the CWRP allows corporate contributions to rapidly produce tangible results. CWRP works in cooperation with Coastal America, a unique partnership of federal agencies, state and local governments. CWRP exists as a Standing Committee under the Coastal America Foundation, a public charity recognized by the IRS under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Corporate contributions to CWRP are combined with governmental and other funds, often yielding leverages of more than three to one. Contributions are held by the Coastal America Foundation and earmarked for use in specific geographic areas as designated by the donor company.
CWRP state chapters form the backbone of wetland restoration efforts by recruiting corporate members and contributors. State chapters also select which projects to support with financial and in-kind contributions and all projects are endorsed by Coastal America.
The availability of CWRP funds and in-kind services significantly improves the ability of projects to compete successfully for federal funding and other dollars. This cooperative effort melds the capabilities and expertise of government with the contributions of CWRP participants. The result is efficient, cost-effective solutions to many of the challenges facing our coastlines and aquatic habitats.
CWRP MANAGEMENT SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS
The CWRP Management Subcommittee is responsible for overall strategic planning and oversight for the organization.
Patrick Hester, Spectra Energy, Chair
George Olson, The Gillette Company (P&G;), Vice Chair
Frank Sweet, AECOM, Treasurer
Stephanie Meadows, American Petroleum Institute
John Balletto, ARCADIS, US, Inc.
Karen Johnson-Young, Battelle
Scott MacKenzie, The Castle Group
Robert Forbes, FMC Corporation
Kameran Onley, The Nature Conservancy
Russell Furnari, PSEG
Jeff Benoit, Restore America’s Estuaries