Pacific Northwest Resilient Landscapes Initiative Announces Its First Projects to Conserve Essential Lands

15 Projects Will Help Region Withstand Climate Change  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 5, 2020) – The Pacific Northwest Resilient Landscapes Initiative, a partnership of the Land Trust Alliance, Oregon Community Foundation, Seattle Foundation and Idaho Community Foundation, today announced its first projects to conserve essential lands. The Initiative launched last year with lead support by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. 

“Conserving the incredible landscapes of the Pacific Northwest has never been more clearly important than it is today, for the long-term resilience of the region’s biodiversity and its people,” said Sacha Spector, Program Director for the Environment at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “The initiative’s science-driven selection process makes us confident that these 15 conservation projects will safeguard places that sustain vital habitats today, provide safe passage for wildlife whose ranges are shifting due to climate change, and provide invaluable benefits for humankind. We are proud to have provided seed funding for these projects, which can also play a pivotal role in mitigating climate change, and appreciate the generosity of additional donors who will help bring them to fruition.” 

Announced at a time when more people are exploring nature as they practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the projects will enable permanent protection and enjoyment of more than 20,000 acres of natural lands across Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Projects include: 

  • Chelan-Douglas Land Trust in Washington for the Cascades Modoc Highlands project of 2,135 acres; 
  • Columbia Land Trust in Oregon for the Mt. Hood Oaks project of 1,947 acres; 
  • Deschutes Land Trust in Oregon for the Priday Ranch project of 4,500 acres; 
  • Great Peninsula Conservancy in Washington for the Rocky Creek project of 193 acres; 
  • McKenzie River Trust in Oregon for the Finn Rock project of 210 acres and the Wren Marsh project of eight acres; 
  • North Coast Land Conservancy in Oregon for the Rainforest Reserve project of 3,500 acres; 
  • North Olympic Land Trust in Washington for the River’s Edge project of 104 acres, and the Lower Elwha River project of 33 acres; 
  • Oregon Desert Land Trust in Oregon for the Jack Creek project of 483 acres; 
  • Pacific Forest Trust in Oregon for the Mount Ashland Forest project of 1,675; 
  • PCC Farmland Trust in Washington for the Reiner Farm project of 260 acres; 
  • The Nature Conservancy of Idaho for the Southern Pioneer Mountains Ranch project of 5,000 acres; 
  • Vital Ground Foundation of Idaho for the Kootenai Valley project of 1,040 acres; and 
  • Wood River Land Trust of Idaho for the Croy Canyon project of 118 acres. 

Projects were selected based in part on work of scientists at The Nature Conservancy, who developed a framework to identify lands that could best adapt to climate change and offer a diverse array of benefits to people, plants and animals, including clean and abundant drinking water. More information about each of the projects is available at oregoncf.org/community-impact/impact-areas/land-and-nature (link is external). 

More than half of the $4.8 million needed to fund all 15 projects is already committed. The three foundations and the Land Trust Alliance are engaging supporters to secure additional project funds and invest in land trusts’ capacity to protect resilient landscapes. These funds will complement more than $150,000 the partners committed in 2019 to help land trusts use the latest science and tools to identify climate-resilient lands to protect. 

Andrew Bowman, Land Trust Alliance’s president and chief executive officer, noted that these projects reflect the diversity of the region’s landscapes and land trusts. Representing years of effort on the part of land trusts, the projects will provide lasting benefits for the plants, animals and human communities that use them. 

“Land can play a critical role in addressing our climate change challenges,” Bowman said. “Investing in the permanent protection of natural lands and in land trusts not only improves our quality of life and the health of our communities, but also helps us in the global effort to protect us from and adapt to a changing climate.” 

Launched with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Initiative is a partnership of the three community foundations and the Land Trust Alliance to permanently protect thousands of acres of natural lands in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The Initiative maximizes the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s investment by joining with other community foundation donors to support this coordinated effort to increase the capacity of land trusts and provide them with the resources they need to conserve critical natural lands. 

“During this extraordinary time of need, we are working to fulfill our most urgent role as a community foundation – gathering and deploying funds where they are most needed now – and ensuring the quality of life for future generations,” said Max Williams, president and CEO of Oregon Community Foundation. “Generous Oregonians are answering the call to take care of each other, and to conserve lands and waters that are vital to our region’s long-term well being.” 

“The role of Idaho’s natural places and the importance of preserving them has never been as important as during the pandemic, which has amplified the importance of being able to rejuvenate by enjoying the beauty and the solace they provide,” said Karen Bilowith, president and CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation. “As ICF provides leadership to help communities respond to COVID-19 and its impact, it is also crucial to support long-term community resiliency.” 

“At a time when we are all acutely aware of the tremendous changes that will follow the current crisis, investments like these offer hope for a healthy, resilient future,” said Tony Mestres, president and CEO of Seattle Foundation. “These protected lands will give back to everyone for many years to come.” 

About the Land Trust Alliance 

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,000 member land trusts supported by more than 200,000 volunteers and 4.6 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org. 

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation 

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through the preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The foundation’s awareness of climate change as the greatest emerging threat to biodiversity — and the need to aggressively mitigate it without unnecessarily sacrificing wildlife habitat — shapes its environmental grantmaking priorities. More than $415 million in grants related to the conservation of wildlife in the United States have been made by the foundation since it was established in 1997. To learn more, visit www.ddcf.org/what-we-fund/environment (link is external). 

About Oregon Community Foundation 

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) puts donated money to work in Oregon – more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually. For nearly 45 years, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving – time, talent and resources from many generous Oregonians – creates measurable change. For more information about OCF, please visit: www.oregoncf.org (link is external) 

About Seattle Foundation 

Seattle Foundation ignites powerful, rewarding philanthropy to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all. As a community foundation, it works to advance equity, shared prosperity, and belonging throughout the region while strengthening the impact of the philanthropists it serves. Founded in 1946 and with more than $1.1 billion in assets, the Foundation pursues its mission with a combination of deep community insight, civic leadership, philanthropic advising and judicious financial stewardship. Learn more at: www.seattlefoundation.org (link is external). 

About Idaho Community Foundation 

For 30 years, the Idaho Community Foundation has used the power of collective giving to improve lives and enrich communities in Idaho. With three regional offices and board members throughout Idaho, we partner with community leaders, nonprofits and educational institutions in all 44 counties. We make it easy for individuals, families and others to succeed in their philanthropy. For more information, visit: www.idahocf.org (link is external).