Policy opportunities vary dramatically across the Northwest and reflect each place’s political environment, conservation history, and local conservation community.

Our strategy invests in two or three critical organizations in each state (or province) that demonstrate the leadership, capacity, and track record to enact, implement, enforce, and defend strong conservation policies.

Alvord Desert with Steens Mountain.
Alvord Desert with Steens Mountain. Photo by Tyson Fisher

Measures of success

By the time the foundation sunsets in 2020, we aim to see:

  • Effective collaboration among organizations to achieve policy goals.
  • Conservation organizations with improved credibility and influence among community and policy leaders.
  • A broader base of stakeholders engaged in conservation advocacy.
  • More public officials and policy-makers who champion conservation priorities.

Wildflowers & Panorama, Cowiche Mtn, Snow Mountain Ranch.
Wildflowers & Panorama, Cowiche Mtn, Snow Mountain Ranch. Photo by David Hagen.

Successes in conservation policy

Chuitna Coal Mine Shelved

Chuitna Coal Mine Shelved

After nearly a decade of dedicated advocacy by thousands of Alaskans in support of healthy fisheries, cultural preservation, and community sustainability, the company behind what would have been the largest strip mine in Alaska has suspended its pursuit of permitting. Thousands of Alaskans have spoken out against this project that would have traded wild salmon for low-grade coal. The Brainerd Foundation supported the work of Cook Inletkeeper and the Alaska Center on this issue.

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Court orders more water for endangered salmon

Court orders more water for endangered salmon

A federal court has ruled that operators at 8 federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers must increase water releases over spillways to improve survival rates for juvenile salmon migrating to the ocean starting in 2018. The judge found that current operation is causing continued irreparable harm to imperiled salmon and steelhead and that increased spill indisputably provides safer passage for juvenile salmon navigating the heavily dammed Columbia-Snake River Basin. The Brainerd Foundation supports the work of Earthjustice on this issue.

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Gateway abandons Cherry Point coal plans

Gateway abandons Cherry Point coal plans

Backers of the Gateway Pacific Terminal withdrew their applications to build a 48-million-ton-per-year coal export terminal at Cherry Point, Washington. This conclusive victory comes after the Army Corps of Engineers acknowledged that the coal terminal would violate the Lummi Nation's treaty-protected fishing rights. The Brainerd Foundation has supported the work of Climate Solutions and Washington Environmental Council on this issue.

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Read about more grantee successes »

Typical conservation policy grantees

  • Organizations serving as lead advocates on statewide conservation policies
  • Issue-based organizations leading collaborative efforts on strategic policy priorities
  • Organizations advancing voter education and civic engagement efforts for the conservation community
  • Legal groups providing environmental law expertise and policy counsel

Tagish Lake, Yukon Territory.
Tagish Lake, Yukon Territory. Photo by Yukon Conservation Society.

Meet some of our grantees in conservation policy

Meet more of our grantees »

Conservation policy grants typically range from $40,000 to $75,000 and can be awarded for multiple years. Inquiries are accepted on an ongoing basis. Grants are awarded at one of three board meetings held each year. Proposals are accepted by invitation only.

Learn more about eligibility »