There is a powerful connection between people and the critical landscapes that nourish the Northwest’s ecosystems and communities. Our investments in this program serve the larger goal of engaging citizens and communicating their conservation interests to decision-makers.

Priorities for funding are grounded in the science of conservation biology, as well as the social and political sciences. These grants address the pressing challenge of maintaining the ecological viability of our regional landscapes.

LightHawk-donated flights, like this one along Big Sur, have helped establish Marine Protect Areas off the coast of California.
LightHawk-donated flights, like this one along Big Sur, have helped establish Marine Protect Areas off the coast of California. Photo by Erin Kunkel (with aerial support from LightHawk).

Focus areas Our three priority landscapes

Central Oregon

Central Oregon

Resting at the crossroads between the Rockies and the Cascades, connecting forested and shrub-steppe ecosystems. This fast-growing region is home to a diverse and active population with increasing influence on statewide policies.

Crown of the Continent

Crown of the Continent

A key north-south wildlife corridor stretching from the Canadian Central Rockies to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The landscape ranges from rolling prairies to steep mountain walls to wide glaciated valleys.

The High Divide

The High Divide

A rare east-west linkage zone between the Yellowstone and Salmon-Selway ecoregions, spanning low elevation wetlands and high alpine terrain. This region is tremendously important to the continued viability of many species and faces increasing pressures from irresponsible development.

Measures of success

By the time the foundation sunsets in 2020, we aim to see:

  • Conservation groups with improved credibility among community and policy leaders.
  • An increased diversity of voices within the conservation advocacy community.
  • Effective engagement of community stakeholders.
  • Protection of key landscapes guided by a lens of conservation biology.
  • Concrete steps toward development, adoption, implementation, enforcement, and defense of conservation policies at the local, state, or federal level.

The Henrys Fork, in Idaho.
The Henrys Fork, in Idaho. Photo by Jack Ballard.

Successes in place-based conservation

Court orders more water for endangered salmon

Court orders more water for endangered salmon

A federal court has ruled that operators at 8 federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers must increase water releases over spillways to improve survival rates for juvenile salmon migrating to the ocean starting in 2018. The judge found that current operation is causing continued irreparable harm to imperiled salmon and steelhead and that increased spill indisputably provides safer passage for juvenile salmon navigating the heavily dammed Columbia-Snake River Basin. The Brainerd Foundation supports the work of Earthjustice on this issue.

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Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Expanded

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Expanded

President Obama announced the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon. The expansion adds 48,000 acres to the current 65,000 acres. The area is an extremely biologically rich region where the Cascade, Great Basin, and Coast Range-Klamath ecosystems come together. Brainerd grantee Soda Mountain Wilderness Council has worked tirelessly for decades to protect this unique place.

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High Divide stakeholders recognized for groundbreaking work

High Divide stakeholders recognized for groundbreaking work

A recent article in Western Confluence magazine shines the spotlight on several Brainerd grantees, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Ruby Valley Conservation District, Headwaters Economics, the Blackfoot Challenge, and People and Carnivores. The author offers an excellent analysis of the absolute necessity of factoring in working lands in wildlife conservation and demonstrates the solutions-based work of ranchers in the High Divide, one of the Brainerd Foundation's place-based focus areas.

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Read about more grantee successes »

Typical place-based conservation grantees

  • Community and stakeholder organizations
  • Issue-based organizations leading collaborative efforts on strategic policy priorities
  • State, regional, or national groups promoting effective stewardship and policies in one or more of the program's priority landscapes
  • Service providers bolstering the effectiveness of place-based grantees

The anchor dog for a Livestock Guardian Dog pack, being released with cattle for bonding on the Big Hole's Ruby Ranch.
The anchor dog for a Livestock Guardian Dog pack, being released with cattle for bonding on the Big Hole's Ruby Ranch. Photo by Steve Primm.

Meet some of our grantees in place-based conservation

Meet more of our grantees »

Place-based conservation grants range from $25,000 to $50,000 and can be awarded for multiple years. Inquiries are accepted on an ongoing basis. Grants are awarded at one of three board meetings held each year. Proposals are accepted by invitation only.

Learn more about eligibility »