Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Tree Hugger Alert: Royal Bank of Canada Donates Money to Clean Water Projects

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This is some refreshing news about a huge bank:

RBC today announced it will provide funding of $1.18 million to 16 organizations across the United States that are working to protect watersheds and improve access to clean drinking water…

“Increasingly, we’re seeing our municipal finance clients across the United States focused on water issues, especially in water-stressed cities or drought-stricken states such as California,” said Bob Spangler, managing director within the U.S. Municipal Finance group at RBC Capital Markets. “We created this special pool of funds to supplement the RBC Blue Water Project so that we can support our non-profit and governmental clients with their water conservation and education programs. We’re confident that these ten organizations will help cities better manage their water issues. “

I know I've snarkily titled this post "tree-hugger alert" but I applaud this. As a fisherman I’ve always been keenly aware of threats to clear water. It’s nice to see RBC lending a hand.

Here are the recipients of RBC grants.

New York Harbor Foundation: A grant of US$375,000 will help the Foundation improve water quality in the Harbor through the Billion Oysters NYC project, which will plant one billion oysters by 2050. In a healthy marine ecosystem, oysters are a keystone species. Each oyster is a natural water-filtration system, pumping between 20 and 50 gallons of water through its gills each day and extracting algae and phytoplankton for its food.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: A grant of US$250,000 will fund an ongoing project to restore the Bay’s natural filters, through restoration of wetlands, forested buffers and oysters that filter and absorb pollution. Seventeen million people live in this 64,000 sq. mile watershed. The leading cause of the Bay’s impairment is nitrogen pollution from agriculture and the Foundation will work with individual farmers to implement agricultural best practices to prevent nitrogen pollution.

National Geographic Society: A grant of US$250,000 will provide ongoing support to Freshwater Initiatives including a Freshwater Fellow who delivers briefings, lectures and keynote speeches around the globe, building support for global water issues and inspiring action. RBC’s grant also provides funding for a Fresh Water Editor to further develop the content of the freshwater website.

LightHawk: A grant of US$240,000 will help LightHawk, an organization that helps conservation groups collect scientific data and imagery of land and water resources from the air, develop guidelines for geo-referencing photos and aerial data collection, provide tips for aerial photography and radio telemetry for wildlife studies and encourage key partners and pilots to serve as mentors to others.

LightHawk’s network of 180 experienced volunteer pilots donate flights to conservation groups, government agencies and universities in North and Central America.

Great River Greening: A grant of US$100,000 will support an ongoing water quality improvement project in five Minnesota watersheds. This organization works with landowners, community, agriculture, nonprofit and government partners to encourage participation in government agricultural conservation programs that reduce water pollution. It also encourages farmers and farmland owners implement conservation plans to reduce pollution.

Cahaba River Society: A grant of US$35,000 will be directed to programs that improve the conservation of drinking water, and protect the recreational and freshwater biodiversity value of the Cahaba River.

Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture:  A grant of $25,000 will help LINC develop the Greater Everglades Conservation Atlas, a publicly accessible web-based interactive atlas of the Everglades watershed.

Working in partnership with National Geographic’s Maps Division, this educational tool is intended to increase watershed awareness and foster community-based stewardship of the Greater Everglades region and the human, plant, and animal ecosystems they support.

Western States Water Council:  A grant of $25,000 funded the Western State Water Council’s report “Western Water Resources Infrastructure

Strategies: Identifying, Prioritizing and Financing Needs”, which outlines the critical water infrastructure needs of the Western U.S. and innovative solutions to meet those needs.

American River Conservancy: A grant of $20,000 will help the American River Conservancy complete the acquisition of permanent stream frontage on Acron Creek, Indian Springs Creek and Big Ravine and the South Fork American River at a point where the river enters Folsom Lake.

Environmental Defense Fund: A grant of $20,000 will help EDF develop its Mokelumne Watershed preservation program to restore, protect and enhance one of the most critical watersheds in Northern California which provides the San Francisco Bay Area with much of its drinking water.

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry Foundation: A grant of $20,000 will help the Foundation’s work with the New York City Watershed Model Forests Program. The program promotes effective forest management and stewardship practices and helps protect New York City's water supply system, one of the largest surface storage and supply systems in the world, supplying high-quality drinking water to nearly nine million consumers (nearly half of New York State's total population).

Ottawa River Coalition: A grant of $20,000 will help the Ottawa River Coalition’s mission to educate the community about the importance of water quality and watershed preservation around the Ottawa River, one of Ohio’s most important rivers.

Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory: A grant of $20,000 will support Stone Laboratory, one of the oldest freshwater biological field stations in the country, founded in 1895. This grant will finance a project to dramatically reduce the Lab’s water usage from Lake Erie, reducing the impact on watersheds and protecting fragile aquatic ecosystems.

Grand Lake St. Marys/Mercer County Civic Foundation: A grant of $20,000 will support the restoration of Ohio’s largest inland lake.

The Grand Lake Restoration Commission is working on a ten-year strategic plan to restore the water quality and watershed area to reduce the level of pollutants entering Grand Lake St. Marys.

The Nature Conservancy: A grant of $15,000 will help fund three separate projects, the preservation of the Garcia River Forest, Sacramento River and Los Angeles-Ventura (Santa Clara River), all of which focus on watershed preservation of some of the most important rivers in California.

New York City Parks Foundation: A grant of $15,000 will support the New City Parks Foundation’s Coastal Classroom program. The program educates public school students and urban residents about the ecology of the diverse waterways surrounding New York City, contributing to watershed protection and building a culture of water stewardship.

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