By Megan Nguyen
CalTrout is experiencing exponential growth.
In the past year alone, we have leveraged our member’s support into a record $22 million in public and private grants to fund large-scale projects across the state and build a better future for California. That’s over 200% growth from the year before!
Cover Photo: "Woodman Creek" by Mike Wier. This project restored fish passage to Woodman Creek, a tributary to the Eel River where salmon have not found their way into its watershed for over a century. This was a $2+ million project funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Restoration Grant Program.
What are the Secret Ingredients?
CalTrout Director of Institutional Giving, Gaby Roff, sees our success with government grants as a reflection of our ability to connect stakeholder priorities on the ground with resource priorities at the State Capitol.
The following five factors demonstrate how California Trout is uniquely positioned to make a significant impact for the future of our wild fish and healthy rivers.
1. Understanding Conservation Priorities
With almost 50 years of conservation experience, we are in touch with the environmental challenges our state faces. Rooted in science, we have the knowledge to identify priority issues and the expertise to solve them. The broad stakeholder networks we have built in the communities where we live and work, brings the support needed to drive significant projects forward.
Photo: "Hat Creek Restoration and Bridge Installation" by Mike Wier. This project restored 1.5 miles of instream habitat with large woody debris structures, and protects cultural resources on over 5,000 acres of ancestral lands of the Illmawi Band of the Pit River Tribe. Project funding was provided by the Pacific Forest and Watershed Stewardship Council, US Fish and Wildlife Services, and Natural Resources Agency.
2. Shaping State Legislation
CalTrout provides science and policy leadership in the Capitol. We are integrally involved in conservation planning - setting goals, providing feedback, and advancing model projects on the ground. Working closely with Resource Agencies allows us to see these goals achieved from start to finish.
Photo: "Casting Call at the Capitol." This event was a day of fun, casting practice — and to bring focus on the state of California’s unique trout, steelhead and salmon.
3. Building Trust and Relationships
Trust and experience, built over 50 years, with grant agencies and partners allows us to work at an efficient pace and create a model and flow that works time and again.
Agency Relationships. The relationships between CalTrout and the state and federal conservation grant agencies has grown. The range of agencies we work with is vast as reflected in the chart to the right.
Landowners Relationships. By being embedded in the local community, CalTrout has built trust with landowners including rice farmers, cattle ranchers, local tribes, and landowners throughout the state.
Collaboration with other Non-profits. We can't do it alone. As such we partner with other non-profit organizations across the state such as Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, Sustainable Conservation, and more. Together we team up for greater impact.
4. Providing Expertise on Advisory Committees
Our Regional Directors and Senior Scientists are appointed to and actively participate in the technical advisory committees of resource agencies and major environmental initiatives. This offers an opportunity to frame landscape scale change. Committees we participate in include:
- California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead - Darren Mierau, North Coast Regional Director
- Peer Review Committee with the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program - Sandra Jacobson, Ph.D., South Coast Regional Director
- Voluntary Agreements Committee with the Department of Water Resources - Jacob Katz, Ph.D., Central Valley Regional Director
- Klamath River Renewal Committee - Curtis Knight, Executive Director, KRRC Alternate Board Member
5. Leading Coalitions
In addition to being involved with agencies, CalTrout leads broad coalitions to coordinate stakeholder priorities on the ground including:
- Eel River Forum - Darren Mierau, North Coast Regional Director
- South Coast Steelhead Coalition - Sandra Jacobson, Ph.D., South Coast Regional Director
- Santa Clara River Steelhead Coalition - Russell Marlow, South Coast Project Manager
- Shasta Safe Harbor Agreements - Drew Braugh, Mt. Shasta/Klamath Regional Director
- Two-Basin Partnership (Potter Valley) - Curtis Knight, Executive Director; Darren Mierau, North Coast Regional Director; Redgie Collins, Esq., Staff Attorney
- Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership - Jacob Katz, Ph.D, Central Valley Regional Director
- Sierra Meadows Partnership - Sandra Jacobson, Ph.D., Sierra Headwaters Interim-Regional Director
- California Salmon and Steelhead Coalition - Curtis Knight, Executive Director; Darren Mierau, North Coast Regional Director; Redgie Collins, Esq., Staff Attorney
With experience and the knowledge to deliver, we continue to work hard to solve complex resource problems.
6. Support From Members Like You
Much goes on behind the scenes before a grant is awarded, including countless hours involved in reaching out to landowners and community members, planning the project, writing the grant and developing a budget, contracting awards and setting projects up on the books. All of this work is critical and is only made possible by private dollars - donations from our members and supporters.
That’s where you come in. Your generosity fuels our work for the coming year allowing us to keep our momentum going strong.
You provide the resources that allow us to find the real priorities, build support for change, and achieve landscape-level impact across the state. Your seed investments in the most strategic project ideas go on to leverage tens of millions of dollars in work on the ground.
Thank you for your continued support. Help us create a better California for future generations. Donate today.
Photo: "5 Rivers Challenge" by Val Atkinson. The 5 Rivers Challenge is a competition designed to test your angling skills while fishing some of the most remarkable wild trout waters in California, all while benefiting CalTrout and local conservation projects.