Caterpillar Inc. headquarters overlooks the Illinois River, which inspired their Great Rivers Partnership with the Nature Conservancy. The corporation’s foundation donated $12 million to the conservancy in 2005 to start the program, which aims to help “conserve and restore the world’s great river systems.” The effort brings together scientists, navigators, landholders, government officials, business representatives, and residents to improve the health and function of large river systems. The Great Rivers Partnership began by improving stretches of the Mississippi River—which provides drinking water to 18 million people, is vital to farmers and industries, and affects 60 percent of North America’s bird species and many fish and animals. The partnership then used what it learned in its Mississippi work to assist management of two other important rivers: the Upper Yangtze in China, and Brazil’s Parana River. Kicked off by Caterpillar’s initial investment, the conservancy raised $60 million in private funding for the program over five years.
- “Notable Accomplishments of Great Rivers Project,” conservationgateway.org/Files/Pages/great-rivers-partnership-.aspx