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.


  • 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

  • Susanna Aulbach

    Grants and Contracts Administrator
  • Michael Behrens

    Chief Development Officer
  • Ashley Boren

    Chief Executive Officer
  • John Cardoza

    Project Director
  • Sarah Castle

    Senior Scientist
  • Joe Choperena

    Project Director of Water Resources
  • Charles Delgado_staff

    Charles Delgado

    Policy Director
  • Eric Epstein

    Communications Associate
  • Stephanie Falzone

    Senior Project Manager
  • Ryan Flaherty

    Senior Director of Circular Economies
  • Elliot Grant

    Central Coast Project Manager
  • Katie Haldeman

    Project Director, Accelerating Restoration
  • Christa Harader

    Communications Director
  • Roshni Katrak-Adefowora

    Senior Data Specialist
  • Shayan Kaveh

    Science Communicator
  • Modibo Keita

  • Pinky Keswani

    Chief People Officer
  • Jane Lew

    Accounting Manager
  • Erika Lovejoy

    Senior Program Director, Accelerating Restoration
  • Aysha Massell headshot

    Aysha Massell

    Program Director, Water for the Future
  • Jan Merryweather

    Director of Individual Giving
  • Daniel Mountjoy

    Senior Advisor
  • Olivia Naves

    Corporate and Foundations Grants Associate
  • Hannah Nowakowski

    Donor Relations and Engagement Manager
  • Gina Pacheu

    Chief Financial Officer
  • Sarah Reuter

  • Rogell Rogers

    Agronomist, CCA, PCA
  • Susan Sheeran

    Director of Annual Giving & Stewardship
  • Bill Taylor

    Office Manager
  • Kimberly Tsai

    Graphic Design Specialist
  • Emily Waring

    Agricultural Practice Impact Analyst
  • Sam Williams

    Project Manager
  • Richael Young

    Senior Director, Water for the Future

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.

  • Celeste Cantú

    Chair, San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Lauren B. Dachs

    President and Founder, Laural Foundation
  • 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
  • Jenny Hoang

    Senior Manager, The Monitor Institute by Deloitte
  • Peter Kareiva

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

    Environmental Philanthropist & Scientist
  • Jeff Loomans

    President, Greater Farallones Association
  • Mohsen Mortada

    CEO, Cole Engineering Group
  • 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
  • Laura Beaudin

    Partner, Bain & Company
  • 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
  • Paula Daniels

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

    Co-Founder, Zentek
  • Kim Delfino

    President and Founder, Earth Advocacy
  • 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
  • Cindy Lang

    Philanthropist, Strategist & Dot Connector
  • Michael Mantell

    Senior Advisor, Resources Legacy Fund
  • Steve McCormick

    Managing Director, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
  • 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
  • Aaron Fukuda

    General Manager, Tulare Irrigation District
  • Dino Giacomazzi

    CEO, Giacomazzi Almond Company, Inc.
  • Vicki Kretsinger

    Senior Principal Hydrologist, Luhdorff and Scalmanini, Consulting Engineers
  • Soapy Mulholland

    Sopac & Associates LLC
  • Chuck Nichols

    Nichols Farm
  • Eddie Ocampo

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

    Program Officer, Sierra Health Foundation
  • David Orth

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

    Principal, Cavalrei
  • Julie Rentner

    President, River Partners
  • 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
  • Justin Wylie

    Principal, Wylie Farms

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.

  • 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.


Partners & Supporters

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

Private Sector

  • cbec Eco Engineering
  • Driscoll's
  • Environmental Science Associates
  • General Mills
  • The Home Depot
  • Lowe's
  • MBK Engineers
  • Nestle
  • Netafim, USA
  • Provost and Prichard
  • Starbucks
  • Wilbur Ellis
  • Woodward and Curran


  • Aliso Water District
  • 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 Natural Resources Agency
  • California State Coastal Conservancy
  • California State Parks Department
  • California State Water Resources Control Board
  • Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District
  • Chowchilla Irrigation District
  • City of Modesto
  • Delta Conservancy
  • Delta Stewardship Council
  • Department of Water Resources
  • East Turlock Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency
  • Flood-Managed Aquifer Recharge Network
  • Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
  • Gravelly Ford Water District
  • GrizzlyCorps
  • Madera County
  • Madera Chowchilla Resource Conservation District
  • Madera Irrigation District
  • Merced Irrigation District
  • Modesto Irrigation District
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Resources Conservation Service
  • Oakdale Irrigation District
  • Reclamation District 108
  • Regional Water Resources Control Boards
  • Root Creek Water District
  • San Joaquin County
  • San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
  • South San Joaquin Irrigation District
  • Stanislaus County
  • Stockton East Water District
  • Triangle T Water District
  • Tulare Irrigation District
  • Turlock Irrigation District
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • West Turlock Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency


  • Al Costa
  • Ag Innovations
  • Almond Board of California
  • Altman Plants
  • AmericanHort
  • American Farmland Trust
  • Braga Fresh Farms
  • Burroughs Family Farm
  • 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
  • Milk Producers Council
  • Monrovia Growers
  • Monterey County Farm Bureau
  • Newtrient, LLC
  • Plant California Alliance
  • Terranova Ranch
  • Western Growers
  • Western United Dairies


  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • CSU Chico
  • CSU Fresno
  • CSU Monterey Bay
  • CSU Sacramento, Consensus and Collaboration Program
  • CSU Stanislaus
  • Stanford University
  • UC Berkeley, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
  • UC Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy
  • University of California Cooperative Extension
  • UC Davis
  • 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


  • ALBA Farmers
  • American Rivers
  • American Society of Landscape Architects - Northern California Chapter
  • Association of Professional Landscape Designers, California Chapter
  • Audubon California
  • BEAM Circular
  • CalCAN
  • California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
  • California Invasive Plant Council
  • California Landscape Stewardship Network
  • California Native Plant Society
  • California Process-Based Restoration Network
  • California Society for Ecological Restoration
  • California Trout
  • California Water Action Collaborative
  • California Water Data Consortium
  • Central Coast Water Quality Preservation Inc
  • CivicWell
  • Community Alliance with Family Farmers
  • Community Water Center
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Earth Genome
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
  • Madera Chowchilla Resource Conservation District
  • Madera County Department of Water and Natural Resources Department
  • National Center for Appropriate Technology
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Northern California Water Association
  • Point Blue Conservation Science
  • Pollinator Partnership
  • Project apis m.
  • Public Policy Institute of California
  • Resource Conservation District of Monterey County
  • Resources Legacy Fund
  • Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County
  • River Partners
  • Salmonid Restoration Federation
  • San Mateo Resource Conservation District
  • Sanctuary Forest
  • Sand County Foundation
  • Scott River Watershed Council
  • Self-Help Enterprises
  • Sierra Meadows Partnership
  • Sonoma Resource Conservation District
  • South Coast Habitat Restoration
  • Stanislaus Community Foundation
  • State Water Contractors
  • Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Truckee River Watershed Council
  • Water Forum
  • Water Foundation
  • Water Solutions Network
  • The Watershed Research and Training Center

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 1784249
Individual Contributions 2714308
Government Grants 186479
Other 828351
Total Support and Revenue 5513387
Program 3264642
Fundraising 972975
General and Administrative 775644
Total Expenses 5013261
Investment Income -265048
Net Assets Beginning of Year 6189285
Net Assets End of Year 6424363
Change in Assets 235078

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.