It is a unique partnership fueled by a common passion for clean water. Aveda and Audubon care deeply about the importance of clean water for the world we live in.
Aveda’s passion stems from its belief that “there is no responsible alternative to doing business other than through the pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Audubon’s passion stems from its mission “to protect birds and their habitat for the benefit of humanity as well as the earth’s biodiversity.” Clean water is fundamental to both organizations. Our partnership is devoted to ensuring that clean water is a right for all and that resources are directed at guaranteeing this right to all living creatures in both Minnesota and Iowa.
More than most states, Minnesota and Iowa have water resources of national and international, significance. Yet there are troubling signs regarding these freshwater resources. In Minnesota, 40% of the state water tested is considered “impaired.” Rivers and streams carry high levels of sediments, phosphorous and nitrogen. These drain to the Gulf of Mexico where they contribute to creating a 30,000 square mile “dead zone” of oxygen-starved waters.
The trends and threats to our life-giving waters are real and troubling. By engaging people, Audubon is working to address these threats using birds as symbols for explaining why clean water matters. Be a water warrior and get involved in clean water efforts in your community!
How does Audubon protect clean water in Minnesota?
Audubon Minnesota’s approach to protect and enhance clean water employs three strategies: Conservation, Advocacy, and Outreach and Education. In each endeavor, working to engage people is a hallmark of Audubon’s approach.
- Conservation: Our conservation work for clean water includes managing and restoring floodplain and bluffland habitats along the Mississippi River, and working with landowners to develop conservation plans for their properties to improve habitat conditions and water quality.
- Advocacy: Promoting activities that will improve water quality often go beyond individual practices and are driven by decisions made at the state legislature, within agencies, or in Congress. Audubon organizes grassroots citizen action to press for appropriate outcomes. Wetland protection and restoration is one such issue as wetlands are nature’s filter for polluted waters.
- Education: Audubon’s clean water educational efforts are designed to move people from awareness to personal action. Our audiences include school children living near the Mississippi River, farmers growing crops near streams, landowners in bottomland forests, personal contacts with the general public attending conservation-related special events, and messaging to the public with outreach materials suggesting how anyone can make a difference.
Birds serve as an excellent environmental bellwether. They reflect changes in the environment quickly; they warn us when nature is out of balance, sending out signals whenever there is deterioration in the ecosystem.
What are some examples of how is Audubon works to promote clean water practices and understanding in 2013 as part of its Clean Water Partnership with Aveda?
Conservation Efforts: Upper Mississippi River Habitat Restoration (southeast Minnesota)
- Audubon is working closely with natural resource agencies, local communities and the navigation industry to improve habitat conditions and water quality along the Upper Mississippi River, with a special emphasis on the river from Hastings south to Lake Pepin. We are leading an effort to promote a drawdown of waters in the river’s pool 3, north of Red Wing. A temporary drawdown of the water will expose sediments, improve water clarify and help establish nearly 300 acres of vegetation that ducks, swans and geese depend on during migration. A healthy bed of vegetation also makes a significant contribution to improving wate quality.
Advocacy Efforts (statewide)
- Clean water advocacy efforts are a long-standing tradition at Audubon. As part of this tradition, we lead a coalition of environmental and conservation organizations dedicated to ensuring clean water. The focus of our current efforts in 2013 are: 1) ensuring that legislative changes to Minnesota’s Wetland Conservation Act don’t compromise wetland values; and 2) engaging our grassroots network of Audubon members in Minnesota and Iowa to provide input on legislative changes to the federal farm bill to protect water quality.