With 40 years of on-the-ground experience, The Freshwater Trust is the largest restoration-focused organization in the Pacific Northwest, and the second largest conservation group based in Oregon.
“Quantified conservation” is an approach that allows us to ensure our actions are translating to outcomes. We still count the number of trees we planted alongside a river, but then we take it a step further and use technology to identify how much solar energy will be blocked by those trees, keeping the water cool, or how much runoff is absorbed by the trees, keeping the water clean. We employ tools that tell us how and where a conservation project will have the largest overall benefit for a watershed.
Quantifying the outcomes of conservation also allows us to integrate the economy with the environment. It turns conservation into a sound investment opportunity, allowing investors to target river projects with the greatest impact and grant funders to purchase actual outcomes.
We don’t buy into the notion that more is better. For us, better is better, and we track how every action we take is making a difference for our freshwater resources, our wildlife and our communities.
Ensuring a future with clean, healthy rivers requires understanding the outcomes of our actions and staying adamant about achieving results.
Where We Work
Dive deeper into our areas of focus.
Majestic. Wild. Powerful. “Fish full.” This is how we’d describe Oregon’s Sandy River basin. And more than a dozen partners are committed to restoring its streambanks, side channels and instream habitats.
Planting native vegetation along key tributaries, collaborating with irrigators to reduce agricultural runoff, and enhancing floodplains and wetlands along the river bank and existing islands are all part of the stewardship plan for the Snake River watershed.
Despite being known for world-class rafting and fishing, many parts of the watershed are in need of protection and restoration, work that includes fencing livestock, revegetation with native trees and shrubs, and constructing large wood structures.
The John Day
The John Day encompasses more than 8,000 square miles, stretched between Bend and Baker City. The land in this part of eastern Oregon is used for raising beef cattle and growing hay and wheat. TFT has worked with 32 farmers and ranchers in the region to keep water in the John Day and its tributaries since 1995.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin
California’s long-term drought has provided the opportunity to consider new approaches to dealing with the challenges of groundwater sustainability, surface water management and irrigation efficiencies. All these concerns overlap geographically in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River basin, where TFT is building multiple programs.
The Crooked River subbasin of the Deschutes experiences too much nutrient runoff, too much water removed to support agriculture, the impacts of dams, and increasingly warmer water temperatures. TFT's analysis highlights that we could spend $25 million on only the top 10% of projects yet could remove 60% of the nitrogen runoff.
The Lostine has supplied farms in northeastern Oregon with water for generations. But as the number of diversions increased in tandem with drier years, salmon suffered. TFT partners with 83 landowners on irrigation efficiency projects and flow deals to keep more water in the Lostine river and its tributaries when fish need it most.
Nearly 200,000 residents in Oregon’s Eugene-Springfield area share something besides geography. They all rely on the McKenzie River as their sole source of drinking water.
Our annual Uplift Report summarizes the powerful outcomes of our projects. What’s included is the result of diligent monitoring, the development of new systems for efficient data collection, and the deployment of tools and methods that ensure our work is strategic, effective, and results in measurable “uplift.” See our impact by exploring the interactive display of all our uplift data.
Transparency. For decades, the restoration and conservation sectors have operated without transparency — tools that identify the best places to work, reporting on returns, and monitoring to guarantee outcomes. The Freshwater Trust puts coordinated action, analytics, and rapid funding for outcomes to work on behalf of river basins across the West. Our new approach, which has transparency at its heart, was born out of recognizing that the actions taken and the dollars spent havenʼt worked. Getting honest about the urgency of this moment has inspired our innovation.
Get In Touch
Have questions about our results?
David Primozich, Vice President - Water