It’s more than holding on. It’s heeding yesterday’s lessons, working with today’s connections, and preparing for tomorrow’s vitality.

It’s what California needs to triumph over grave threats to our water security.

It’s what Sustainable Conservation is in the business of cultivating.

And it’s what YOU – our supporters and partners – supply us with as we work to transition our Golden State communities, farms, and wildlife from surviving to thriving.

Thank you.

2017 arrived in a torrent, with new political realities that laid bare our divided nation – and a spate of storms that broke California’s historic drought. Those sweeping changes affirmed Sustainable Conservation’s commitment: to solve our Golden State’s water challenges by uniting people with seemingly incompatible agendas and building strategies for change from common ground up.

We do that by rejecting conservation band-aids that work only for some in favor of cost-effective environmental remedies for all.

Your generosity catalyzes a host of resilience strategies to help meet the water needs of California’s environment and people now and into the future. Please enjoy the following stories of progress your contributions made possible in 2017.

With gratitude,
Ashley's Signature
Ashley Boren
Executive Director

Ashley Boren

Our Programs

We all need water. Running from our taps, growing our food, flowing in streams to provide wildlife habitat: Sustainable Conservation works to protect these hydrating rhythms on which life depends. Read on for stories of the progress your contributions made possible in 2017.


Replenishing Groundwater

After five punishing years of drought, rain returned to California in 2017. Finally, the storms we had been waiting for, with the intensity climate change had predicted, were upon us. This was our moment to cache as much water as we could in our aquifers. Because even amid perceived years of plenty, our drops to drink and grow food with during dry times depend increasingly on subterranean savings afforded by the deluge.

Thanks to your support, Sustainable Conservation enacted our plan to channel and store the downpours. The method: routing floodwater that would otherwise be flushed out to the ocean onto farm fields and allowing it to seep down through soil and rock pores, replenishing groundwater basins deep in the earth. By adopting this cost-effective practice, farmers can help California manage our water supplies to better navigate our new weather norm of exceptionally arid periods punctuated with powerful storm years.

You enable Sustainable Conservation to develop environmental solutions in areas of California where the stakes are highest for getting it right – which is why we’re expanding on-farm groundwater recharge in the San Joaquin Valley. Working on water resilience in the agricultural heart of the state means we’re achieving benefits for all: reliable drinking water for rural communities, irrigation water for agricultural abundance that feeds the nation, flood protection for downstream towns, and healthy waterways that support fish and wildlife.

2017 progress your generosity made possible:

Refill Remedy

In partnership with individual farmers and two irrigation districts, Sustainable Conservation activated groundwater recharge on over 250 farm fields in the San Joaquin Valley. How much of a refill?

Well, while an “acre-foot” may sound like a reason to visit the podiatrist, it’s actually enough water to supply one-to-two California households for one year.

All told, our 2017 demonstration fields recharged over 7,000 acre-feet of groundwater, or the equivalent of enough to supply up to 14,000 families for 12 months.

Our workshops and irrigation district partnerships spurred over 100 farmers to offer up cropland growing everything from nuts and grains to stone fruit and citrus. On seven of these sites, we installed monitoring equipment to take a closer look at how quickly water infiltrated the soil, and whether or not the extra water posed any risks to crops. This information will be used to refine the guidance we can provide to additional farmers and water managers.


In addition to pistachios, crop diversity on our 2017 demonstration fields included almonds, grapes, cherries, peaches, oranges, wheat, corn, and squash.

2017’s record precipitation provided an opportunity to measure the baseline of recharge happening in the San Joaquin Valley and refine our strategy for boosting adoption. In partnership with the Water Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), we learned that the combined recharge activity in the Valley last year – including Sustainable Conservation-led efforts – raised local aquifer levels to a positive balance for the first time since 2011. We also discovered the barriers to even more recharge in the future, which Sustainable Conservation is already leading the charge to solve.

We’re grateful for our partnerships with the PPIC, farmers (including Terranova Ranch Vice President and General Manager Don Cameron, pictured at right in main photo with Sustainable Conservation Senior Project Manager Joe Choperena), water managers – and donors like YOU – who are helping move the needle on this essential water solution.

Mapping Tool Guides Regional Water Management

Our first-of-its-kind software tool, GRAT, helps water districts and managers maximize groundwater recharge in regions suffering the most from depleted aquifers.

Developed in partnership with the Earth Genome, our map-based Groundwater Recharge Assesment Tool (GRAT) determines optimal scenarios for recharge based on soil type, timing of water availability, and cost.

In 2017, with our partner the Earth Genome, we developed and tested GRAT, integrating guidance from the Tulare and Madera irrigation districts.

Network of Support for Improving Aquifer Health

As a result of Sustainable Conservation’s projects and outreach our donors made possible in 2017, influential allies are now promoting groundwater recharge as a strategy to protect and enhance local aquifers. These include the Almond Board of California, whose nearly 7,000 growers oversee half a million acres of land suitable for recharge, and major San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts that service millions of acres of recharge-ready farmland. We’re also partnering with state agencies like the Department of Water Resources and Department of Food and Agriculture, whose help is vital in maximizing groundwater replenishment efforts statewide.

Collaboration: it’s the best way we know to make a lasting difference.

Key Partners

  • Almond Board of California
  • General Mills
  • University of California, Davis
  • The Earth Genome
  • Madera Irrigation District
  • Tulare Irrigation District

2017 Media Coverage


Protecting Coastal Aquifers from Seawater and Fertilizer Pollution

California’s Central Coast is home to a wonderland of berries and lettuces, field upon field of healthy produce. Once plucked from the soil, those crisp heads of romaine and juicy strawberries make their way to many of our shopping carts. We’re lucky to have this bounty at our fingertips, but farms and communities in the region known as the “salad bowl of the world” are in jeopardy.

That’s due to the state of area aquifers, which have been compromised by years of over-pumping and imprecise fertilizer application. Your generosity supports a solution that addresses both.

The Pajaro and Salinas valleys, ground zero for Central Coast farming, are imperiled for two reasons. First, groundwater is the primary source of hydration for people and crops. When those underground sources are sucked dry of fresh water, the resulting vacuum draws in seawater from nearby Monterey Bay and renders pumped water unfit for drinking or irrigating. Second, when fertilizer isn’t measured to accurately meet crop needs, the excess can pass down through farm fields to taint groundwater basins below.

With your help, Sustainable Conservation unites a diverse group of partners to shepherd coastal aquifers back to health. Together, we work with farmers to encourage them to track water and nutrient use. By connecting growers with money-saving tools that make it easier to conserve water and improve water quality, we’re sowing seeds of resilience for Central Coast communities and local food production that nourishes so many of us.

2017 progress your generosity made possible:

Protecting Water and Bank Accounts

How do strawberry farmers know when their plants need water? In the past, plunging a hand into the soil to feel for moisture was considered a sufficient diagnostic. While there’s value in that tactile connection, we now have the means to take more accurate measurements. Technology, including in-field sensors tied to smart phone alerts, can bring berries to market with precisely calibrated amounts of water and fertilizer – and fewer dollars expended.

Growers who have adopted Sustainable Conservation’s “just right” protocols for tending their fields have seen great results. Since 2013, our partners at the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County have been collecting data on a growing cohort of strawberry farms.

Our 2017 field results from nearly 300 acres averaged a remarkable 94% for water-use efficiency – down from the original baseline of 136%.

100% is the optimal ratio for efficiency – meaning plants are getting no more than exactly what they need – and we’re thrilled that crop yields on these demonstration sites have remained healthy with even less.

Sustainable Conservation’s collaboration with Driscoll’s, a major grower and purchaser of coastal fruit whose berries you’ll recognize from your grocery store, is helping to spur on greater adoption of these farming methods that simultaneously conserve fresh water and keep seawater and fertilizer pollution at bay. Our partnership with the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops opened the farm gates for testing our water efficiency metric with lettuce growers in the Salinas Valley as well as introducing it to national food buyers and retailers.

With the continued support of our donors and partners, we can grow our program to give more Central Coast communities a chance at reviving and protecting their water lifelines. People and farms in other areas need help too, and we’re poised to expand our efforts in Monterey County and other coastal valleys.

Kelli McCune and Sacha Lozano

Partners in the field: Sustainable Conservation’s Senior Manager of Conservation Incentives Kelli McCune and Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County Program Manager Sacha Lozano (also pictured in main photo).

Financial Incentives to Reward Environmental Performance

As you know, one of the central tenets of Sustainable Conservation’s environmental solutions is economic viability. On-farm conservation practices take money to implement, and we need to ease the transition, especially for smaller farms. Figuring out that piece will accelerate adoption on more of the 30,000 food-growing acres in the Pajaro Valley alone.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce our partnership with California FarmLink, an agricultural lender that supports beginning, immigrant, and other underserved farmers. Together with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, our three organizations devised a loan rebate program that California FarmLink will administer to connect growers with crucial funds. These loans will help outfit farms with equipment that guides water and nutrient application without wasting a single drop.

The farmers who have signed up for the 2018 growing season will receive a bonus for establishing a new efficiency baseline, and a rebate on interest paid during their loan period if they show improved water and fertilizer savings. The experiences and outcomes of this inaugural group will be key to increasing adoption of the program.

With the initial investment covered, farmers can more readily reap long-term benefits for their communities and businesses: more – and cleaner – water in the ground for drinking and irrigating AND more money in the bank.

strawberry plants in field.jpg

Strawberries growing toward harvest on one of the Central Coast farms participating in a loan rebate program we developed with California FarmLink and the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County.

Key Partners

  • Driscoll’s
  • Resource Conservation Districts of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties
  • California FarmLink
  • Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops
After installation

Accelerating Habitat Restoration

California’s waterways and wildlife are in urgent need of our attention. Native fish and birds rely on rivers and streams, but many of their lifelines have been polluted and stripped of neighboring forests that provide shade and shelter. As a result, hundreds of our Golden State’s iconic species are on the path to extinction.

The good news? There’s a great deal that can be done to reverse the harm, while also supporting economic endeavors on working landscapes.

Landowners – including public land managers such as State Parks and land trusts – often want to tackle projects that will create habitat and improve water quality on their properties, but regulatory approval is an onerous, expensive, and sometimes deal-breaking process.

Sustainable Conservation partners with government, land managers, and others to simplify permitting while upholding strict, protective standards for the environment. Our strategy saves the time and resources of many individuals and groups, including state and federal agencies and project planners.

For restoration practitioners, they get to spend more time doing what they love and what our Golden State so desperately needs rather than pursuing a protracted approval process.

It’s a win for our land and waterways – and the people, fish, and wildlife who depend on them.

“Today’s conservation work MUST keep up with the scale and pace of threats facing our natural resources. Sustainable Conservation understands that predicament and is doing something about it.”


Adding Up: Projects to the Rescue

Sustainable Conservation’s simplified permitting tools helped break ground on nearly 40 restoration projects in 2017, with many more already underway or in the pipeline for 2018.

To date, we’re pleased to report the following:

  • Through 2017, more than 140 projects have been approved under the National Marine Fisheries Service’s simplified permitting processes that Sustainable Conservation helped put in place for coastal California.
  • 16 projects in the coastal zone have been approved under the simplified permitting process we helped establish with the California Coastal Commission.
  • Usage of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Act (sponsored by Sustainable Conservation) has been steadily increasing every year since it was enacted at the beginning of 2015, with a total of 27 projects now approved in 18 counties around the state and more coming every month.
Fall 2017 Thrive California.jpg

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While these numbers are impressive, the broad spectrum of restoration projects developing in every region of California is truly exciting. A little about some of the projects that utilized our simplified permits in 2017:

  • In Siskiyou County, the introduction of low-cost post-and-fiber lattice structures – known as “beaver dam analogues,” or BDAs – leverages water both in rivers to help recover dwindling populations of Coho salmon, and on land to sustain the area’s farming economy and replenish aquifers. See photo above.
  • In San Mateo County, reconnection of a local waterway to its historic floodplain not only helps out imperiled fish and amphibians but protects downstream communities from flooding.
  • In Santa Barbara County, the removal of fish passage barriers sparks hope for rare Southern California steelhead and provides safer passage for firefighting teams into Los Padres National Forest.
  • And, in Shasta and Humboldt counties, 2018 projects are already seeing results. At a habitat restoration site near Anderson, Calif., snorkeling biologists found several juvenile fall-run Chinook salmon – where there were previously none. See video below.

Side channels help young salmon by providing refuge from the fast river flows they have to navigate on long journeys to and from their upstream spawning grounds. Video courtesy of Harmony Gugino, Project Manager, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District.

Millions More for Wildlife

When it comes to bringing imperiled plants and animals back from the brink, every dollar and minute counts.

Sustainable Conservation’s 2017 analysis shows that up to $125 million could be saved over a 10-year period in California and put to better use through simplified permitting for restoration projects. This potential motivates our partnerships with all three state and all three federal agencies with jurisdiction to make it faster, easier, and much less expensive to complete projects that restore streams and rebuild habitat.

Last year, we fully turned our attention to the remaining two federal agencies with whom we need to develop simplified permitting to achieve full state coverage: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Thanks to you, we have made remarkable progress toward lowering barriers to pivotal habitat improvement and enhancement. With your continued help, we can finish the process – ensuring the whole of our Golden State can more readily lend a helping hand to waterways and wildlife.

Key Partners

  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Resource Conservation Districts of California
  • Prunuske Chatham, Inc.
Second generation dairy owner Mike McRee

Transforming Dairy Waste from Contaminant to Valuable Resource

California leads the nation in milk production. With that comes fortifying cheese and yogurt, 50,000 Golden State jobs – and a mountain of manure.

If California is home to 1.8 million cows and each animal produces around 120 pounds of waste per day… well, you can do the math. That’s a whole lot of poop that dairies need to manage in order to prevent groundwater pollution and offset harmful methane emissions.

“Kern County’s groundwater is critically low, so finding new, precision technologies that help us save water and keep nitrates out of our aquifer while using our manure resources on-farm has the potential to make a big difference.”

Dairy farmers and their neighbors also contend with threats to water supplies due to extreme climate shifts, including predicted droughts even worse than the landmark dry spell we most recently endured. The health of local communities and agriculture hangs in the balance.

For over 15 years, Sustainable Conservation has worked with Central Valley dairies to protect water and air quality while maintaining business viability. The technologies we’ve developed together enable farmers to grow feed crops with nutrients found right on the farm – offering up a double dose of resilience by not only avoiding the poop hitting the fan but turning it into “black gold.”


Mastering Manure Management for Clean Water

Think of manure as free and readily available natural fertilizer. Too much of it is problematic, but the right doses support crops that keep cows happy and healthy. Using a mixture of manure and water in underground drip irrigation tape pinpoints the ratio, saving farmers money on synthetic fertilizer and keeping nitrates out of groundwater.

We’ve pioneered a system with Netafim USA, a world leader in irrigation equipment, that targets water and nutrients directly to crop root zones in monitored quantities, ensuring plants get exactly what they need to flourish, and no more to leach into groundwater below.

Promising results from our initial pilot project included a 15% increase in crop yields, a nearly 40% increase in water-use efficiency, and a more than 50% increase in nitrogen-use efficiency.

Drip irrigation flood irrigation

Water savings made visible: our pioneering system, which precisely applies water and manure-based fertilizer via drip irrigation (LEFT), vs. flood irrigation (RIGHT).

Last year, with your support and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture*, we expanded our demonstration sites to three dairies covering more than 200 acres in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Doing so united a diverse group of leaders – agricultural, government, academic, business, and environmental – around shared conservation goals. We installed systems on all sites, including McRee Dairy (owner Mike McRee pictured at left in main photo with Sustainable Conservation Project Manager John Cardoza), and began monitoring corn and wheat grown with manure-based fertilizer delivered via subterranean tubing alongside control fields using flood irrigation. The visuals alone – precisely applied drips of water and nitrogen versus pools of standing water on fields – give you an idea of the water and nutrient savings achieved by the new system.

Given climate and allocation uncertainties, dairy farmers are looking for ways to continue producing milk using less water. Shifting irrigation practices offers the biggest opportunity for savings. If our pioneering system is adopted on just 25% of California dairies' corn silage (cow feed) acreage, dairies could grow up to 15% more corn with much less water. How much less? Enough water to fill 46,000 Olympic-size swimming pools every year. Combined with significant reductions in nitrate leaching and greenhouse gas emissions afforded by the system, we’re talking real impact in California.

Compost: Sharing the Wealth

When it comes to manure, dairies have too much of a good thing. What if they could share the wealth with other areas of the Central Valley?

Compost is a low-tech, economically sensible option for reducing manure concentration to protect drinking water and air quality. Composting dairy manure creates a high-quality soil amendment, kills pathogens, reduces nitrates that threaten water quality, and produces a more compact product that can be easily transported for use on food crops across California.

Sustainable Conservation leads a statewide coalition of agency and industry partners to inform smart regulations for dairy composting practices. Based on the findings of our 2017 report, we’re educating state lawmakers about the potential of composting manure to reduce farming’s water and climate impacts – and to keep dairies in California so they can be part of environmental solutions here at home.

Key Partners

  • State and Regional Water Boards
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Western United Dairymen
  • Netafim
  • General Mills
*USDA Disclosure Statement: This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 69-3A75-17-53. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Nursery Photo

Stopping Invasive Plant Introductions

California is one of the world’s great ecological treasures. We share our Golden State with an astounding array of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth. In flora alone, our home hosts more than any other state in the U.S.

Plants help us gauge the health of our wild lands. Many of them feed and shelter wildlife, provide shade and opportunity for reflection, and underpin and connect our ecosystems.

But some threaten California’s glorious abundance by crowding out native species and increasing fire and flood danger. Nearly 50% of invasive plants in California were introduced for ornamental purposes – meaning an innocent seedling purchase at your local nursery could be bad news for the landscapes beyond your yard.

That’s why Sustainable Conservation’s PlantRight initiative unites a diverse alliance of horticultural industry leaders to keep invasive plants off store shelves and out of the supply chain entirely. Our partners include “big-box” and independent garden centers, ornamental growers, nursery and landscape trade associations, and plant scientists – all of whom are committed to promoting non-invasive plants and preventing invasive plant threats from taking root.

Together, we’re protecting the irreplaceable biodiversity that makes California such a special place to live.


Big-Box Breakthrough

2018 plant listBig-box stores are responsible for approximately 70% of all retail plant sales in California. Accordingly, joining forces with these influential retailers to voluntarily remove invasive plants from their inventory makes a big difference. PlantRight’s list takes the guesswork out of answering What’s invasive? and helps our valued retail partners provide even better choices for customers in search of environmentally-friendly plants.

Each spring, to track the progress of PlantRight’s outreach and guide future efforts, we survey hundreds of garden centers across the state.

In 2017, the sale of invasive plants at big-box stores dropped down to a mere 3% – continuing the sharp decline we’ve seen since 2014’s 43%.

PlantRight’s retail partners include stores large and small, from California locations of The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Orchard Supply Hardware, to regional chains like Sloat Garden Center, and veteran independents such as Roger’s Gardens, The Garden Company, and Yamagami’s.

Knowing Before Growing

Snowy-plover and Iceplant

While highway iceplant’s fuschia blooms may distract us with their beauty, the troublesome succulent’s stranglehold on mile after mile of coastal real estate threatens imperiled shore birds like the Western snowy plover.

Keeping California free of future plant invasions requires prevention. How we do that here can benefit landscapes and vulnerable wildlife all over the U.S.

PlantRight’s Plant Risk Evaluator (PRE™) helps the horticultural trade predict, with 95% accuracy, whether or not a plant poses a high invasive risk in a specific region – and prevent bringing to market those plants identified as problematic.

Through a 2017 Farm Bill grant, four botanic gardens across the nation commenced deployment of PRE. Each garden assessed 50 landscape plants of economic interest or contention within their region, for a total of 200 assessments. The year-long project significantly advanced the PRE tool and database – enhancing ease-of-use, adding more collaboration capabilities, growing the database beyond California-based inquiries (nearly 500 assessments and growing), and increasing national awareness of this new decision support tool for the nursery and landscape trade.

When we unite horticultural leaders to prevent invasive plants from being sold in the first place, we support thriving native habitats and landscapes.

Key Partners

  • Nursery partners, including The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Orchard Supply Hardware
  • University of California, Statewide Master Gardener Program
  • California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers
  • California Invasive Plant Council
  • The Nature Conservancy

Bonus Resource

Beyond Drought-Tolerant: A California Low-Water Gardening Guide from Sustainable Conservation

In 2017, thanks in part to Sustainable Conservation’s efforts, the San Joaquin Valley recharged 6.5 million acre-feet* of water. How much more water could our Golden State save underground if we were fully prepared?

*1 acre-foot = enough water to supply 1-2 California households for 1 year.
Up to twice as much.

You can help California do this!
How much money could we save Californians undertaking projects to restore habitat and protect water quality with Sustainable Conservation’s simplified permitting tools?
$125 million over ten years.

You gift can help reap impressive results!
How much water could Sustainable Conservation’s pioneering irrigation technology save dairy farmers every year?
Enough water to fill 46,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. That’s if our system is adopted on just 25% of California dairy acreage that grows corn to feed cows.

With your support, we can achieve this!

Our People

The source of Sustainable Conservation’s resilience as we work to build the same for our Golden State? YOU – our donors and partners. Thank you for uniting with us to solve California’s toughest environmental challenges.

Sustainable Conservation extends gratitude to the following individual and institutional supporters who contributed generously between January – December 2017. Your gifts keep our work going – and California on a path to environmental and economic health.

Founder Circle

Gifts over $100,000

Anonymous (2)

Battery Powered

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Bonneville Environmental Foundation

Chris and Nina Buchbinder

California Department of Food and Agriculture, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Morgan Family Foundation

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Farm Bill

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Conservation Innovation Grants

Water Foundation

Windward Fund

Visionary Circle

Gifts between $50,000 and $99,999

Anonymous (2)

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Fresno Council of Governments

Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation

The Land-Sea Connection program, administered by Resources Legacy Fund on behalf of the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment

The Landers Family

The Elizabeth R. and William J. Patterson Foundation

Sand Hill Foundation

Russell and Elizabeth Siegelman

Tundra Glacier Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

The Rose Hills Foundation

Innovator Circle

Gifts between $25,000 and $49,999

Anonymous (2)

David and Lyn Anderson

The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation

Dawson Family Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

The Duka Foundation, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Dan and Rae Emmett

The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation

Kissick Family Foundation

Noel Perry

The Seaver Institute

Entrepreneur Circle

Gifts between $10,000 and $24,999

Chuck and Druann Ahlem

The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment

Laura and Girard Beaudin

Beller Moses Family Foundation

Anne D. and Walter B. Clark Family, an advised fund of Schwab Charitable

George Cogan and Fannie Allen

Annette and Tom Counts

Cox Family Fund

Dancing Tides Foundation

Fred Gellert Family Foundation

Green Valley Foundation

Mrs. Charlene C. Harvey

Laura Hattendorf and Andy Kau

Jennifer Hernandez

Kristine Johnson and Tim Dattels

Darcy and Richard Kopcho

Leonetti/O’Connell Family Foundation

Peggy Miller

Mrs. Patricia B. Oppenheim

Kristi and Tom Patterson

Rebecca Patton and Tom Goodrich

Payne Family Foundation

The Peterson Family Foundation

Tina and John Quinn

J. Miles Reiter and Rosanne Reiter Family Foundation

Nancy and Greg Serrurier

Cindy Starrett

Flora L. Thornton Foundation

Partner Circle

Gifts between $5,000 and $9,999


Richard Barker

John Bidart

Ashley Boren and Dan Purtell

Philip and Jamie Bowles

Don and Diane Bransford

Raymond M. Deméré, Jr. Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Dan and Diana Dooley

Driscoll’s, Inc.

Andy and Dana Eckert


Joe Gervais and Bonnie Brown

Susan and William Gray

Bill and Daryn Horton

Hotchkis Foundation, designated by Sarah Hotchkis Ketterer

The JEC Foundation

The Kutter Family Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Latham & Watkins LLP

The Suzanne Legallet Charitable Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

MacTon Foundation

McDorobush Family Foundation

Lawry and Charles Meister

Kirsten and Arthur Miller

Charles and Susan Nichols

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Maricopa Orchards

Douglas Rigg

The Schmitz-Fromherz Family Fund

Sykes Family Foundation

Leadership Circle

Gifts between $1,000 and $4,999

ACR Foundation

Anonymous (2)

The Applewood Fund at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

Linda Rosenberg Ach and Andrew Ach

Aufmuth Family Foundation

Marc Baer and Hannah Hotchkiss

Joe and Toni Bagley

Frank Boren

Michael Bush

Jerome and MD Buttrick

The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation (corporate matching gifts)

Sandy Carlson and Steven Rudman

Blair Carty

Beth Cross and Tony Stayner

The Cygnet Foundation

Cari and Bill Dauphinais

Susan and Eric Dunn

Eades Foundation

East Creek Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

The Ecke Family

Environmental Science Associates

Bob Epstein and Amy Roth

Sally and Craig Falkenhagen

Faucett Catalyst Fund at Schwab Charitable

Laura and John Fisher

Michael and Kristy Frantz

Alison and Chuck Gardner

Bruce and Madelyn Glickfeld

Kay Sprinkel Grace

Katie and Blake Griffin

Winston Hickox

Holland & Knight LLP

The Holmstrom Family Fund

Iverson Family Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Sudhanshu and Lori Jain

Julie Juergens and Erik Budde

Peter Kareiva

Rich and Gina Kelley

Chip Koch and Tricia Stone

Landau/Purcell Charitable Lead Trust

Cynthia Hunter Lang

Dr. and Mrs. Roger Lang

Eric Lee

JR and Jennifer Matthews

Nancy McCallister and Fred Benz

Steve and Katy McCormick

Deb and Tim McCune

Betsy and Ed McDermott

Sandra and John McGonigle

Julie and Craig McNamara

Noelle Montgomery and Dan Janney

Richard Morrison

Stephanie Moulton-Peters and Roger Peters

Leslie Moulton-Post

Jan Nash and Elizabeth Resnick

Nursery Growers Association of California

Doug and Emilie Ogden

Adán Ortega, Jr. and Susan Allen

Brian Ostrom

Julie Packard

The Parish Family Foundation, an advised fund of Fidelity Charitable

Rosendahl Family Fund, an advised fund of Fidelity Charitable

Rosston Family Fund, an advised fund of Fidelity Charitable

Lois and Arthur Roth

Kelly and Robert Scannell

Ruth Shaber

Michael Spiegelman

Richard Storrs

Dana and Jeff Swisher

Allison Harvey Turner and Michael Turner

Tom and Janet Unterman Family Gift Fund, an advised fund at the California Community Foundation

Wells Fargo Foundation

Kelsey Wirth and Dr. Samuel Myers

Stuart and Lisa Woolf

Collaborator Circle

Gifts between $500 and $999

Anonymous (2)

Atherton Garden Guild

Tom Barry and Brenda Christensen

Battey Family Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation

The Jessie and Travis Becker Fund, an advised fund of Fidelity Charitable

Dora and John Bennett

The Scott and Ky-Van Benson Charitable Fund

Michael and Jeanette Bidart Family Foundation

Daniel Campbell

Emmy Cattani

The Victoria Chen and Jeffrey Guild Fund

Gregory Coleman

Kimberley and Christopher Delfino

Angie and Michael Earnhardt

Jon Elam

Jonathan Forrester

Peter and Kendall Galli

Dino Giacomazzi

Google Matching Gifts Program

Ellen Hanak and Robert Valletta

Andrea Higgins and Pete Chung

Julie and David Hodge

Katherine Humpstone and Jeremy Koch

Johnsby Family Fund, an advised fund of Fidelity Charitable

Ellen Johnston

Dona Juergens

Stephen Koch and Kathy Nyrop

Caron Lee

Todd and Megan Lewis

Bryce and Jill Lundberg

Daniel Mountjoy

Sandra V. Naftzger Fund, an advised fund at the California Community Foundation

Netflix Matching Gift

Kathryn Olson

Elisabeth and Jeff Ostrow

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (corporate matching gifts)

Felisa Preskill

Tres and Julie Reid

Susan Rikalo

Pamela Sergio

Scott and Madeleine Sklar

Lester Snow

Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery

J. Stacey Sullivan and Adrienne Alvord

Sarah Taylor

Andrea and John Thomas

Tony and Joan Turkovich

Wendy and Mason Willrich

Yahoo Matching Gifts

Contributor Circle

Gifts between $1 and $499

Anonymous (12)

Michael Abrams


American Consumer Opinion

Marsha and John Anderson

George and Ann Anterasian

Cristina Reis de Araujo

Susanna Aulbach

Chiye Azuma

Carol Baird and Alan Harper

C.R. Bard Foundation Matching Gifts

Megan and Andy Bark

Regina Benson

CJ Bernstein Charitable Fund of the Jewish Communal Fund

Adam Bester

Paul Betancourt

Emily Blanck and Daniel Weiss

Blue Shield of California Matching Gift

Gina Blus and Mark O’Leary

Daphne and Robert Bransten

Kathy Brown

Michael Bruner

Janel Brynda

Bob and Antoinette Buckner

Bill and Kay Burrows

Lewis Butler

Katie, Emmy and Laura Cattani

Harvey and Phyllis Ceaser

Mike and Hildy Chaple

Bobbie and Dave Chapman Endowment at Schwab Charitable

Joe Choperena

Claudia Bluestein Cohan

Gregory and Jessica Coleman

Don and Diane Cooley

Susan Corlett

Martha and Don Cowell

Chrissie and Brooks Crawford

Eric and Mary Crawford

Andrea Cristofani

Vernon Crowder

Maureen Decombe

Karen Dell and Ron Vale

Nona Dennis

Houston Do

Peter and Amy Drekmeier

Amanda Dyson and Kevin Lai

Michelle Eaton

Neil Elliott

Stephanie Falzone

Natalie Fawzi

Richard Fike and Sara Thorpe

Ryan and Erica Flaherty

Candice Flint

Bette Floreani and Donald Anderson

Randy Fox

Heather Furmidge

Susan Gardner

Robert Giacomini Dairy Inc.

Glenda Gonzalez

Michele Good

Steven and Jane Green

Grinstead Family Charitable Fund, an advised fund of Schwab Charitable

Tracy Grubbs and Richard Taylor

Richard Hammond

Christa Harader

Linda Harvey

Ayris Hatton

Jack Henderson and Gail Tint

Martha Henderson and Steve Ladd

Michael and Barbara Hertel

Ann-Marie Hogan

Betty and Bob Hogan

John Huddleston

Marie Kaneko

Richard Kannisto

Alex Karolyi and Seana O’Shaughnessy

Channah and Lawrence Katz

Arthur Keller

Deborah Kemp

Lois and Leland Kent

Dara Kerkorian

Linda Kilb

Sabina King

Tom Knox

Patrick Koepele

Christina Kohler

Chris Krahn and Susanne Scher

Ken Krich and Nancy Leahong

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Campaign Programs

Allen Lee

Kathleen and John Lee

Jane Lew

Edna and Matthew Lewis

Margy Lindquist

Henry Peck Little

Jody London and Michael Aronson

James J. Ludwig Foundation

Catherine Lundy

Peggie Macleod

Les and Kay Magoon

James and Marina Marguet

Sandi Matsumoto

Patricia Matteson and Michael Zeiss

Hilary and Bayard Maybank

Frank McGuire

Kathy and Tom McLaughlin

Elizabeth McMillan

Steve McShane

David Menefee and Karin Anderson

Jerry and Barbara Meral

Elizabeth Merryweather

Lindsey and Kenny Meyersieck

Leah Middleton

Paul Minault

Modesto Metro Rotary Club Foundation

Robert and Janet Mountjoy

Sopac McCarthy Mulholland

Jim and Liz Musbach

Amy Myers and Andrew Stocking

Tracie Neuhaus

Lisa Newbold

Lisa Newman-Wise

Conrad Nicoll

Amy Norman

David Orth

OSIsoft, LLC

Joan Osterman

Karen Pankey

Teresa Parker

Gary Patton

Andrea Peterson and Michael Rubin

Katie and Clark Porter

Wendy Pulling

La Purisima Audubon Society

Jane Quinn

Gordon Rausser

Derek and Roberta Richardson

Evette and Dennis Richardson

Emily Rooney

Evelyne and Richard Rominger

Timothy Rosenfeld

Sara and Michael Rosenthal

Samuel Salkin and Alexandra Derby

Erich Franz Schimps

Erik Schmidt

Stillwater Science

Laura Sergio

Steve Shaffer

Jananne Sharpless

Susan Sheeran

Stanton Shelly

Ann Silva

Shirley and Igor Skaredoff

Jesse Smith

Stephanie Smith and Ted Radosevich

Stephen Socolof

Dominic Spaethling and Robin Steele

Alexandra and Douglas Standing

Berta Steele

Debby Stegura and Larry Vanden Bos

Hugh and Diane Stevenson

Elizabeth Storey

Sam Strasser

Susan and Douglas Swaim

Bill Taylor

Alvin Thoma

Elena and John Thompson

Rachelle Thompson

Margaret Trumbly

Brandon Vance

Varian Partners in Giving Employee Engagement Fund

Varsity Technologies

Theresa and Daniel Vaughan

Jehan Velji and Eric Cicourel

Timothy Vendlinski and Nancy Lindsay

Kathy Viatella

Miriam Vu

Gail Waldron

Dick and Carolyn Warmington

Austin Whitman

Karen and Bob Wilhelm

Sue and Kirk Wilkinson

Helen Williamson

Brian Wilson

The Woodward Family, an advised fund of Fidelity Charitable

Ryan Woroniecki

Honorary and Memorial Gifts

Anonymous, in honor of Robert Simcox

Leah and Brahm Ahmadi, in honor of Carmelo and Micah Ahmadi

Sarra Alpert, in honor of Leah Katz Ahmadi

Patricia and Rich Campbell, in memory of Diana Cook Pearl

Robyn Carliss and Josh Pieper, in honor of The Rogers Family

Portia and Andy Cohen, in honor of Tina Quinn and Ashley Boren

Jocelyn and Gregory Cortese, in honor of Grace Cortese

EMIKA Fund, in memory of Tom Purtell

Grant Giske, in honor of Tom and Heidi Giske, Erik and Ryan Giske, Tim and Jan Gillespie, Nate Giske and Kate Noson, and Josh and Jenna Giske

Christa Harader, in honor of Daniel Mountjoy

Robert Jardin and Kevin Miller, in honor of Robyn Carliss

Channah and Lawrence Katz, in honor of Leah Katz Ahmadi

Kelli McCune, in honor of Isabelle and Isaiah Flores

Lawry and Charles Meister, in honor of Ashley Boren for all her efforts to save and sustain our beautiful California environment

Linda Merrell, in honor of Ed and Carrie Merrell

Jan Merryweather, in honor of Susan Corlett

Suzie Rose, in honor of Leah Katz Ahmadi

Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation, in honor of Frank Boren

Jane and Bill Stocklin, in honor of Sally Falkenhagen

Taketa ‘Ohana Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation, in honor of Frank Boren

Marcel Thomas, in honor of Jennifer Hernandez

The Richard C. and Barbara C. Van Dusen Family Fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in honor of Ashley Boren’s leadership

Jean Wells, in honor of Frank Boren

Gregory Wendt, in honor of Chris Buchbinder

Kym and Mark Williams, in honor of Tina Quinn

Lisa Williams, in honor of Liebe Patterson

Susan and Chris Willrich, in honor of Tina Quinn

Joanne Zhao, in honor of Aquaducks Robotics Team, Castilleja School

In-Kind Gifts

Anonymous (2)

Kathy Brown

Environmental Science Associates

Sally and Craig Falkenhagen

Mrs. Charlene C. Harvey

Paul Hastings LLP

Gail and John Kautz, Ironstone Vineyards

Carina B. Merrick

Turlock Irrigation District

UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Collaboration: it’s the best way we know to make a lasting difference. Sustainable Conservation thanks our partners for working with us in service of a thriving Golden State. Your diverse viewpoints and expertise are key to developing environmental solutions that work for everyone.

7 Day Nursery

Agricultural Council of California

Almond Board of California

Alnus Ecological, Inc.

Altman Plants

American Public Gardens Association

American River Conservancy

American Rivers

American Society of Landscape Architects - Northern California Chapter


Association of California Water Agencies

Association of Professional Landscape Designers, California Chapter

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Audubon California

Bachand & Associates

Back to Natives Nursery

Bailey Nurseries

Ball Horticultural

Corey Barnes, San Francisco Botanical Garden

Joe & Renee Barroso Dairy

Belmont Nursery

Bidart Dairy

Big Oak Nursery

Biofiltro USA Inc.

Nick Blom

Botanical Research Institute of Texas

Frank S. Brown Company

Cachuma Operations Maintenance Board

Cachuma Resource Conservation District




California Ag Solutions

California Air Resources Board

California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers

California Association of Resource Conservation Districts

California Coastal Commission

California Dairy Campaign

California Dairy Quality Assurance Program

California Department of Conservation

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

California Department of Food and Agriculture

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

California Farm Bureau Federation

California Invasive Plant Council

California Landscape Contractors Association

California Native Plant Society

California Natural Resources Agency

California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment

California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply

California State Coastal Conservancy

California State Parks Department

California State Water Resources Control Board

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

California Trout

California Water Action Collaborative

California Water Efficiency Partnership

California Water Foundation

Californians Against Waste


Carbon Cycle Institute

Central Coast Salmon Enhancement

Central Coast Wetlands Group

Central Valley Flood Protection Board


Chicago Botanic Garden

Chino Basin Water Conservation District

City Farmers Nursery

City of Santa Monica, Office of Sustainability and the Environment

Clover Prairie Farms

Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District

Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Al Costa

Cosumnes Coalition

Dairy Cares

De Jager Dairy

Delta Conservancy

Delta Stewardship Council


Earth Genome

East Bay Municipal Utility District


Edgar & Associates

Efird Ag Enterprises

EMIGH Ace Hardware

Environmental Defense Center

Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Science Associates

Fanelli Dairy


Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Foster Farms Dairy

Frantz Nursery

Craig Frear, PhD

Fresno Council of Government

E&J Gallo Winery

Joseph Gallo Farms

General Mills

Giacomazzi Dairy Farms

Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

Grassroots Ecology

Green Acres Nursery & Supply

Green Gardens Group

Green Gulch Farm Zen Center

Grower-Shipper Association

Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery

High Country Nursery

Horticultural Research Institute

Humboldt County Resource Conservation District

Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office

Integrated Waste Management Consulting, LLC

Irrigation Matters

Irvine Ranch Water District

Johann Dairy

Kings River Conservation District

Kings River Water Association

Laguna Irrigation District


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Lockeford Plant Materials Center (Natural Resources Conservation Service)

Lodi Winegrape Commission

Long Beach Water, Lawn-to-Garden Program

Los Angeles County Arboretum

Lowe’s, California

Madera Irrigation District

Maricopa Orchards

Marin Carbon Project

Marin Municipal Water District

Marin Resource Conservation District

Mattole Restoration Council

McShane’s Landscape Supply

Mendocino County Resource Conservation District

Michael McRee Dairy

Milk Producers Council

Mission Blue Nursery

Monrovia Growers

Moulton Niguel Water District

National Marine Fisheries Service

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center

Netafim, USA


Noble Resources Group

North Park Nursery

North San Joaquin Water Conservation District

Northern California Water Association

Nursery Growers Association

Orchard Supply Hardware, California

Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency

Papenhausen Hardware & Nursery

Point Blue Conservation Science

Prado Farms

Prunuske-Chatham, Inc.

Public Policy Institute of California

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper

Rancho Ventura Conservation Trust

Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region

Regional Water Quality Control Board, North Coast Region

ReScape California

Resource Conservation District of Monterey County

Resource Conservation District of San Mateo County

Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County

Roger’s Gardens

Rosedale Rio Bravo Water Storage District

Sacramento Council of Government

Salmonid Restoration Federation

San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority

San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

San Marcos Growers

San Mateo County Weed Management Area

Sanctuary Forest

Sand County Foundation

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Santa Clara Valley Water District

Save Our Water

Scott River Watershed Council

Sequoia Riverlands Trust

Sierra Watershed Progressive

Siskiyou Resource Conservation District

Sloat Garden Center

Solana Succulents

Sonoma Compost Company

Sonoma Resource Conservation District

Sonoma-Marin Water Saving Partnership

South Bay Green Gardens

South Coast Habitat Restoration

Stanford Center for Groundwater Evaluation and Management

Stanford, Water in the West

State Water Resources Control Board

Nan Sterman, A Growing Passion

Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops

SummerWinds Nursery (California)

Talini’s Nursery

Terranova Ranch

The Garden Company

The Home Depot Garden Centers, California

The Nature Conservancy

The Plant Foundry

Tri-County Fish Team

Trout Unlimited

Tulare Irrigation District

UC Cooperative Extension, Davis

UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno

UC Davis

UC Davis, Arboretum

UC Davis, Department of Plant Sciences

UC Davis, Information Center for the Environment

UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

UC Master Gardener Program

UC Santa Barbara-Carpinteria Marsh Natural Reserve

UC Santa Cruz

UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District

US Army Corps of Engineers-Regulatory Program

US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

US Fish and Wildlife Service

US Forest Service

Valsigna Farms

Wegis and Young

West Star Dairy

Western Growers Association

Western Shasta Resource Conservation District

Western United Dairymen

Woodward and Curran

Yamagami’s Nursery

Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District

Yurok Tribe

Zone 7 Water Agency

DESIGN AND CODING: Vicki Valentine

WRITING AND ART DIRECTION: Robyn Carliss, Director of Creative Services, Sustainable Conservation

OPENING MONTAGE: Pistachio tree, green almonds on branch, and Sustainable Conservation Senior Project Manager Joe Choperena with Terranova Ranch Vice President and General Manager Don Cameron (holding shovel) by Paolo Vescia. Sustainable Conservation Senior Manager of Conservation Incentives Kelli McCune with Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County Program Manager Sacha Lozano in strawberry field by Christa Harader. Coho salmon courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington.

REPLENISHING GROUNDWATER: Main photo of Sustainable Conservation Senior Project Manager Joe Choperena with Terranova Ranch Vice President and General Manager Don Cameron (holding shovel), and pistachio tree by Paolo Vescia.

PROTECTING COASTAL AQUIFERS: Main photo of Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County Program Manager Sacha courtesy of California FarmLink. Sustainable Conservation Senior Manager of Conservation Incentives Kelli McCune with Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County Program Manager Sacha Lozano in strawberry field, and strawberry plants by Christa Harader.

ACCELERATING RESTORATION: Main photo of beaver dam analogue restoration project courtesy of Betsy Stapleton. Coho salmon courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington.

TRANSFORMING DAIRY WASTE: Main photo of McRee Dairy owner Mike McRee with Sustainable Conservation Project Manager John Cardoza by Christa Harader.

STOPPING INVASIVE PLANTS: Main photo of nursery shopper by Chris Crawford. Highway iceplant invasion by flickr user calwhiz. Western snowy plover by Peter Pearsall/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

OUR PEOPLE: Sustainable Conservation Project Manager John Cardoza by Christa Harader.

2017 Financial Highlights

Charity Navigator LogoSustainable Conservation consistently receives top honors from the country’s premier charity evaluator, Charity Navigator, for our financial strength, excellent governance, and ability to maximize the impact of donations.

2016 Financial Charts
2016 Financial Charts

Statement of Activities

Foundation Grants $ 2,055,042
Individual Contributions $ 1,437,174
Government Grants $ 745,310
Other $ 77,113
Total Support and Revenue $ 4,314,639
Programs $ 4,184,421
Fundraising $ 970,892
General and Administrative $ 506,311
Total Expenses $ 5,661,624
Investment Income $ 208,078
Change in Net Assets ($ 1,138,907)
Net Assets Beginning of Year $ 5,455,294
Net Assets End of Year $ 4,316,387

At the end of 2012, Sustainable Conservation launched the Making Big Ideas Work campaign in order to increase revenue and deepen programmatic impacts. Campaign funds were raised between 2013-2015 and expended between 2013-2017. As planned, the remaining campaign funds were expended throughout the year ending on December 31, 2017.

Review the complete financial report audited by Squar Milner, Certified Public Accountants and Financial Advisors.