MillerCoors to Donate $75,000 to River Network for Local Watershed Protection Projects

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MillerCoors today announced a $75,000 donation to River Network, a national non-profit organization focused on water quality and watershed protection. MillerCoors is partnering with River Network to award grants to local non-profit organizations that protect and restore local water resources through agricultural means. Eight finalists were selected from a pool of applicants nationwide and the winners will be chosen through an online voting competition, launched today at http://www.rivernetwork.org. MillerCoors will award the organization that receives the most votes with a $25,000 grant to complete its proposed project. The second place winner will receive $15,000 and the third place vote-recipient will receive $5,000. Five remaining finalists will also receive $1,000.

River Network is inspired by the ability of our local partners to protect the long-term health of our rivers and communities

MillerCoors today announced a $75,000 donation to River Network, a national non-profit organization focused on water quality and watershed protection. MillerCoors is partnering with River Network to award grants to local non-profit organizations that protect and restore local water resources through agricultural means.

Eight finalists were selected from a pool of applicants nationwide and the winners will be chosen through an online voting competition, launched today. MillerCoors will award the organization that receives the most votes with a $25,000 grant to complete its proposed project. The second place winner will receive $15,000 and the third place vote-recipient will receive $5,000. Five remaining finalists will also receive $1,000.

"River Network is inspired by the ability of our local partners to protect the long-term health of our rivers and communities," said River Network President Ezra Milchman. "We are proud to partner with MillerCoors on this grant competition to specifically bring farmers and water protection groups together in a common effort to preserve our precious waters for all people, wildlife and future generations."

Building on the success of the 2009 grant competition program, MillerCoors is continuing its partnership with River Network to leverage its expansive access to 700 local, state and regional member groups to help bring attention to water protection issues in communities. A portion of MillerCoors donation to River Network will be used to advance the national conservation movement dedicated to protecting our most important natural resource: water.

"Water conservation and quality are key priorities for MillerCoors as water is a primary ingredient in beer - used to grow the barley and hops and flows through every stage of the brewing process," said Kim Marotta, vice president of corporate social responsibility at MillerCoors. "We are excited to team up with River Network as we believe we have a great responsibility to local communities, some of which supply us with water to make our great beer."

Details for each of the eight finalist proposals follow:

Cumberland River Compact; Nashville, TN
The Cumberland River Compact's project will provide tools for all types of farmers to aid in improving water and land stewardship, increasing profits and reducing overall inputs on Tennessee and Kentucky farms.

Louisiana Environmental Action Network/Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper; Baton Rouge, LA
By educating the agricultural communities in the Ouachita River Watershed on proper farming techniques for fertilizer use, the project will reduce the nutrient runoff of agricultural operations that flow into the Ouachita River and ultimately reduce the nutrient overload in the Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zone.

Gila Watershed Partnership; Safford, AZ
The San Francisco and Blue Rivers have been greatly affected by E. coli bacteria. The group will work to clean the rivers by training the community in field research methods, developing and conducting an education program and bringing local groups together into a coordinated watershed improvement council.

Thornapple River Watershed Council; Caledonia, MI
The project will provide support for the installation of riparian buffers and sediment and nutrient control structures along a designated trout stream in the Thornapple River Watershed. This installation will also serve as an education-demonstration site for agricultural Best Management Practices for water quality.

Porter County Soil and Water District; Valparaiso, IN
The west branch of the Cornell Ditch has become an erosive gulley that deposits enormous amounts of sediment, runoff and debris off-site. The project will create a ditch with wetland plants and grasses to trap nutrients and chemicals from traveling downstream which will also reduce flooding and create a shelter and food source for wildlife.

Butler Soil and Water Conservation District; Hamilton, Ohio
The Edgewood Storm Water Project is an innovative collaboration to preserve the quality of the Great Miami River Buried Valley Aquifer by treating storm water infiltrating the ground. Located on the property of a soon to be constructed area high school, the project will also serve as an awareness and educational model to the school, local community and region.

Dan River Basin Association; Eden, NC
The goal of the project is to improve the quality of the Dan River by protecting streamside buffers, promoting the Purple Sweet Potato as a less chemical-intensive replacement for the traditional tobacco crop, monitoring/reducing bacteria levels and assisting locally-based efforts to identify opportunities to conserve riparian land.

Valley Stewardship Network; Viroqua, WI
This project will educate citizens and promote local Best Management Practices implementation, assist farmers in obtaining cost-share assistance and document the change in the watershed health through water quality monitoring in the Kickapoo watershed.

MillerCoors and River Network encourage the public to support the grant competition by voting for one of the eight finalists. Polls close on March 26, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. (PST) and winners will be announced on March 31, 2010.

More information on MillerCoors commitment to sustainable development and water stewardship can be found on GreatBeerGreatResponsibility. You can read more about the finalists on River Network's blog.

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. MillerCoors vision is to create America's best beer company 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. Together with more than 700 partner groups located in every state and a larger network of 5,000 entities focused on local water issues nationwide, River Network is addressing the biggest environmental challenges facing our country; curbing climate change, ensuring public health, protecting the web of life that relies on clean water.

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MATT BURKE

Karina Diehl
MillerCoors
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