A team from The
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“WWF believes a global partnership is needed to protect our planet’s fresh water ecosystems. Global partnerships, like our long-term partnership with The
The Rio Grande is in critical need of support. One of America’s great rivers, it’s the source of fresh water for more than 10 million people in the U.S. and Mexico. Flowing nearly 2,000 miles from its headwaters in Colorado and New Mexico down to the Gulf of Mexico, it has long supported the communities, economies and diverse native species along its path. The critical watershed supports 1,200 species of plants, 450 species of birds and 75 species of mammals.
In recent years, the condition of the river and its tributaries have deteriorated dramatically due to climate change, unrelenting demand on its water resources, and a host of other human-related impacts. The decline in river conditions is threatening native species and riverside human communities that rely on the river for their well-being. Parts of the river have gone completely dry in recent years.
An additional threat to the Rio Grande is an invasive plant called giant cane, which has established in dense, almost impenetrable strands along many parts of the river. In addition to outcompeting native species, giant cane holds back soil that would normally be washed downstream. As a result, the river’s banks are growing, and the channel is narrowing. These changes in channel conditions are burying high-quality riparian and aquatic habitat, as well as reducing the capacity of the channel to hold water, which has increased the frequency that riverside towns and infrastructure are damaged by flooding. These issues have made the eradication of giant cane a conservation priority for improving river conditions for people and wildlife.
In partnership with WWF and the U.S. Forest Service,
“We’re proud of this project and so many others around the globe that are focused on helping to ensure that our watersheds are sustainable, healthy resources for our communities. We’re committed to continuing our journey with our partners as we work to return to nature all the water we use in our beverages and their production year over year,” said Jon Radtke, director, water sustainability,
Projects like this one in the Rio Grande support Coke’s work to replenish every drop of water it uses in its beverages and their production and return it to nature and communities. The company first achieved this water replenishment goal in 2015 – five years ahead of target, and has continued this achievement every year since. Learn more about Coke’s work to replenish water in the U.S. and around the world here.