Nature Conservancy Raises $33.3 Million for Conservation

Private donations transform work to restore natural systems in Washington and around the world


Source: The Nature Conservancy

Seattle — The Nature Conservancy’s three-year Forces of Nature campaignhas raised $33.3 million in private dollars for conservation in Washington and internationally. The campaign, the largest in the chapter’s history and one of the largest campaigns for conservation ever in Washington, was focused on conserving and restoring natural systems while enhancing the well-being of people.

“Our economy and quality of life are intertwined with our state’s clean water, abundant natural resources and astounding beauty,” said Mike Stevens, the Conservancy’s Washington director. “Through their generosity to this campaign, the people of Washington have shown they understand and value what we have and are willing to work to steward it.”

“We are grateful to our donors who have demonstrated their passion and commitment to conservation even during difficult economic times,” said Campaign Chair Elaine French, a volunteer and member of the state chapter’s board of trustees.

In all, the Conservancy raised nearly $18 million for acquisitions, $10 million for on-the-ground work, and more than $6 million for international programs.

Funds raised through the Forces of Nature Campaign are already bringing results.

  • Puget Sound: Partnership-driven, high-impact projects are blending flood protection, salmon habitat, stormwater reduction and agricultural preservation across more than 1,000 acres of floodplains along eight major rivers.
  • East Cascade Forests: Critical timberlands have been brought into public ownership and we are partnering to restore forests to reduce the risks of catastrophic megafires, while promoting ways to ensure the economic viability of forest-dependent communities.
  • Olympic Rainforest: We are working hand in hand with coastal communities to conserve and restore forests along our most important coast salmon rivers.
  • Marine Waters: A new program focuses on conserving Washington’s 28,000 square miles of  marine waters and fisheries in Puget Sound and off the coast.
  • Emerald Edge: A new international program conserves habitat, restores forests and fisheries and builds sustainable economies across 70 million acres in the world’s largest temperate rainforest, stretching from the Washington coast through British Columbia and into Southeast Alaska.
  • International: Support from Washington allows Conservancy programs around the world to benefit nature and people, for example protecting elephant habitat in Africa through indigenous communities.


Forty-five donors gave gifts of $100,000 or more. The campaign was also supported by corporations and private foundations, including Boeing, Harriet Bullit’s Icicle Fund, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

“What makes this campaign so special is our work with people—farmers, fishermen, loggers, business owners, tribal communities—to develop projects that will have the biggest impact on people’s lives and on our future,” said Mary Ruckelshaus, chair of the chapter’s board of trustees. “Using innovative, science-based solutions, we are making life better for people and communities while protecting the natural resources on which we all depend.”

Supreme Court won’t take up Alaskan tribe’s suit against Exxon Mobil

By Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E, ClimateWire

The Supreme Court yesterday declined to review a large climate change lawsuit brought by a Native Alaskan village against major energy producers.

The Native Village of Kivalina had asked the justices to take up a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last September that dismissed its lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp. and other producers.

Villagers had claimed that the companies’ operations were contributing to global warming, which in turn was eroding their land off the northwest coast of Alaska, about 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Specifically, the villagers were seeking damages from the companies. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit, however, ruled that the Clean Air Act and U.S. EPA regulations have jurisdiction over climate change issues.

The Village of Kivalina is a self-governing, federally recognized tribe of about 400 Inupiat Native Alaskans who live on a 6-mile barrier reef off the coast of Alaska.

In order to withstand winter storms and large waves, the village relies on sea ice that binds to its coastline. In recent years, villagers charged that the ice is forming later and melting sooner, leaving them exposed.

Further, the reef itself is eroding, and, in court documents, the village claimed its existence is deeply threatened.

The villagers attributed the change to global warming and pointed at greenhouse gases from energy production as the culprit. They sought damages under a common law nuisance claim.

Lower courts have ruled against the village on multiple occasions. A district court tossed out the case because the village couldn’t concretely detail how it had been harmed by the conduct of the companies.