Year in Review: 2019 Highlights

Haley Walker
Haley Walker
Former Senior Director of Advancement for The Freshwater Trust
English   |   Español

The Freshwater Trust is not in business just to stay in business. Every year, we put up a fight for our rivers – with the goal of achieving measurable good. Sometimes this good happens behind the scenes and takes the form of a faster way of prioritizing restoration projects. Other times, the good comes from shaking the right hands, writing the right grants, and finding the right innovative partners to say “yes” to making a difference on the ground. 

As you’ll read, in 2019, good happened on computer screens and in conference rooms and on farms and in streamside forests.

We are proud to do more than hold the line and prevent bad things happening to the freshwater ecosystems that support us. Our analysts, scientists, fundraisers, and lawyers arrive to work everyday believing the problems ailing our rivers can be solved. Your support helps us prove it.  Please consider making a year-end gift to keep us fixing rivers in 2020. 

Donate now

We are driven by data, science and results. In 2019, we:

Saw our projects on the Salmon River result in double the long-term average of spring Chinook return for the fifth year in a row.

Monitored more than 40 different restoration and conservation sites in Oregon and Idaho to ensure they were having a quantified, tangible impact.

Improved habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed fish in the Sandy by constructing habitat structures with more than 600 pieces of large wood, restoring fish access to 0.5 acres of wetland habitat, and opening 3 new side channels.

Built 25 new large wood habitat structures and planted more than 20,000 new plants in the Rogue basin, improving water quality and habitat for endangered coho populations. The outcomes of these actions, including the amount of solar load blocked by these trees and feet of stream restored, will be quantified by our staff.

Developed a unique dashboard to easily identify and visualize the highest priority places to perform restoration for the least cost in a basin.

Using BasinScout, our set of modeling processes, we investigated the ways cover cropping could increase groundwater recharge and reduce storm runoff in new geographies and with new stakeholders.

We innovate and problem solve through collaboration and civil discourse. We understand that this problem will not be solved by us alone. In 2019, we:

Partnered with IBM and SweetSense to pilot a project using blockchain and remote sensing to track groundwater use in California. This project received recognition in multiple national news outlets including WIRED, Forbes and Digital Trends. 

Joined forces with Upstream Tech to incorporate machine learning and automation into our modeling to improve the efficiency and scalability of our analytical work.

Signed contracts with the City of Ashland and the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission of Eugene-Springfield to quantify and offset their impacts on local watersheds. 

Designed a program with Sacramento’s regional wastewater utility to use our modeling tools and offset the impacts of their operations, while improving streamflow and offering ecological benefits across more than 16,000 acres of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

We are idealists, but also realists and sit at the table with anyone who wants to make an impact. In some cases, we will build a whole new table, so more people can sit at it. Together, we:

Protected salmon and steelhead from high temperatures by making a 10-year deal with a landowner to protect 1,600 gallons of cold water in one of the highest priority tributaries in Oregon’s Upper John Day.

Benefited Chinook populations by converting 277 acres in the Lostine basin from flood irrigation to more efficient pivot irrigation, keeping more than 900 gallons of water per minute in the river.

Brought disadvantaged communities in California into conversations about groundwater with the help of local partners through hosting workshops and preparing materials published in multiple languages.

Took 33 women leaders and CEOs on two multi-day rafting trips as part of a program called “Women on Water,” which endeavors to introduce more women to the world of water.

We were unrelenting in our effort to fix freshwater ecosystems. We are committed to the work, funding, and partnerships it takes to achieve our mission. Together, we:

Won more than $2.8 million in grant funding, which allowed us to innovate behind the scenes and on the ground.

Added additional staff capacity to our team, including four new women in California, so that we can offer our solutions at a greater scale and more efficiently.

Acquired 270 new donors and raised $1.5 million in philanthropic dollars from individuals and businesses, providing critical unrestricted funding that helps us continue to innovate.

Grew our overall organizational budget to more than $10 million, doubling our revenue since 2010.

We’re all in and we value getting out. We know that we are better at our jobs when we have time to pursue our individual interests and experience diverse perspectives, so we: 

Provided five staffers with paid sabbaticals to pursue interests outside their daily work.

Formed and fostered a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee to ensure staff dive into the ways these issues impact us as individuals and our mission.

Took 35 supporters on nine different field trips to see our restoration projects firsthand.

None of this would have been possible without you. Thank you for your continued support of The Freshwater Trust. Please keep us achieving tangible, measurable good for rivers in 2020.

Donate now

December 2, 2019

#high impact    

Enjoying Streamside?

This is a space of insight and commentary on how people, business, data and technology shape and impact the world of water. Subscribe and stay up-to-date.