From climate action to scientific precision,
we accelerated conservation for people and the planet.
Your support makes this possible!

Together we’re pursuing ambitious strategies to transform the relationship between people and nature here in Washington, to the benefit of both. Read on for our highlights from the past year. 

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"This was a game changer for me."

A message from Mike Stevens,
Washington State Director


That is what one of our trustees said to me after spending a day last spring hiking in our Central Cascades Forest near Cle Elum and planting trees in an area impacted by the 2017 Jolly Mountain Fire. She went on to explain that seeing the on-the-ground work we do in forests and in communities, and then seeing the way we use this work to influence public policy and public and private finance, enabled her to understand the full sweep and impact of our work. And, importantly, that connecting with nature and people makes it more than an intellectual exercise—it becomes inspiring and emotional.

I see this past year as a game changer for our organization. With generous private support, we’ve continued to improve our approach as we deploy science and technology to tackle the biggest challenges facing people and nature across our region and our world.

The three essential components of our approach to transformative conservation continue to be:

  • SCIENCE, which is woven throughout our work, informing all that we do;

  • PARTNERSHIPS, a hallmark of our approach that drives us to listen, to learn, to expand our circle and include more voices, to find common ground—and then to act, together; and

  • POLICY, using our hard-earned influence, built over decades of bipartisan engagement and common-sense collaboration, to advance smart strategies and investments for people and nature, at all levels of government.

Our investments in this approach delivered real conservation results this past year. Looking ahead, they will be essential as we find the best ways to work with people to protect the natural resources on which we all rely.

Thank you for joining us on this journey. Together, we are creating an enduring legacy for our state and our world.

We connect conservation with climate, promote clean energy and support partners to advance equity.

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80 percent

of Washington voters believe climate change is a serious threat. We continue to pursue strong policies to reduce carbon emissions despite our loss at the ballot box for Initiative 1631.

Tackling climate change is a long-term and urgent challenge.
I-1631 brought many new voices and people to the table. This incredible coalition, including tribes, communities of color, fellow environmental groups, business and government leaders, communities of faith and many, many others is not going away.

Stay tuned for policy work in the 2019 Legislative session as well as our continuing work on the ground to protect and restore our forests and rivers and bring nature into cities so that we’ll all be stronger in the face of climate change.

30 days

That’s what we asked you to commit to set new, climate-friendly habits. Our Every1 campaign engaged thousands of Washingtonians on the simple steps we can all take to lower our carbon footprints, from shorter showers to meatless meals.

Whether we commit to talking about climate change with our friends and family, try simple solutions to reduce waste and consumption, or support organizations like TNC working to harness natural climate solutions: Every1 can act on climate change.

83 years

When photographer-adventurers from the National Parks Service captured perspectives of Mt. Rainier’s glaciers in the 1930s, they likely didn’t know they were standing on the front lines of climate change. We sent photographer John Marshall back up the mountain 83 years later, and the resulting comparisons are a stark reminder of climate change’s impact on these silent sentinels.

Panoramic comparisons reveal dramatic glacier loss between 1934 and 2017 at Sugarloaf Rock on Mt. Rainier. Historic image by George B. Clisby for the U.S. Forest Service, provided courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration. Contemporary image by John F. Marshall for The Nature Conservancy.

Panoramic comparisons reveal dramatic glacier loss between 1934 and 2017 at Sugarloaf Rock on Mt. Rainier. Historic image by George B. Clisby for the U.S. Forest Service, provided courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration. Contemporary image by John F. Marshall for The Nature Conservancy.

Mt. Rainier’s glaciers hold clues to the health of our planet and its people. We brought experts from the University of Washington, The Nature Conservancy and the National Parks Service together for a public event to share what it takes to study glaciers, what they reveal about our past and how we can secure their future.

20 shellfish farms

have already joined the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition, a recently announced partnership between the Conservancy and growers on the East, West and Gulf coasts, including several based in Puget Sound: Taylor Shellfish Farms, Hama Hama Company and Baywater Shellfish Company. This growing coalition will promote action to address a range of threats that climate change and carbon pollution pose to their businesses and to food production more generally.

We bridge science and partnerships for the greatest environmental and social benefit to Puget Sound communities.

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> 135 organizations

engaged in the City Habitats coalition, co-led by the Conservancy. Governments, nonprofits, businesses and research institutions collaborated to increase nature in our cities and towns, and to solve the polluted stormwater to strengthen the region’s equity and livability.

27 local projects

in the past 3 years, to expand nature in our cities. Through financial and technical support, we’re engaging neighborhoods and local organizations to install green infrastructure, like rain gardens and cisterns, that help clean water and air and improve well-being for residents.

115 million gallons of stormwater

cleaned by green infrastructure: that’s the exciting new vision for Seattle’s polluted ship canal. This audacious goal is inspired by a private developer’s determination to go beyond code in order to help struggling salmon swim past the Aurora Bridge. The Conservancy and partners are pursuing new incentives and fewer hurdles so that private-public partnerships can create rain gardens to treat polluted runoff from all six bridges spanning the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

We’re protecting and connecting rivers, floodplains and the communities alongside them.

> 2500 Acres of Floodplain

have been reconnected, and 700 homes moved out of high-risk flooding areas to safer ground with support from the Floodplains by Design program, a collaborative partnership—initiated and co-led by the Conservancy—that is working throughout the Puget Sound basin (and beyond) to better protect communities from floods while simultaneously improving conditions for salmon and agriculture.

$93 million in public funding

was provided by Congress this spring for the federal Puget Sound and Pacific Coast Salmon recovery programs, with strong bipartisan support for continuing these regionally vital and nationally significant efforts. Congress also doubled funding for an important coastal resilience grant program—from $15 million to $30 million—to help communities around the country adapt to challenges such as rising sea levels.

From dry woodlands to the rainy coasts, we bring Washington’s forests back to health.

1,000 trees

harvested from the Conservancy’s Central Cascades Forest were placed by helicopter in remote streams scattered throughout the Yakima River Basin to improve fish habitat and stream health. The Yakama Nation has been developing this ambitious plan over the past year. Their important work will make great use of some of the logs produced by restoration thinning on Conservancy property in the basin.

26 fire professionals from 5 states & 2 countries

represented local, state, federal, tribal and private organizations in the Cascadia Prescribed Fire Training Exchange, building expertise in putting fire back into Washington’s landscape for forest health and to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. The crews worked in Central Washington for 2 weeks and conducted multiple burns on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, state lands and private lands. “While the core of TREX is providing basic firefighter training from preparing to implementing prescribe fire, outcomes of TREX are much greater,” said Reese Lolley, The Nature Conservancy’s director of forest restoration and fire. “Intentional to training is building relationships and trust between a diverse set of entities and participants that supports interagency cooperation from local to international.”

We meet the conservation science needs of today, while pioneering evidence-based, practical approaches for the future.

Glow from Twisp River Fire during night-time burn-out operation. Photo by John Marshall.

Glow from Twisp River Fire during night-time burn-out operation. Photo by John Marshall.

6 times as likely

Native American populations are at significantly greater risk from wildfire, according to a new PLOS One publication from The Nature Conservancy and the University of Washington. Using socioeconomic data (socioeconomic measures from the U.S. census — including income, housing type, English fluency and health), the researchers developed a “vulnerability index” to assess wildfire risk in communities across the U.S. Findings revealed that racial and ethnic minority communities in the U.S. are far more vulnerable to the effects of wildfire than predominantly white communities.

The researchers hope these broad, nationwide results will spawn more detailed studies focused on individual communities and their wildfire risk. But equally important, they say, is for organizations and municipalities to take these socioeconomic factors into account when helping their communities prepare for wildfires.

870 Citations

by other researchers of The Nature Conservancy in Washington’s science work in 2018. A scientific partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the University of Washington and the science and technology sector is building a tangible model for science and conservation innovation that will have immediate impact here in Washington and beyond. Researchers and conservationists are building off each other’s knowledge and experience to investigate the most pressing conservation issues of our time.

231 cameras on 10 shellfish farms

are collecting data to reveal how shellfish aquaculture functions in the ecosystem compared to natural marine environments, through a project led by NOAA. Support from Washington SeaGrant brings together scientists from NOAA and TNC with tribal and non-tribal shellfish growers along Puget Sound. At high tide, GoPros record marine organisms interacting with different habitats, whether for protective cover, food sources and more. Findings will help inform sustainable shellfish aquaculture practices as demand for seafood grows worldwide.

Our volunteers are at the heart of our work, caring for our preserves and keeping operations organized.


15 Restoration work parties

20 Outreach events

In the office, volunteers

Conducted research

Set up spaces for events

Supported operations staff

Organized our photo database

On our preserves, volunteers

Removed invasive Scotch broom and fence line

Planted trees

Pulled reed canary grass

Spread sagebrush seed

Are you ready to give back to nature and protect Washington’s environmental legacy?


Congratulations to the Volunteer of the Year!

With hundreds of active volunteers, it’s hard to pick just one Volunteer of the Year. In 2017, we selected Hannah Letinich for her hard work and commitment to the Volunteer Photography Program.

Thank you for all your hard work and beautiful photos, Hannah! You are a rock star.