Introducing Our 2017 Uplift & Annual Report

Joe Whitworth
Joe Whitworth
President & CEO of The Freshwater Trust
English   |   Español

“Start with the why,” wrote Simon Sinek in his New York Times bestselling book on leadership and culture. 

“All organizations start with why, but only the great ones keep their why clear year after year.” 

2017 was a year of connecting with our “whys” and revisiting reasons that keep us working, as a team, on behalf of rivers.

If you’ve been with us over the years, you know that our “who” has seen some iterations. We’ve transitioned from a dozen fly fishers dubbed Oregon Trout, to an organization with five offices across three states. We are now backed by thousands of individuals, national foundations and government entities. Today, TFT is the largest restoration-focused organization in the Pacific Northwest. 


“How” we fix rivers has changed with the years, too. Before becoming TFT, for nearly two decades, litigation was our primary tactic for fixing rivers, and we were good at it. Oregon Trout protected several of the first Pacific salmon species under the Endangered Species Act and led the dialogues to create the Pacific Northwest’s first fish refuge on the Donner und Blitzen River, afoot Steens Mountain. 

But our first 18 years of holding the line led us to conclude that fixing freshwater ecosystems would require more than stopping bad things from happening. We became clear-eyed about the vast, systemic nature of the problems we faced. Our solutions were quickly overshadowed by the enormity of the issues at hand. 

In response, data, technology, on the ground restoration, and collaborative agreements with new parties were added to our tool belt. Chances were taken on new ideas. An app for streamlining data collection and analysis was developed. Satellite imagery was put to use to discover the best places for restoration, so that effort would be directed where it was needed most. Yet behind the who and the how, there was the “why” we’re doing this. 

TFT exists to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems for the benefit of native fish, local communities and economies. We know the way we currently manage water is not sustainable for the world’s growing population. An infusion of innovation and integration is desperately needed in the fields of freshwater restoration and conservation to ensure the pace and scale of the solutions match the pace and scale of the problems. 

Our whys will come to life in this report, through the following stories about the basins where we are working and the numbers showing progress toward the mission that’s been with us all along. This report chronicles the quantified, tangible results of taking those ambitious chances and recognizes the individuals responsible for making them possible. 

We hope you see your own why in these pages and that the results of 2017 reconnect you to the reasons for your continued support of this organization. 

This is the sixth iteration of our Uplift Report. In 2011, we coined this term to describe the measurable — or quantifiable — impacts of our work. The kind of tracking and reporting we do is sometimes not paid for and could be left undone. 

But with the support of our donor community, we are able to monitor each project we implement for years afterwards. Long-term monitoring gives us the proof of exactly how we’re making an impact. Without it, we, and the entire restoration community, could not say what lasting improvements our projects have had. 

The results in the following pages are uplifting. After six years, the outcomes are starting to add up. In the march of these numbers, we see the progress year after year of being dedicated to hard work and thorough processes. We experience the transformation of multiple streamsides from degraded to flourishing. We see native fish spawning and thriving, cleaner water and stronger communities.

Thank you for being with us. If after you read this, you are inspired by the work we are doing, please consider making a year-end gift today. Your donations will go straight to helping us achieve more outcomes like the ones you are reading here today.

Donate now


October 17, 2018

#quantified conservation    #Restoration    #Uplift Report    

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