Submitted by Arbor Day Foundation
The Arbor Day Foundation and Publix have joined together to plant trees in an effort to help clean and restore the Lower and Upper Ocklawaha Watersheds of St. Johns River Water Management District.
The 600-square-mile Orange Creek Basin is part of the Lower Ocklawaha River watershed. The basin contains a variety of aquatic habitats. Approximately 29,000 acres of this area is made up of large lakes. Water quality, excessive organic sediment accumulation and management of invasive exotic species are the biggest challenges in the basin. Continuous droughts have led to low lake levels and have intensified water quality problems in these lakes, 27 of which are impaired.
The Upper Ocklawaha River Basin underwent a major decline in water quality and loss of river and marsh habitat over a century ago. Impacts came from a combination of dredging and canals dug for navigation, as well as the draining of marshes to establish farm land, lock and dams, which led to altered water levels and agricultural pollution. Because of this, underwater plants, essential for fish habitat died and deep organic sediments have accumulated and degraded the water quality.
“Reducing our water use through process improvements at our retail and support locations is an important way to minimize our impact on natural resources,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of media and community relations. “Balancing our consumption through strategic collaborations that protect and restore watersheds is another way to make a difference. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Arbor Day Foundation to strengthen the sustainability of our water sources.”
To address the problems of the Lower and Upper Ocklawaha Watersheds, Publix has committed to planting more than 100,000 trees along the basins. The results of the replanting efforts will have a lasting impact to the environment. The plantings will not only help clean the water and begin to restore wildlife habitat, but will also help to move both watersheds off the Environmental Protection Agency’s impaired list. The effects of the water filtration aspect of these plantings will span 100 miles and additionally will moderate storm water run-ff.
"We’re grateful to Publix for being stewards of Florida’s watersheds," said Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation president. “Thanks to Publix’s long-term commitment, thousands of trees will be planted to protect water resources and restore habitat and beauty to areas that have become impaired and suffered devastation."
About the Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. During the last 44 years, more than 250 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.
As one of the world’s largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at arborday.org.
Publix is privately owned and operated by its 184,500 employees, with 2015 sales of $32.4 billion. Currently Publix has 1,128 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. The company has been named one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” for 19 consecutive years. In addition, Publix’s dedication to superior quality and customer service is recognized among the top in the grocery business. For more information, visit the company’s website, corporate.publix.com.
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. During the last 44 years, more than 250 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world.
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