CHICAGO (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Coca-Cola have signed a five-year partnership to restore watersheds that have been damaged or altered by development, wildfires and agriculture.Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Coca-Cola Americas President Steve Cahillane announced the partnership Friday at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie outside of Chicago. The goal is to slow runoff and replenish groundwater on federal lands.
Vilsack says that's increasingly important to corporations and farmers who rely on water and to tens of millions of people whose drinking water originates in the national forest system. But he says federal budget cuts have the USDA turning to foundations and corporations for help. Coke helped fund six projects through a pilot program with the USDA, including another wetland-restoration project in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains.