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Public-Private Partnerships for Restoration

Businesses and organizations that come together to address environmental issues can make a difference in how people impact the world. A synergy develops when the experiences, training and skills from multiple public and private sources come together to solve problems affecting the ecosystem.

Two examples of public-private partnerships that have done good work in their respective communities are the Georgia Wetlands Restoration Partnership and the Conservation Leadership Corp.

Georgia Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership

The goal of the Georgia Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (GCWRP) is to bring together the resources of private, public, non-profit and academic organizations to work on restoring wildlife habitats in wetlands and along waterways. The first site the GCWRP focused on was the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNA).

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CRNA is a 47 acre site located near Atlanta that has been degraded over the years by pollution and invasive species. One of the invasive species is the privet weed. The weed originated in Asia and has invaded many areas throughout the world. The weeds displace native plants and disrupt the local ecosystem. The privet weed is an aggressive plant that can be very hard to control and eradicate.

Corporations, lead by Oldcastle, Inc., ENSR and CH2M Hill companies provided manpower and financial support in conjunction with state and federal agencies to remove privet weeds from the local ecosystem. Volunteer groups descended on the CRNA and spent the day removing the weeds.

Other projects have been the construction of an interactive boardwalk that teaches visitors about the site and the wildlife. Recreational canoeing and kayaking opportunities have been expanded along the river.

Conservation Leadership Corps

Johnson Controls, a global company headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has initiated a program with the support of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to develop the Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC). The focus of the CLC is to use environmental projects around Milwaukee to create the opportunity to develop in high school students leadership and development skills while caring for the environment and mitigating the damage that has been done over the years through human activity.

Students can enroll in a six-week program to perform various tasks in the region's parks and nature areas. Some students are assigned to plant native species of trees, grasses and flowers. Some students work to remove the non-native species from the parks and wetlands. Other types of projects include the construction new trails and erosion control measures to protect wildlife habitats.

The private-public partnerships show how diverse organizations in a community can band together to protect natural resources. Each organization can have different strengths and capabilities to address some of the most pressing ecological issues facing most communities today.

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