About Us

Our Mission

Sustainable Conservation advances the collaborative stewardship of California’s land, air, and water for the benefit of nature and people.

 

Our Work

Sustainable Conservation helps California thrive by uniting people to solve the toughest challenges facing our land, air, and water. Every day, we bring together business, landowners, communities, and government, in some of the most productive yet economically disadvantaged parts of California, to steward the resources on which we all depend in ways that are just and make economic sense.

Sustainable Conservation currently drives collaborative solutions to meet the water needs of California’s environment, people, and economy for current and future generations – with particular focus on advancing sustainable groundwater management and accelerating the stewardship of natural and working lands and waterways. A sustainable water future for California that supports a thriving economy is achievable. But, a future in which nature and people have access to clean, affordable, and reliable water is possible only by working with – not against – each other.

Partnering for Change

Collaboration and inclusivity are in our DNA. For nearly three decades, Sustainable Conservation has built coalitions of people with different interests to catalyze conservation success. By listening deeply and honoring all perspectives, we locate common ground on which to forge a better path forward for our Golden State.

Commitment to Continuous Learning

We recognize the importance of continually expanding our learning to better understand who our work benefits, where our blind spots are, and how we can evolve to ensure our solutions are co-created with those most impacted by water and climate issues. There’s always more we can do to prioritize human needs and equity issues – both in the field and at the office.

We are in the process of reviewing all of our programs to identify who is currently at the table with us, who is missing at the table, and how we can provide more room at the table. Current programmatic efforts include:

  • Stepping up our efforts to address the dire lack of clean drinking water for more than one million Californians.
  • Targeting on-farm pollution-reduction technologies to benefit impacted communities.
  • Guiding groundwater recharge practices to protect, and ideally improve, water quality.
  • Widening our outreach to ensure all communities can access simplified pathways for habitat restoration work.

We are also looking at our policies and practices to foster an inclusive, transparent, and non-hierarchical internal structure. Beginning in 2019 and throughout 2020, staff and Board members have participated in trainings offered by the Center for Diversity and the Environment and the Racial Equity Institute to challenge our implicit biases, understand the historic and current context of racial and economic inequities in the U.S., and prioritize the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work and culture.

We recently formed diversity, equity, and inclusion staff and Board committees with rotating annual membership to keep the organization moving along this path. We will continue trainings with the Center for Diversity and the Environment in 2021 and 2022 to incorporate our learnings into each of our programs and the organization as a whole.

Milestones

  • Sustainable Conservation logo

    Founded - 1993

    What if protecting the environment was good for business?

  • Planting Right

    America's largest plant retailers help Californians PlantRight

  • Protecting Water Quality

    Central Valley dairies partner to boost clean water

  • Recharging Groundwater

    Alliance forms to restore groundwater in Calif.

  • Accelerating Restoration

    Habitat restoration gets boost from new law

  • Clean Water on Dairies

    Putting worms to work at California dairies

  • Brake Pad Partnership

    Copper-free brakes to benefit clean water, fish

  • Waste to Watts

    Turning cow waste into renewable energy

Our People

  • Jacqueline Arase

    Donor Database and Prospect Research Manager
  • Susanna Aulbach

    Grants and Contracts Administrator
  • Michael Behrens

    Chief Development Officer
  • Ashley Boren

    Chief Executive Officer
  • Taylor Broadhead

    Project Manager, Water and Dairy Programs
  • John Cardoza

    Project Director
  • Robyn Carliss

    Creative and Communications Director
  • Sarah Castle

    Senior Research Analyst
  • Joe Choperena

    Project Director of Water Resources
  • Charles Delgado_staff

    Charles Delgado

    Policy Director
  • Stephanie Falzone

    Project Manager
  • Ryan Flaherty

    Director of Business Partnerships
  • Elliot Grant

    Program Associate
  • Katie Haldeman

    Senior Project Manager, Accelerating Restoration
  • Christa Harader

    Digital Content Producer
  • Nathan Hart

    Foundations and Corporate Relations Manager
  • Roshni Katrak-Adefowora

    Data and Science Communication Specialist
  • Modibo Keita

  • Pinky Keswani

    Director, People and Culture
  • Jane Lew

    Accounting Manager
  • Erika Lovejoy

    Program Director, Accelerating Restoration
  • Aysha Massell headshot

    Aysha Massell

    Program Director, Water for the Future
  • Jan Merryweather

    Director of Individual Giving
  • Daniel Mountjoy

    Director of Resource Stewardship
  • Hannah Nowakowski

    Donor Relations and Engagement Manager
  • Gina Pacheu

    Chief Financial Officer
  • Rogell Rogers

    Agronomist, CCA, PCA
  • Susan Sheeran

    Director of Annual Giving & Stewardship
  • Bill Taylor

    Office Manager

Board of Directors

Our experienced Board of Directors and Advisory Board members hail from those stakeholder groups Sustainable Conservation partners with daily to drive our conservation mission – industry, government, farming and the nonprofit sector. This unique composition offers diverse perspectives for developing the most effective solutions to California’s most pressing environmental problems.

  • Laura Beaudin

    Partner, Bain & Company
  • Lauren B. Dachs

    President and Founder, Laural Foundation
  • Kim Delfino

    President & Founder, Earth Advocacy
  • Daniel M. Dooley, Board Chairman

    Principal, New Current Water and Land, LLC.
  • Michael Frantz

    Co-owner, Frantz Wholesale Nursery
  • Leslie Friedman Johnson

    Principal and Co-Founder, Conservation and Natural Resources Group
  • Jennifer Hernandez, Secretary

    Partner, Holland & Knight
  • Peter Kareiva

    President & CEO, The Aquarium of the Pacific
  • Sally Liu

    Environmental Philanthropist & Scientist
  • Jeff Loomans

    President, Greater Farallones Association
  • Steve McCormick

    Managing Director, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
  • Isabel P. Montañez

    Faculty Director, UC Davis Institute of the Environment
  • Mohsen Mortada

    CEO, Cole Engineering Group
  • Ginger Scheer Oros

    MFT
  • Adán Ortega, Jr.

    Principal, Ortega Strategies Group
  • Jon Reiter, Treasurer

    Principal, Cavalrei
  • J. Miles Reiter

    Chairman & CEO, Driscoll's

Advisory Board

  • Charles Ahlem

    Owner, Charles Ahlem Ranch & Hilmar Cheese Company
  • Adrienne Alvord

    Western States Director, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Paul Betancourt

    Managing Partner, VF Farms
  • Don Bransford

    Owner, Bransford Farms
  • Chris Buchbinder

    Portfolio Manager and Senior Vice President, Capital Group Companies
  • John Cain

    Director of Conservation for California Flood Management, American Rivers
  • Frank Casey

    Ecosystem Services Theme Lead, Science and Decisions Center, United States Geological Survey
  • Gretchen Daily

    Bing Professor of Environmental Science, Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University
  • Paula Daniels

    Co-Founder, Chair, Center for Good Food Purchasing
  • John Dawson

    Co-Founder, Zentek
  • Dan Emmett

    Executive Chairman, Douglas Emmett, Inc., Founding Board Member, Sustainable Conservation
  • Bob Epstein

    Co-Founder, E2
  • Steve Gross

    Vice President of State Relations, Wine Institute
  • Ellen Hanak

    Director, PPIC Water Policy Center
  • Laura Hattendorf

    Head of Investments, Mulago Foundation, Co-Founder, Sustainable Conservation
  • Charlene Harvey

    Civic Leader
  • Winston Hickox

    Principal, California Strategies, LLC
  • Kristine Johnson

    Founder & Executive Director, Kingfisher Foundation
  • Rich Kelley

    Principal, Search Fund Partners
  • Chip Koch

    Principal Land Consultant, Safety, Health and Environment
  • Richard Landers

  • Cindy Lang

    Philanthropist, Strategist & Dot Connector
  • Felicia Marcus

    Member, Water Policy Group
  • Jerry Meral

    Director, Natural Heritage Institute
  • Jeff Mount

    Senior Fellow, PPIC Water Policy Center
  • Wendy Pulling

    Director of ESG Integration, University of California Office of the Chief Investment Officer
  • Tina Quinn

    Co-Founder, Sustainable Conservation, Life & Leadership Coach
  • Secretary Karen Ross

    Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Greg Rosston

    Director, Public Policy Program and Gordon Cain Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University
  • Alejandra Sanchez

    Corporate Social Responsibility, Marketing Manager, Driscolls
  • Rebecca Shaw

    Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist, World Wildlife Fund
  • Russell Siegelman

    Lecturer, Stanford Business School, Partner Emeritus, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Lester Snow

    Sole Proprietor, Natural Resource Consulting
  • Cindy Starrett

    Partner, Latham & Watkins
  • Buzz Thompson

    Faculty Director, Stanford, Water in the West Program
  • Michael Traynor, Esq.

    Senior Counsel, Cobalt LLP., President Emeritus, American Law Institute
  • Tony Turkovich

    Farmer/Proprietor, Turkovich Family Wines
  • Allison Harvey Turner

    CEO, Water Foundation
  • Mark Valentine

San Joaquin Valley Regional Committee

  • Charles Ahlem

    Owner, Charles Ahlem Ranch & Hilmar Cheese Company
  • Eric Averett

    Resource Renewable Group
  • Philip Bowles

    Chairman, Bowles Farming Company
  • Emmy Cattani

    Cattani Farming
  • Greg Coleman

    E. & J. Gallo Winery
  • Dan Dooley

    Principal, New Current Water and Land, LLC/Sustainable Conservation Board Member
  • Michael Frantz

    Owner, Frantz Wholesale Nursery
  • Dino Giacomazzi

    Giacomazzi Dairy
  • Soapy Mulholland

    Sopac & Associates LLC
  • Chuck Nichols

    Nichols Farm
  • Eddie Ocampo

    Program Director of the Community Sustainability Department, Self-Help Enterprises
  • Bryan Osario

    Mayor, City of Delano and Community Solutions Advocate, Community Water Center
  • David Orth

    Partner, New Current Water and Land, LLC
  • Jon Reiter

    Principal, Cavalrei
  • Emily Rooney

    President, Agricultural Council of California
  • David Villarino-Gonzalez

    Farmworker Institute of Education and Leadership Development
  • Aaron Wickstrom

    Managing Partner, Valsigna Farms
  • Kathy Wood McLaughlin

    TKM Consulting, Inc./Tulare Basin Wildlife Partners
  • Stuart Woolf

    President and Chief Executive Officer, Woolf Farming

Featured in

Our work has been featured in these and many other local, state, and national media.

  • National Geographic

  • CNBC

  • Los Angeles Times logo

    Los Angeles Times

  • NPR

  • San Jose Mercury News

  • Grist

  • Wired

  • Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • The Sacramento Bee

  • Yale Environment 360

Awards

Sustainable Conservation has received numerous awards from both public and private institutions.

  • Vanguard Award, 2022

  • CalTrout Streamkeeper Award, 2021

  • Leadership in Sustainable Partnerships Award, 2020

  • U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award, Outstanding Community Contribution, 2020

  • NOAA Excellence in Habitat Restoration Award, 2018

  • Farmer Technical Support Innovator Award honoring Ladi Asgill, Senior Project Manager, 2016

  • UC Davis Bradford Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award honoring Dr. Daniel Mountjoy, Director of Resource Stewardship, 2016

  • James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, 2007

  • Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, 2004

  • US EPA (Region 9) Outstanding Achievement Award, 2004

  • California Council Environmental and Economic Balance - Edmund G. 'Pat' Brown Award, 2003

Staff in the field with partner

Working with Us

Sustainable Conservation is fortunate to have talented, dedicated staff who are committed to collaboration both internally and externally. We care about what we do, and we care about each other. Our size affords staff an opportunity to see the direct impact of their work, and our culture encourages continuous learning while providing opportunities for professional development. We work hard while providing flexible schedules, telecommuting, generous paid holidays and other benefits that support well-being.

Careers

Partners & Supporters

A sample of the diverse private, public, and non-profit partners who make Sustainable Conservation's work possible.

Private Sector

  • AECOM
  • cbec eco engineering
  • Environmental Science Associates
  • General Mills
  • The Home Depot
  • Lowe's
  • MBK Engineers
  • Nestle
  • Todd Groundwater
  • Woodward and Curran

Government

  • Association of California Water Agencies
  • Ballico-Cortes Water District
  • California Air Resources Board
  • California Coastal Commission
  • California Department of Fish and Game
  • California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • California Department of Water Resources
  • California Environmental Protection Agency
  • California Natural Resources Agency
  • California State Coastal Conservancy
  • California State Parks Department
  • California State Water Resources Control Board
  • Chowchilla Irrigation District
  • City of Ceres
  • City of Modesto
  • East Turlock Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency
  • Flood-Managed Aquifer Recharge Network
  • GrizzlyCorps
  • Madera County
  • Madera Chowchilla Resource Conservation District
  • Madera Irrigation District
  • Merced Irrigation District
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Resources Conservation Service
  • Regional Water Resources Control Boards
  • Rosedale Rio Bravo Water Storage District
  • San Joaquin County
  • San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
  • Tulare Irrigation District
  • Turlock Irrigation District
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • West Turlock Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency

Farming/Agriculture

  • Al Costa
  • Ag Innovations
  • Almond Board of California
  • Altman Plants
  • AmericanHort
  • American Farmland Trust
  • California Dairy Campaign
  • California Dairy Quality Assurance Program
  • California Farm Bureau Federation
  • Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
  • Dairy Cares
  • Dairy Management Inc.
  • De Jager Farms
  • Don Cameron
  • Driscoll’s
  • Milk Producers Council
  • Monrovia Growers
  • Netafim, USA
  • Plant California Alliance
  • Terranova Ranch
  • Western Growers
  • Western United Dairies

Academic

  • CSU Sacramento, Consensus and Collaboration Program
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • CSU Fresno
  • CSU Stanislaus
  • University of California, Davis
  • UC Berkeley, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
  • University of California Cooperative Extension
  • UC Davis, Department of Land, Air and Water
  • UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • UC Master Gardener Program
  • UC Merced
  • UC Santa Cruz, Environmental Studies

Non-profit

  • American Society of Landscape Architects - Northern California Chapter
  • Association of Professional Landscape Designers, California Chapter
  • Audubon California
  • CalCAN
  • California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
  • California Invasive Plant Council
  • California Native Plant Society
  • California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment
  • California Trout
  • California Landscape Stewardship Network
  • California Water Action Collaborative
  • CivicWell
  • Earth Genome
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
  • Point Blue Conservation Science
  • Public Policy Institute of California
  • Sand County Foundation
  • Self-Help Enterprises
  • South Coast Habitat Restoration
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Water Solutions Network

Finances & Accountability

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

In addition to our history of high marks from independent evaluators like Charity Navigator, we strive to improve our effectiveness and efficiency by:

  • Diversifying our funding sources
  • Making strategic investments to grow our reserves
  • Utilizing state-of-the-art accounting systems and best practices
  • Coordinating independent financial audits, which we do voluntarily
Foundation Grants 830111
Individual Contributions 3108110
Government Grants 182967
Other 570615
Total Support and Revenue 4691803
Program 2876316
Fundraising 911495
General and Administrative 582116
Total Expenses 4369927
Investment Income 190390
Net Assets Beginning of Year 5342805
Net Assets End of Year 6189285
Change in Assets 846480

Financial Statements

Sustainable Conservation is committed to openly sharing financial information.

Your privacy is important to us. Read our privacy policy. Sustainable Conservation does not sell or trade our donors’ personal information with other entities. Sustainable Conservation has been designated a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Corporation by the United States Internal Revenue Service. Your contribution is tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.