Year in Review: 2017 Highlights

Haley Walker
Haley Walker

Communications Director for The Freshwater Trust

Another year has come and gone, and it was one of progress, growth and innovation.

We broke ground on new projects and made critical headway on others in Oregon, California and Idaho. Our scientists and analysts identified more places in need of restoration and opportunities to collaborate with new landowners. We asked, and answered, critical questions about how to reduce pollutants and improve habitat and refined tools to increase efficiency and effectiveness. A new blog series featuring powerful stories was launched, and thousands were recruited to follow and engage with us on social media.

There were noteworthy milestones achieved in every part of the organization, and we wanted to share a few of our favorites with you. Together, we:

Increased fish counts by 16,000%: Since 2015 we’ve planted native vegetation, installed large wood structures, and fenced out livestock on Neil Creek, a snowmelt-fed tributary of Bear Creek in the Rogue River basin. Two years after putting shovel to dirt, fish counts jumped more than 16,000 percent. Read more about Neil Creek.

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Partnered with 30 new farmers in California: Trusting in our knowledge and expertise, 30 farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, comprising more than 100 diversions on 13,000 acres, signed on with us to help them fulfill the reporting obligations of a statewide bill to track water use. Hear one farmer’s story.

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Advised agencies on more sustainably managing groundwater: We supported 19 agencies in California, such as reclamation and water districts, in forming Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, to collaboratively and sustainably manage precious and scarce underground water resources. Learn more about our next steps in California.

Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta

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Kept more than 10,000 gallons per minute in the Lostine: Working with 80 irrigators in eastern Oregon’s Lostine basin, The Freshwater Trust helped keep 23.5 cubic feet per second, or 10,000 gallons, of water in the basin for Chinook and other native fish. The collaborative agreement started in 2005 and has increased over the years from 15 cfs to more than 20 this year. Learn about a recent grant we received.

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Won more than $2 million in grants from nearly 20 funders: Our tagline has always read, “Changing the course of conservation.” We believe we have the tools, strategy and staff to do it. This year, nearly 20 funders awarded more than $2 million to answer nagging questions, chase dreams into reality, see plans through to actions, and turn napkin sketches into viable products. Read about one of our biggest grants with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Signed 19 new flow agreements with 45 landowners: We’ve said it before. You can have a healthy waterway and thriving farms and ranches. The deals we’re able to strike are proof. Dive into how we do flow deals.

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Acquired 4,000 new followers, 138 individual donors and 27 business supporters: Our community is always growing. More are learning about the quality and quantity issues impacting the rivers they love and choosing to follow along and support us in our efforts to make a difference. Follow us on our social media channels.

Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; Vimeo; Instagram

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Built 30 large wood structures in the Rogue & Sandy basins: This year, nearly 500 pieces of large wood were meticulously placed in key stretches of river where fish will use them for refuge. A combination of felling trees and piloting a helicopter allowed us to maneuver the giants into just the right spots. Think “Lincoln Logs” but a little messier and on a bigger scale. Watch how we built the fish homes.

 

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Planted 4 new sites in the Rogue basin: The hundreds of plants we put in the ground this year will soon be providing shade, sequestering carbon, filtering nutrients, and reducing erosion. We’re fortunate to work with expert partners that know the right mixes of native plants and where to put them for maximum benefit. Check out more about our program with the city of Medford.

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Developed two new tools: One of these tools assesses the outcomes associated with restoring the land adjacent to a stream or river, also known as the floodplain. The other tool will help farmers make meaningful economic choices about conservation. Learn about other tools we’ve developed.

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Made progress in Idaho: Last year, as part of our work with Idaho Power, we expanded floodplains adjacent to Bayha Island to narrow and deepen the river channel to improve fish habitat by lessening seasonal temperature increases. In 2017, we installed an irrigation system, removed invasive plants, and monitored the project to ensure it was providing the intended benefits. We also added new staff in the Gem State. Read about the Snake River Stewardship Program.

Bayha Island floodplain enhancement

Aerial imagery by Idaho Power

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Made sure the Salmon River would continue living up to its name: Adding 125 boulders and 50 cubic yards of gravel to the Salmon is akin to calling fish home. Watch our new video of Chinook spawning in an area restored by yours truly.

 

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Built a new home for our data and a better way to collect it: We spent some time thinking about how we can better organize our data so that it’s easier to analyze. We also refined the system used to collect and track our projects on the ground, making tweaks to improve the user experience. Learn more about our Streambank Toolkit. 

StreamBank monitoring app

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Manned our first drone flight: TFT flew a drone over the Applegate River as part of a research project with Portland State University and Oregon State University. Together, we’re answering the question: Can drones help collect high quality data and improve the effectiveness of river restoration? Watch the Weather Channel’s video about our drone project.

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Received recognition in more than 50 publications: National media outlets including The Weather Channel, Fast Company, Sierra Magazine, Inside Science and Biz Tech published features about The Freshwater Trust. Local publications including Capital Press, Oregon Business, Oregon Wine Press, and the Mail Tribune also covered our work. Read all of them on our Media Features page.

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Millions of dollars and invaluable support over the course of 2017 from individuals, businesses and agencies underpinned each of these wins.

Whether you gave $25, $100 or $1,000 yourself or are involved with a foundation, business or government agency that supported us, we are grateful you make up the diverse, committed community that gave us the foundation to achieve in the ways above. We recognize there are smaller milestones reached, conversations had, connections made, storms weathered, and long roads traveled before we can be successful. Thank you for being with us through it all.

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November 29, 2017


#Delta    #flow    #groundwater    #Lostine River    #Medford    #Neil Creek    #Rogue River    #Sacramento River    #Sandy River Basin    #Snake River    #US Department of Agriculture Conservation Innovation Grant    

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