For example, overfishing is one of the greatest, yet manageable, threats to ocean health. Following almost a decade of work in using sound science, markets and catch share programs to reform the way fisheries are managed, the United States is on track to end overfishing. We see hopeful signs for America’s commercial and recreational fishermen and the communities that depend on fishing jobs, and intend to take the lessons learned to other parts of the world.
In the Mississippi River Basin, where the foundation promotes farming practices that protect drinking water while supporting agricultural economies, we have seen progress on 1 million acres of cropland over the last five years. These farming practices have been so successful that we are expanding our work with a goal of changing practices on 10 million acres over the next five years.
In the Colorado River Basin, we are building toward a future that has healthy rivers, riparian habitat and groundwater supplies for the benefit of the environment and communities alike. We support a water management system that rewards efficiency and enables enhanced flexibility. For example, in 2015 our grantees facilitated 10 demonstration projects to enable saved agricultural water to benefit river flows and enhance system resiliency.
While there is significant, tangible progress being made, there is still a great deal more work to do. Last year, we invested $79.8 million in conservation efforts, and over the next five years, we anticipate investing $455 million in the people and ideas that create the economic incentives to conserve our oceans and rivers – our most valuable, irreplaceable resources.