MillerCoors, River Network: Announce winning organizations to receive $40,000 for watershed protection programs

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Kim DeVigil


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Matt Burke

River Network

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More than 11,000 People Vote to Determine Final Winners

GOLDEN, Colo. and MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (Mar. 30, 2009) – MillerCoors and River Network, a national non-profit organization focused on water quality, today announced the recipients of four $10,000 grants that will go towards local watershed protection programs. The four winning organizations, all located in states where MillerCoors has breweries, were chosen by the public through an online voting competition in which more than 11,000 people voted.

“These grants will provide investment and support to local organizations that focus on watershed quality, education, and conservation efforts in their communities,” said Kim Marotta, vice president of corporate social responsibility at MillerCoors. “Our partnership with River Network is one example of how MillerCoors strives to bring about water conservation at the local level, as part of our greater focus on environmental sustainability.”

“River Network is inspired by the ability of our local partners to tackle the biggest environmental challengers of our time and we’re especially grateful to MillerCoors for helping to make this work possible,” said River Network President Ezra Milchman. “The outpouring of interest and support for each of the finalists shows the enthusiasm of the public to get involved and their desire to see on the ground action.”

Details for the four winners’ proposals follow:

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed; Columbus, OH:

The Lower Olentangy Watershed stretches through urban neighborhoods into the heart of downtown Columbus, OH. By increasing storm water infiltration and improving on-site storm water management, Friends of the Lower Olentangy will create a cost effective solution to flooding, stream bank erosion, and sanitary sewer overflows. Project partners will create an urban storm water management demonstration site in Columbus, including water collection and rain gardens to decrease polluted runoff. The demonstration will kick off an outreach campaign to churches, schools, small businesses and public officials, with the goal of activating ten similar projects by 2012.

Little Tennessee Watershed Association; Franklin, NC:

Water quality in the Little Tennessee basin is an issue that affects the health of an entire community of 80,000 people that spans three counties in rural North Carolina. The Little Tennessee Watershed Association’s participatory habitat assessment will educate and involve the public in river habitat issues as well as effect long-term watershed protection policy change. The program will provide field training for local volunteers to carry out physical habitat assessments on stream reaches and will place a premium on the local knowledge of area residents.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper; Milwaukee, WI:

It is often difficult to determine concisely and accurately the quality of water in the Milwaukee River Basin. Milwaukee Riverkeeper will train local volunteers to test water quality in the river as part of a larger initiative focused on achieving maximum improvement in water quality through the efforts of local environmental programs and projects. The funds will be used to purchase water quality monitoring equipment for volunteers whom will gather consistent data throughout the Milwaukee River Basin. The data will identify the current state of local waterways and thus create management plans for watershed restoration.

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper; Statesboro, GA:

Through the implementation of the new volunteer fish collection program in eastern Georgia, the Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper and its volunteers will verify the current levels of mercury in fish, educate the public about mercury contamination and its sources, and engage people in the effort to prevent future mercury pollution.

MillerCoors has designated water conservation as one of its key sustainable development commitments. It engages in its own water initiatives and constantly strives to reduce the amount of water used to brew its beer. MillerCoors supports the United Nations CEO Water Mandate, a voluntary initiative where organizations commit to becoming more water-efficient, working with suppliers to improve their water efficiency, engaging local communities and transparently reporting progress on water. For more information on MillerCoors water conservation efforts, click here.

MillerCoors partnered with River Network to leverage its expansive network of over 700 local, state, and regional partners to create or expand programs that will impact and protect watersheds on a local level. Eight finalists were chosen for the grant competition; while the four winners will each receive $10,000, the remaining finalists will each receive $1,000 towards their organization’s watershed programs.

MillerCoors and River Network will continue working with the winning organizations throughout the year as the proposed projects are executed. Follow-up will be conducted at the end of the year to determine the overall success of each of the winning projects.

About MillerCoors:

Built on a foundation of great beer brands and more than 288 years of brewing heritage, MillerCoors continues the commitment of its founders to brew the highest quality beers. MillerCoors is the second largest beer company in America, capturing nearly 30 percent of U.S. beer sales. Led by two of the best-selling beers in the industry, MillerCoors has a broad portfolio of highly complementary brands across every major industry segment. Miller Lite is the great tasting beer that established the American light beer category in 1975, and Coors Light is the brand that introduced consumers to refreshment as cold as the Rockies. MillerCoors brews full-calorie beers Coors Banquet and Miller Genuine Draft; and economy brands Miller High Life and Keystone Light. The company also imports Peroni, Grolsch, Pilsner Urquell and Molson Canadian and offers innovative products such as Miller Chill and Sparks. MillerCoors features craft brews from the Jacob Leinenkugel Company, Blue Moon Brewing Company and the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company. MillerCoors operates eight major breweries in the U.S., as well as the Leinenkugel’s craft brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wis., and two microbreweries, the Leinenkugel’s 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee and the Blue Moon Brewing Company at Coors Field in Denver. MillerCoors vision is to become the best beer company in America by driving profitable industry growth. MillerCoors insists on building its brands the right way through brewing quality, responsible marketing and environmental and community impact. MillerCoors is a joint venture of SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company.

About River Network:

For 20 years, River Network has provided leadership, support and coordination for people working for watershed protection at the local, state and regional levels. In addition, River Network serves as a catalyst and coordinator for major projects, such as this one, that require national leadership and collaboration among widely separated organizations. With more than 700 partner groups in all 50 states and beyond, River Network is helping build a powerful new water protection movement in the United States. To learn more about River Network, visit