water Water

June 8, 2024 / 3 minute read

Progress in Freshwater Conservation: ADS Foundation's Impactful Partnership with The Nature Conservancy

At Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS), we are passionate about safeguarding the world's most precious resource: water. In 2023, the ADS Foundation announced a three-year gift of $500,000 to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to support critical freshwater conservation projects across the United States. As we reflect on the progress made over the past year, we are thrilled to share the impactful results of our partnership, which has driven significant advancements in California, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. These efforts have improved water management in these states and contributed to healthier freshwater ecosystems. These ecosystems play a crucial role in fostering healthy oceans, which are essential for a healthy climate.


Florida: Tackling Urban Water Challenges

Florida's rapid population growth and increasing urban water demand present unique challenges. With the ADS Foundation’s support, TNC has made significant strides in addressing these issues:

  • Planning Sustainable Cities: The new EcoUrban Assessment Resource, developed for Orange County, promotes nature-based solutions for urban development. This innovative tool guides planners and officials in making equitable and sustainable decisions, ensuring that conservation efforts reach historically neglected communities.
  • Expanding Urban Canopies: The Orlando Metro Treesilience project enhances tree canopies in underserved neighborhoods, providing natural water filtration, reducing stormwater runoff, and addressing food insecurity through the planting of edible fruit trees. This initiative has also lowered energy costs and increased property values.
  • Collaborating with Farmers: The 4R Nutrient Stewardship program helps Florida farmers optimize nutrient use, protecting freshwater sources from pollution while improving crop yields. This past year, the program saw a 143% increase in acres under 4R management in southwest Florida.


North Carolina: Enhancing the Cape Fear River Basin

The Cape Fear River Basin is crucial to North Carolina's biodiversity and water supply. ADS Foundation’s contributions have enabled TNC to implement innovative solutions to improve water quality:

  • Modeling the Basin: TNC’s computer model maps water quality across the Cape Fear River Basin, guiding targeted conservation efforts. This model is essential for managing water resources during extreme weather conditions, ensuring better protection and restoration.
  • Improving Water Quality and Fish Passage: TNC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have successfully released pulses of water from the Jordan Dam to assist fish in navigating to spawning grounds and reduce algal blooms. Advanced monitoring technologies track the effectiveness of these efforts.


Texas: Ensuring Water Security Amidst Drought

As Texas faces severe droughts, the ADS Foundation’s support has been pivotal in securing the state’s water resources:

  • Protecting Groundwater Resources: TNC collaborates with groundwater managers in West Texas to safeguard aquifers and develop sustainable management practices. Efforts at the Diamond Y Spring Preserve focus on research and restoration projects to maintain groundwater quality and availability.
  • Innovative Water Management: TNC’s Environmental Water Transactions program leases water rights to keep water instream during dry periods, balancing the water needs of agriculture and nature. Recent transactions have secured over 1,500 acre-feet of water.


California: Urban Water Solutions

With almost 95% of California’s population residing in urban areas, TNC focuses on nature-based solutions to manage water resources and mitigate climate impacts:

  • Building Green Infrastructure: TNC’s stormwater management project in Rio de Los Angeles State Park aims to enhance habitats and manage stormwater effectively. Community workshops on native plants have engaged local residents, promoting biodiversity and ecosystem health.


Our Ongoing Commitment

The ADS Foundation’s partnership with TNC underscores our commitment to protecting and conserving freshwater resources. As we celebrate these achievements, we remain dedicated to driving innovative, science-based solutions that ensure water security for future generations.

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