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Event Convenes Kentucky Conservationists and Waterways Transportation Industry

On December 12th, the Ingram Barge Company and the Crounse Corporation convened more than 45 representatives from the waterways transportation industry at an event they hoped would serve as a catalyst for future collaborations with The Nature Conservancy throughout the Mississippi River Basin.

“In 2009 we forged a partnership with the Ingram Barge Company, our first collaboration with the waterways transportation industry,” said Terry Cook, State Director for The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky. “The partnership has proven to be beneficial to both Kentucky’s lands and waters, and for local economies. We hoped to build on that momentum with the luncheon.”

During the event, The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky highlighted groundbreaking work which promises to transform the region’s natural landscape.

  • The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky acquired 4,241 acres connecting the Big Rivers of western Kentucky – a transaction which represents the largest land acquisition in the organization’s 38-year year history. Soon after the acquisition the Conservancy transferred the property to the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Division of Forestry to be managed as a Wildlife Management Area and State Forest for sustainable use and public enjoyment. The move complements a similar transaction which took place in 2011 with the adjacent 2,571-acre Sturgis Tract. The Crounse Corporation was a significant corporate donor to Phase I of this large-scale conservation project in 2011.
  • The Natural Resources Conservation Service has been working with The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky and other partners to direct funds from the newMississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) to landowners promoting water quality, restoring wetlands and enhancing wildlife habitat in the region. To date, the Conservancy has received 43 applications from interested landowners covering 6,166 acres which has resulted in 27 funded projects to date for an estimated 3,748 acres of permanently protected and restored wetlands. The Nature Conservancy has one year remaining to reach its goal of enrolling 5,500 acres. The Ingram Barge Company was a principle donor to the Conservancy’s on-the-ground conservation work in the area that laid the foundation for The Nature Conservancy and NRCS to seek MRBI funding.

“We hope that companies in attendance at the luncheon, in addition to those who could not make it on that day, will participate in developing a shared vision for an ecologically, economically and socially healthy Mississippi River Basin system,” added Terry Cook. “There is a lot of potential for collaboration if our enduring relationship with The Ingram Barge Company is any indicator.”

At the event, The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky presented Ingram Barge Company with an award recognizing their continued support for improving the health of the lands and waters of the Mississippi River.

“We felt that it was important to take an active role to in trying to preserve and improve upon the natural resources we depend upon for our livelihood and the livelihood of several thousand associates,” said Craig Phillip, CEO of the Ingram Barge Company, with regard to their partnership with The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky:

According to Cook, partnerships like these – with the private individuals and organizations using resources such as air, water, soil or land – are key to ensuring that Kentucky’s natural landscape healthy and available to future generations, adding, “No one individual, organization, government or corporation can ensure that our complex river systems can remain healthy enough to support the wildlife and livelihoods that depend upon them. However, together we can make quite an impact. And with 9 billion people projected to inhabit our planet by 2050, engaging in partnerships which foster a healthy, productive and accessible landscape is more important than ever.”

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