Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

About us

Our Successes

  • In March 2010, grizzly bears coming out of hibernation in the Swan Valley of Montana walked for the first time on private lands that have returned to public ownership. This month marked a historical land transformation as former Plum Creek Timber Company lands were reverted back to public ownership, erasing the "checkerboard" ownership in the valley. Brainerd grantees Northwest Connections (in the Swan), Trust for Public Land, and the Nature Conservancy were instrumental in this effort.
  • In February 2010, leaders of Montana and British Columbia said they will ban drilling and mining in a remote valley along the US-Canada border that energy companies have tried to develop for more than a quarter-century. This area, known as the Crown of the Continent for its grand mountain peaks, is just upstream from Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park. Brainerd grantee, Wildsight, continues to work hard for increased protection of this critical landscape.
  • In March 2010, a Montana District Court Judge, after hearing arguments by Brainerd grantee the Western Environmental Law Center, required the U.S. Army National Guard to take a proposed project back to the drawing board. Plans called for construction of a biathlon training facility, which was proposed directly within an extremely important wildlife corridor on the continental divide.
  • In November 2009, the Lemhi County Forest Restoration Group, coordinated by Brainerd grantee Salmon Valley Stewardship (SVS), received the Forest Service's Intermountain Region Natural Resources Stewards award. Acknowledging all partners who worked with the group, SVS's Gina Knudson said, "Nobody was forced to do business in this new way—they have all been extremely willing, supportive partners who are putting differences aside and talking about what's best for the land and the community."
  • In August 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a strong opinion reinstating the Clinton 2001 Roadless Rule throughout the Ninth Circuit, with the exception of Alaska, Idaho, and Wyoming. For now, the full Roadless Rule is once again in effect in most of the West. Many conservation organizations, including several Brainerd grantees, were involved in this effort, represented by Earthjustice.
  • In August of 2009, the developers of the Highwood coal fired plant near Great Falls formally terminated their air quality permit. Brainerd grantees Montana Environmental Information Center and Earthjustice provided support for Great Falls residents and local ranchers and farmers who fought to protect their clean water, productive soil, and pure air from a dirty coal plant.
  • In December 2009, a U.S. District Court judge upheld the "Survey and Manage" rule of the Northwest Forest Plan, quoting renowned scientist E.O. Wilson when he stressed the importance of saving all the parts of an ecosystem, even the uncommon or rare plant, animal, and fungal species that are "indeed the little things that run the world." Many past and present Brainerd grantees deserve credit for this win, including the Western Environmental Law Center, Conservation Northwest, Gifford-Pinchot Task Force, Oregon Wild, American Lands Alliance, and Umpqua Watersheds.
  • Idaho environmental regulators issued a permit in late 2009 to a company that plans to operate a coal gasification fertilizer plant in the state. The permit limits carbon dioxide emissions under an agreement between the state, Southeast Idaho Energy, the Sierra Club, and Idaho Conservation League. It is the first plant in the state—and the nation—with enforceable greenhouse gas emission limits and one of the first "clean coal" plants with a permit in the nation. "This permit is a win-win for the people of Idaho," stated the Idaho Conservation League.
  • In January 2010, the voters of Oregon approved two ballot measures to fill the state budget deficit by increasing taxes on companies and wealthy individuals. Conservation leaders participated in an unprecedented Oregon coalition to educate their constituents about the measures, which will protect critical environmental and economic programs, as well as funding for schools, healthcare, and senior services. info
  • In 2008, the Forest Service and the timber industry abandoned efforts to drastically weaken the 2005 National Forest Management Act and a federal court invalidated new Forest Service regulations that would have curtailed public engagement in planning for federal forests. The Brainerd Foundation provides general support funding to Earthjustice for their work on issues like this. info
  • In the spring of 2009, Governor Christine Gregoire signed an executive order to reduce Washington's carbon emissions and announced the creation of a 30-state, bi-partisan coalition of governors, led by Washington state, to call upon national policymakers to pursue strong climate policy. Brainerd has supported the work of the Washington Environmental Council, Washington Conservation Voters, and Climate Solutions that contributed to this achievement. info
  • In July 2009, a federal court ruled against the U.S. Forest Service in its third attempt to eliminate virtually all environmental safeguards from the rules that oversee the management of our national forests. Several current and past Brainerd grantees were plaintiffs in this legal challenge by Western Environmental Law Center, including Gifford Pinchot Task Force, Cascadia Wildlands Project, the Lands Council, Forest Service Employeees for Environmental Ethics, Oregon Wild and The Wilderness Society.
  • The Oregon Badlands Wilderness and the Spring Basin Wilderness were created under the Public Lands Management Act of 2009. The Oregon Natural Desert Association played a lead role in securing protection for these special areas in Oregon's High Desert. info
  • The Copper Salmon Wilderness was created under the Public Lands Management Act of 2009. Wild and Scenic River status was also implemented in this area under the same act. Current and past grantees that played important roles in securing habitat protection for this place include: Trout Unlimited and Friends of Elk River. info
  • The Mount Hood Wilderness was created under the Public Lands Management Act of 2009. Wild and Scenic River status was also implemented in this area under the same act. Current and past grantees that played important roles in securing this habitat protection for Mount Hood include: Oregon Wild, Crag Law Center, the Campaign for America's Wilderness, and American Rivers. info
  • The Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009 designates over 23,000 acres of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument backcountry as the Soda Mountain Wilderness -- and enables a permanent end to public lands cattle grazing on up to 106,000 acres in and near the Monument in Oregon through a voluntary private buyout plan. The Brainerd Foundation has supported the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council in their quest to protect this rare landscape. info
  • The Owyhee Wilderness was created under the Public Lands Management Act of 2009. Wild and Scenic River status was also implemented in this area under the same act. Current and past grantees that played important roles in securing this habitat protection for this place include: Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, and American Rivers. info
  • In 2006, an opportunity grant from the Brainerd Foundation supported outreach to key Kaska First Nation Elders for experiential outreach trips to pending conservation areas in their traditional Territory. This was an effort to further build community support and understanding for protecting these culturally and ecologically important areas.
  • In 2008, all of the Washington State conservation community's policy priorities passed, including legislation addressing climate change, green jobs, local farms/healthy kids, and protection of urban trees. Additionally, decision-makers restricted the sale of toxic toys, making Washington the first state in the nation to enact a comprehensive policy addressing the issue. The Brainerd Foundation gives general support to key policy groups in Washington State working on such issues. info
  • In the spring of 2008, the President signed into law a bill containing the Wild Sky Wilderness, the first new wilderness area to gain protection in Washington State in more than twenty years. It adds 106,000 acres of wilderness in the North Cascades. The Brainerd Foundation provided early seed money for outreach on this effort. info
  • In January 2009, the Pacific Forest Trust and the Bureau of Land Management announced the conservation of approximately 900 acres that have been added to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, the nation's first monument created solely for the preservation of biodiversity. Over the years, the Brainerd Foundation has funded both the Pacific Forest Trust and the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council for their work to gain improved protection for this exceptional place.
  • In July 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a landmark decision in Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) v. Bureau of Land Management, determining that the BLM must rewrite its land use plan for southeast Oregon. The court agreed that the BLM had wrongly refused to evaluate impacts to wilderness values for 4.6 million acres of public lands. The Brainerd Foundation supported ONDA's work with a general support grant in April 2008.
  • The Oregon Wine Board secured pledges from 27 Oregon wineries to go carbon neutral. Several winery owners are now spokespeople in Oregon's capital for climate for climate policy. Oregon Environmental Council, one of our grantees, was a key player in this effort.
  • In December 2008, the Montana Supreme Court voided a wastewater discharge permit for the Rock Creek Mine. This is a win for several Montana-based grantees that the foundation supported in its first decade and the citizens they represent. Past grantees that played an important role in securing this achievement include Rock Creek Alliance.
  • In 2008, Montana became the first state in the nation to require a coal-fired power plant to specifically consider air pollution controls for fine particulates, which can cause severe respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Citizens of Great Falls who were opposed to a proposed power plant asked Brainerd grantee Montana Environmental Information Center to assist with this effort. A diverse base led to this groundbreaking victory.
  • In 2007, the Madison County Board of Commissioners adopted a strong and sustainable Madison Valley Growth Management Action Plan. Our grantee, the Madison Valley Ranchlands Group, worked with community partners, supported by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the Sonoran Institute, to achieve this goal.
  • The largest source of airborne mercury in the country, a gold processing facility in Nevada was shut down in 2008. The successful strategy to stop the mercury emissions came from Idaho Conservation League and its partners who pressed the state to require reporting of emissions from the facility and the installation of pollution control equipment.
  • In 2007, the Board of Lemhi County Commissioners adopted a new comprehensive plan recognizing the need to protect and sustain natural resources, the economic value of clean water, open spaces, and fish and wildlife habitat, and connecting these issues to property values and the community's quality of life. Our grantee, Salmon Valley Stewardship, teamed with community partners to support this effort.
  • Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal Defence Fund) recently reported that the Brainerd Challenge Grant awarded in 1999 to help them launch a viable major gifts program has substantially increased annual revenues by hundreds of thousands of dollars. info
  • In 2008, the BLM released its final environmental statement and activity plan for the Northeast National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), including the area around Teshekpuk Lake; there won't be expansion of leasing in the Teshekpuk wetlands for at least ten years. This accomplishment follows the foundation's first decade, when we focused on Arctic protection. Past grantees that played an important role in securing this achievement include Audubon Alaska and the Alaska Wilderness League.
  • In 2007, thirty-two journalists participated in two training expeditions that provided timely exposure to policy issues of water, energy, forestry, agriculture, land conservation and climate change. The Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources, which directed the expeditions, reports that since the training, 25 of the 32 participants have consistently produced better news coverage of conservation, environment and climate issues.
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