About Us

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.


  • 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

    Senior Project Manager
  • Robyn Carliss

    Creative and Communications Director
  • Sarah Castle

    Senior Research Analyst
  • Charles Delgado_staff

    Charles Delgado

    Policy Director
  • Stephanie Falzone

    Project Manager
  • Ryan Flaherty

    Director of Business Partnerships
  • Katie Haldeman

    Senior Project Manager, Accelerating Restoration
  • Christa Harader

    Digital Content Producer
  • Nathan Hart

    Foundations and Corporate Relations Manager
  • Jane Lew

    Staff Accountant
  • Erika Lovejoy

    Program Director, Accelerating Restoration
  • Aysha Massell headshot

    Aysha Massell

    Program Director, Water for the Future
  • Kelli McCune

    Project Director, Conservation Incentives
  • Jan Merryweather

    Director of Individual Giving
  • Dr. Daniel Mountjoy

    Director of Resource Stewardship
  • Hannah Nowakowski

    Development Associate and Events Coordinator
  • Gina Pacheu

    Director of Finance
  • Pamela Sergio

    Director of HR and Administration
  • Susan Sheeran

    Director of Annual Giving & Stewardship
  • Bill Taylor

    Office Coordinator

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
  • Charlene Harvey

    Civic Leader
  • Jennifer Hernandez, Secretary

    Partner, Holland & Knight
  • Peter Kareiva

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

    Environmental Philanthropist & Scientist
  • Steve McCormick

    Managing Director, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
  • Ginger Scheer Oros

  • 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
  • Frank Boren

    Co-Founder, Sustainable Conservation, Docent, Point Lobos State Park
  • 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
  • Ralph Cavanagh

    Senior Attorney and Co-Director of Natural Resources Defense Council's Energy Program, Visiting Professor of Law, Stanford University and UC Berkeley
  • 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
  • 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
  • Richard Morrison

    Senior Vice President, Bank of America (Retired)
  • 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
  • Sam Schuchat

    Executive Officer, California State Coastal Conservancy
  • 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

    General Manager, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District
  • John Bidart

    Bidart Dairy, LLC/California Bioenergy, LLC
  • 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
  • Thomas Esqueda

    City Manager, City of Fresno
  • Michael Frantz

    Owner, Frantz Wholesale Nursery
  • Dino Giacomazzi

    Giacomazzi Dairy
  • Soapy Mulholland

    Sopac & Associates LLC
  • Chuck Nichols

    Nichols Farm
  • 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


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

  • 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.


Partners & Supporters

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

Private Sector

  • Akebono Brake Corporation
  • Biofiltro USA Inc.
  • Coca-Cola
  • General Mills
  • Lowe's
  • MillerCoors
  • Orchard Supply Hardware
  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company
  • The Home Depot


  • Association of California Water Agencies
  • California Air Resources Board
  • California Coastal Commission
  • California Department of Conservation
  • 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
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Resources Conservation Service
  • Regional Water Resources Control Board
  • San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control 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
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service


  • AgFlex
  • Ag Innovations
  • Almond Board of California
  • Altman Plants
  • AmericanHort
  • American Farmland Trust
  • Ball Horticultural
  • California Ag Solutions
  • California Agricultural Systems Institute
  • California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers
  • California Dairy Campaign
  • California Dairy Quality Assurance Program
  • California Farm Bureau Federation
  • Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
  • Charles Ahlem Ranch
  • Coalition for Clean Air
  • Dairy Cares
  • Driscoll’s
  • Fiscalini Farms
  • Great Valley Center
  • Hilarides Dairy, Inc.
  • Horticultural Research Institute
  • Joseph Gallo Farms
  • Lodi Winegrape Commission
  • Milk Producers Council
  • Monrovia Growers
  • Netafim, USA
  • Western Growers
  • Western United Dairymen 


  • University of California, Davis
  • UC Davis, Agricultural Sustainability Institute
  • UC Davis, Arboretum
  • UC Davis, California Center for Urban Horticulture
  • UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • UC Master Gardener Program
  • University of California Cooperative Extension
  • University of California Conservation Tillage Workgroup
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • California State University, Stanislaus
  • California State University, Fresno


  • American Society of Landscape Architects - Northern California Chapter
  • Association of Professional Landscape Designers, California Chapter
  • Audubon California
  • Bay Friendly Landscape & Gardening Coalition
  • Cachuma Resource Conservation District
  • CalCAN
  • California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
  • California Council of Land Trusts
  • California Invasive Plant Council
  • California Native Plant Society
  • California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment
  • California Trout
  • California Water Foundation
  • Ceres
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Earth Genome
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Heal the Bay
  • Los Angeles Waterkeeper
  • Point Blue Conservation Science
  • Public Policy Institute of California
  • San Diego Coastkeeper
  • Sand County Foundation
  • Santa Barbara Channelkeeper
  • South Coast Habitat Restoration
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Trout Unlimited

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 2049253
Individual Contributions 1491262
Government Grants 283998
Other 768901
Total Support and Revenue 4593414
Program 3300335
Fundraising 1007461
General and Administrative 600467
Total Expenses 4908263
Investment Income 179373
Net Assets Beginning of Year 5478281
Net Assets End of Year 5342805
Change in Assets -135476

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.