Watersheds have social, ecological, and economic significance. The goal of the Watershed Stewardship program is to create enabling conditions for long-term social and ecological health and resilience in places of importance to the Laird Norton Family.
We take a long-term view on healthy watersheds and invest in organizational capacity with an eye to future resilience. We encourage our partners to focus not on single-species recovery or restoration to historical conditions as a primary end-goal, but to also consider the potential value of significantly altered — but functioning — ecosystems as we continue to face the impacts of climate change and other natural and human-caused changes into the future.
We believe the wellbeing of the people who live in a place must be considered alongside ecological goals; understanding the diverse interests and values of a watershed’s human inhabitants is an important component of long-term success.
Priority will be given to watersheds of significance to the Laird Norton family, where the work:
Is well-grounded in science.
Incorporates adaptive management (trying something out, testing the assumptions, adjusting as needed), ongoing monitoring and evaluation, and fosters strong community engagement in place; as there is clear evidence that the presence of these elements significantly increases long-term success toward ecological goals.
Is already in progress (or there interest is already in place) to prioritize actions throughout the watershed, and a degree of coordination amongst implementing organizations representing diverse interests.
While we don’t specifically commit to a set term of investment in any watershed, we believe that investing in a place long enough to really understand the work is important, and we believe that sustained and flexible funding enables greater long-term success for our partners. Although we make grants on a one-year cycle, we take a partnership approach to our grantmaking and hold a long-term view on the work being done in the watersheds we prioritize, but we do move on when we no longer have a necessary role to play.
2019 Watershed Stewardship Grants
BONNEVILLE ENVIRONMENTAL FOUNDATION
Bonneville Environmental Foundation(BEF) (Portland, OR) $25,000 To continue BEF's engagement in the Driftless Region of the Upper Midwest. This work is exploratory and will build on the past year's collaboration and learning with the Foundation. Since 2003, BEF has worked in close partnership with watershed groups operating across a wide range of ecological and social contexts. The collaborative and long-term nature of these relationships has yielded knowledge that is valuable and directly applicable to the work LNFF seeks to advance in the Midwest. BEF works to facilitate the widespread adoption of sustainable, planet-friendly practices.
Kinnickinnic River Land Trust
Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (River Falls, WI) $45,000 To support continued restoration work and access for the Kinni Headwaters/Trumpeter Swan Preserve Priority Area, and develop agricultural landowner relationships and conservation easements. KRLT's mission is to work with the community to conserve and protect the beauty and health of the Kinnickinnic River and its watershed.
LONG LIVE THE KINGS
Long Live the Kings (Seattle, WA) $75,000 To continue implementation of the Hood Canal Bridge Ecosystem Impact Assessment Plan. The Assessment Plan's goal is to identify the causes of high fish mortality at the Hood Canal Bridge, through a partnership with NOAA Fisheries, the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, and WA State Departments of Transportation and Fish and Wildlife. Since 1986, Long Live the Kings has worked to restore wild salmon and steelhead and to support sustainable fishing.
Minnesota Land Trust
Minnesota Land Trust (St. Paul, MN) $5,000 To support the work of the Trust in and around Winona, MN. The Minnesota Land Trust's mission is to protect and restore Minnesota’s most vital natural lands in order to provide wildlife habitat, clean water, outdoor experiences, and scenic beauty for generations to come.
ROGUE BASIN PARTNERSHIP
Rogue Basin Partnership(Medford, OR) $90,000 To support capacity of this restoration backbone organization, and to support member organizations in implementing the Rogue Basin Restoration Action Plan. The Rogue Basin Partnership is a member-based collaborative organization that serves as a coordinating entity for watershed restoration within the 3.3-million acre Rogue River Basin of SW Oregon and NW California. The Partnership unites people in restoring the Rogue by strategically investing in the stewardship, and provides a basin-wide venue and perspective to enhance the success of members and partners.
Trout Unlimited, Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TUDARE)
Trout Unlimited, Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TUDARE) (Viroqua, WI) $5,000 To support TUDARE's work on behalf of restoration and conservation partners throughout the Driftless region. Spearheaded by Trout Unlimited, this project is a geographically focused, locally driven, consensus based effort. TUDARE's mission is to work together to protect, restore and enhance cold, cool, and warm water streams for fish and other aquatic life in the Driftless Area region for future generations.
TRUCKEE RIVER WATERSHED COUNCIL
Truckee River Watershed Council (Truckee, CA) $60,000 To support bi-state policy work and project development. The Truckee River Watershed Council was founded in 1996 to protect and restore the water quality and biological resources of the watershed; they serve as conveners, coordinators, and implementation leaders for restoration projects directly related to the health, beauty, and economy of the watershed. The Council believes that a more sustainable tomorrow starts with the watershed. Their goal is to restore the resiliency of our environment—so nature and humanity can thrive together for generations.
Valley Stewardship Network
Valley Stewardship Network (Viroqua, WI) $20,000 To support organizational capacity building. Valley Stewardship Network works to protect land and waters in the Kickapoo watershed through research, education, and community empowerment.