Conservation in California and the American West Right Now
11/30/2017 by Obi Kaufmann

When only a couple of years ago we were celebrating the addition of five National Monuments to California’s portfolio of protected land (Berryessa Snow Mountain, San Gabriel Mountains, Sand to Snow, Castle Mountains and Mojave Trails), we have now witnessed a swinging of the political pendulum: the party in executive power seems bent on dismantling federal protections and selling them off to private interests. The talk among conservation groups seems not about protecting new lands, although some California-based initiatives still exist in that regard, but to protect what we’ve already got done and thought was settled. The massive network of local, regional and national organizations who tirelessly work at defending and conserving land across the west remains steadfast, even galvanized in resistance to the current presidential administration and the toxic appointments that have been made to the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. These agencies are currently shirking, perhaps even deliberately undermining their responsibility to the nature legacy of our public interest and trading our grandchildren’s wilderness for profit. I have created a list and am presenting it here of some of my favorite non-profit organizations who rally against downward, unwise and mismanaged trend of our federal government, day after day. As you consider end of the year donations, please peruse this list and consider these embroiled organizations and their fight for your public lands. In their fight to maintain habitat and the promotion of biodiversity they stand against the wave of short-sight progress which comes so easily and so often at the expense of the natural world of the American West.

All of the groups score highly on Charity Navigator’s list of quality, registered 501(c)3 organizations for transparency and effectiveness. There are so many more organizations that I could have mentioned and do wish to support. This list presents a balanced view of Non-profit organizations that span topics and areas across California and some beyond with specific regard to issues of conservation, biodiversity and public lands. They are presented in alphabetical order. I will be following up this inventory with another, highlight the many wonderful Land Trust Organizations that I whole-heartedly support. -Obi

Portrait of the author, artist Obi Kaufmann, by Paul Collins.

01. ADVOCATES FOR THE WEST (www.advocateswest.org)
Hold our Ground Donation $25

Advocates for the west is a non-profit environmental law firm that employs law and science in the argument to protect the west’s public lands, water and wildlife. Advocates for the West are the legal backup to over 30 conservation nonprofits and partners in the West. They are currently representing themselves in a suit filed by Senior Attorney Todd Tucci against Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice, seeking disclosure of unlawfully withheld documents demonstrating that President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lack authority to vacate or shrink Bears Ears National Monument, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and all other National Monuments.

AMARGOSA CONSERVANCY (www.amargosaconservancy.org)
Supporting Membership $35

The Amargosa Conservancy works through advocacy and stewardship to protect this ancient and delicate, desert watershed. Membership supports their efforts to (1) Make the Amargosa a priority for government land managers, and partner with them to accomplish goals of common interest. (2) Build support for the Amargosa Conservancy in local communities and among others who love the Amargosa. (3) Facilitate community engagement in environmental policy-making and endangered species conservation. (4) Promote awareness and support for conservation in the Amargosa region among political leaders in California and Nevada who represent the region at the national (Congress), state (legislature), and county (supervisors) levels. (5) Control invasive species. (6) To gather essential data to gain a clearer understanding of the water resources of the Amargosa Basin. (7) Partner with others to support economic sustainability that protects the land, water, and beauty of the Amargosa. (8) Protect key conservation target properties in the Conservancy’s area of interest through acquisition of conservation easements or outright purchase. (9) Ensure sound organizational operations and structures.

View from Sibley Ridgeline north, East San Francisco Bay. All wilderness photos by Obi Kaufmann

03. AMERICAN RIVER CONSERVANCY (www.arconservancy.org)
Individual Membership $35

The American River Conservancy serves our communities by ensuring healthy ecosystems within the California’s Upper American and upper Cosumnes River Watersheds through land conservation, stewardship and education. ARC is now working on the American River Headwaters Restoration Project, a plan for the upper American River watershed to support its biodiversity with healthy forests that are resilient to naturally occurring wildfire, rivers and streams that support an abundance of native fish, and a network of trails that enable the public to enjoy the scenic and ecological richness of this property.

04. ANZA BORREGO FOUNDATION (www.theabf.org)
Basic Donation $25

The ABF works to conserve land by purchasing it from willing sellers and adding it to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. When Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California’s largest State Park, was formed in the early 1930’s, it was checkerboarded by thousands of acres of private land inholdings. Since 1967, the ABF has acquired more than 54,000 acres of those missing puzzle pieces and have added them to the park. In such critically endangered local landscapes such as Borrego Palm Canyon and Coyote Canyon, areas rich in life and paleontology. Looking to the future, the ABF seeks to acquire yet more of these inholdings and to conserve wilderness areas in perpetuity.

Old Culp Valley Road, Anza Borrego Desert State Park

05. AUDUBON CALIFORNIA (www.ca.audubon.org)
Basic Donation $20

Since the 19th century, the Audubon Society has been working in California to protect wild birds and their habitat. Most recently, Audubon California has been leader in (1) Advocacy to elected officials and agency staff to include water for refuges in drought response legislation and policies, (2) supporting a network of activists who support bird-friendly state policies, work to restore and maintain healthy habitat for birds, and help educate the public on bird-friendly issues, (3) maintaining safe places for kids and families to explore the natural world at our nature centers and sanctuaries, (4) supporting partnerships with farmers to bring songbirds back to rural California, and with fishermen to support sustainable fishing practices for waterbirds that share our oceans and bays, and (5) Scientific research on best conservation practices for birds and people in a changing climate.

06. CALIFORNIA WILDERNESS COALITION (www.calwild.org)
Individual membership $35

Through political action and activist organizing, Cal Wild works to protect California’s Wild Public Lands and Rivers. Cal Wild has projects across the state, but most notably, they are working to support the newest version of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (CCHPA S.1959 and HR 4079) introduced by Representative Salud Carbajal (D-CA) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and when passed, will protect 244,909 acres of wilderness across eight existing wilderness areas, create two scenic areas encompassing 34,882 acres and safeguard 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument. This is important new legislation in a time when bills like this are few and far between.

looking north to San Gorgonio Peak from near the top of San Jacinto Peak, Mt. San Jacinto State Park

07. CONSERVATION ALLIANCE (www.conservationalliance.com)
Basic Donation $25

Since the Conservation Alliance was founded in 1989, they’ve helped protect 50 million acres, 2,991 river miles, removed or halted 29 dams, purchased 12 climbing areas and designated 5 marine reserves. 100% of your donation will be directed to the groups working to protect wild lands and water for future generations to enjoy. Most recently, the Conservation Alliance has established the Public Lands Defense Fund (PLDF) to safeguard the integrity of our public lands and to coordinate corporate money with environmental restoration projects.

08. CONSERVATION LANDS FOUNDATION (www.conservationlands.org)
One-Time Donation $15

Working on BLM and National Monument land throughout the west, CLF has a broad portfolio from working directly to restore ecosystems in the field to political advocacy defending these wild places from those in Washington who would like to exploit the natural resources there. As laid out in their mission, CLF works to ensure the Antiquities Act and our bedrock environmental laws are protected; defend our national monuments from attacks; safeguard the National Conservation Lands as a permanent system of protected public lands; Uphold strong conservation management practices and policies; and ensure the National Conservation Lands are backed by a dedicated and influential constituency of grassroots advocates.

Summer along Sagehen Creek Trail, Tahoe National Forest, Nevada county, California

09. EARTHJUSTICE (www.earthjustice.org)
Basic Donation $35

“Because Earth needs a good lawyer” is Earthjustice’s famous tag line. For 45 years, Earthjustice has been litigating for the side of conservation and biodiversity. This massively successful organization with a long track record of impressive victories is now taking on big oil in their attempts to rip apart the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, to combat the dismantling of the federal Clean Power Plan and the protecting large predators in the west that would be affected by a bevvy of laws that are now gearing up to end remaining population.

10. ENVIRONMENT CALIFORNIA (www.environmentcalifornia.org)
Basic Donation $25

Environment California is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. With roots in direct activism, EC recently launched the Alliance to Save Bees which united sixty-five chefs and restaurant owners to form the first Bee Friendly Food Alliance. Other major projects include staunch leadership in opposition to Fracking in California and “keeping plastic out of the Pacific.” EC is instrumental in the movement to ban plastic shopping bags from the state.

Slinkard Wildlife Area, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, California

11. FRIENDS OF THE INYO (www.friendsoftheinyo.org)
Clark’s Nutcracker Donation $35

Friends of the Inyo provides Preservation, Exploration, and Stewardship of the Eastern Sierra from places like the Golden Trout Wilderness and Owens Lake to Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, and the Bodie Hills. From the crest of the Sierra to the White and Inyo Mountains, Friends of the Inyo has a long history of making a difference with programs that connect people with their public lands. Members receive FOI’s biannual newsletter, The Jeffrey Pine Journal, invitations to outings and events, and regular email updates about what’s happening on and for the Eastern Sierra’s wild open spaces.

12. FRIENDS OF THE RIVER (www.friendsoftheriver.org)
Friend $35

For 45 years, Friends of the River has been tireless in their dogged protection of California’s water resources and keeping wild rivers wild. On their website, Friends of the River lays out a specific and fascinating plan for California’s water future, balancing conservation and human needs without building ecologically disastrous dams. Now the fight is on over Sites Dam in the western Sacramento Valley near Maxwell. This dam would be devastating to the many threatened and endangered species that depend on the river and its dynamic flow-based ecosystem.

Green Creek Wildlife Area, Hoover Wilderness, California

13. KERN RIVER CONSERVANCY (www.kernriverconservancy.org)
Individual Membership $25

Kern River Conservancy works to implement education initiatives focused on watershed conservation, responsible public land use, wild trout conservation and community outreach. Kern River is home to 3 of California’s Native Heritage Trouts, The Kern River Rainbow, Little Kern Golden and California’s official state fish, The Golden Trout. The population of these fish have become dire as our waterways continue to warm up from the climate of our planet and the ongoing destructive drought in California. Adding to the factor of the threat, is free range cattle grazing that has destroyed precious meadows and streams which the trout rely on for a healthy habitat. Kern River Conservancy has an exclusive relationship with so many partners who work to create a unique outreach program on engaging anglers and outdoor enthusiasts on the importance of conservation and the safe practice of catch and release.

14. KLAMATH SISKIYOU WILDLANDS (www.kswild.org)
Basic Donation $20

Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands, or KSWILD, works to protect wild areas, rivers and wildlife in the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion of Northern California and Southwest Oregon through direct and legal action and community activism. The so-called “Resilient Federal Forest Act” (H.R. 2936, 2017) is an extreme attack on public lands, proposing 50 square miles of timber-industry clearcuts with no public review. Although the bill was successfully amended to make clear that the provision did not affect Wilderness, Wild and Scenic, and other land designations. That amendment did not do the same for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, areas of critical environmental concern, riparian reserves, late successional reserves, northern spotted owl critical habitat, and other designations.

Trinity River near Willow Creek, California

15. LOS PADRES FOREST WATCH (www.lpfw.org)
Membership $50

Los Padres Forest Watch is the only local nonprofit organization protecting wildlife, wilderness, and clean water throughout the Los Padres National Forest, the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and other public lands along California’s central coast for the benefit of our communities and future generations. Organizing armies of passionate volunteers, LPFW works to maintain trails and monitor the health of the Coastal ranges across Central California. LPFW employs a cadre of biologists who have most recently formally submitted the Refugio Manzanita (Arctostaphylos refugioensis) as a candidate in Santa Barbara county to be protected by the federal endangered species act to the U.S. Department of Fish & Game.

16. MONO LAKE COMMITTEE (www.monolake.org)
Basic Donation $25

Since 1978, The Mono Lake Committee has been a voice for Mono Lake for research, negotiation, litigation and lobby efforts in defense of Mono Lake. As advocates for cooperative solutions to water supply problems, the Mono Lake Committee has also become a voice for water use efficiency. The long legal struggle that saved Mono Lake also set the stage for restoring many of Mono Lake’s damaged resources. Mono Lake is rising and its streams ore re-establishing the natural processes that once supported lush desert-forests and thriving ecosystems. As the recovery continues over the next 20 years, there will still be much work to be done, and offers a dynamic lesson in restoration that Mono Lake Committee will oversee and document.

View of Mono Lake from Panum Crater, California

17. MOUNT SHASTA BIOREGIONAL ECOLOGY CENTER (www.mountshastaecology.org)
Basic Patronage $15

A community working to preserve, protect and restore Mount Shasta’s world-renowned mountain environment, the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center is now in its 28th year. Since 1997, the MSBEC and their Native American and environmental allies have been battling multinational geothermal corporations to assure that polluting industrial geothermal energy development with associated hydraulic fracturing, acid leaching, and habitat fragmentation will not get a foothold on this sacred ground near and around Mount Shasta up in the Medicine Lake tablelands.

18. NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION (www.npca.org)
Basic Membership $35

Since 1919, the National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in the fight to safeguard the scenic beauty, wildlife, and historic and cultural treasures of the largest and most diverse park system in the world. From their national headquarters in Washington, D.C., and 27 locations nationwide, the NPCS calls on program and policy experts, committed volunteers, staff lobbyists, community organizers and communications specialists to inform and inspire the public and to influence decision makers to ensure that our national parks are well protected.

equipment

19. NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION (www.nwf.org)
Basic Membership $30

The National Wildlife Federation currently works to connect habitats for bison, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bears in the West through our Adopt a Wildlife Acre program. We’re also raising awareness and building safe pathways for mountain lions in California’s urbanized landscape through the Save LA Cougars campaign. Additionally, we work to connect wildlife habitats in the Northeast through the Critical Paths Project. The National Wildlife Federation has bold plans to expand work connecting habitats for wildlife by 2021.

20. NATURE CONSERVANCY (www.conserveca.org)
Basic Donation $25

One of the largest Conservation groups in the world, the Nature Conservancy is currently working locally in California on a numbers of important campaigns, including: 1) the continued monitoring of the Santa Cruz Island Fox as it recovers from the brink of extinction, 2) the 2015 Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, the state’s first serious effort to provide a regulatory framework for producing marijuana with particular deference to its local, environmental impact, 3) The BIRDRETURNS program, which temporarily leases land from farmers in the central valley to erect temporary and seasonal nesting sites for migratory birds when they need it most, and 4) working with government agencies to assess where massive solar plants across the Southwest could be built without disrupting critical habitat and pristine desert land.

Santa Lucia Memorial Park at the base of Junipero Serra Peak, California

21. PACIFIC CREST TRAIL ASSOCIATION (www.pcta.org)
Basic Donation $35

Working on all levels to preserve America’s greatest, long-distance wilderness trail. You can designate your contribution to support one of our following programs. (1) Highest Priority Need – you allow PCTA to fund our most urgent needs. We recommend this option. (2) Trail Maintenance – your support helps recruit, train, supply and mobilize volunteers and staff to help in our goal to maintain 100% of the trail. (3) Trail Protection – your support helps PCTA respond to any threats to the trail. You help us build our partnerships with land managers and you support our advocacy efforts on behalf of the trail. (4) Land Protection –your support enables PCTA to prioritize, plan for and acquire lands that are at risk. (5) PCT Endowment – Endowments exist in perpetuity.  The PCT Endowment Fund supports the strategic goals of the PCTA forever. (6) The Linda Morris Fund of the PCT Endowment – The Linda Morris Fund is a gift for generations to come, ensuring that the trail she loved will be preserved for others who follow. (7) Jane & Flicka Endowment – The Jane and Flicka Endowment Fund provides a way to support the trail in perpetuity while also recognizing the spirit of these two hikers.

22. PACIFIC RIVERS (www.pacificrivers.org)
Basic Donation $25

An organization of scientists, lawyers and activists, Pacific Rivers works to protect and restore ecosystems of the West to ensure river health, biodiversity, and clean water for present and future generations. Working to bolster Oregon’s timber laws which are failing to protect rivers, water and human health, Pacific Rivers works to protect 24 million acres managed under the Northwest Forest Plan and 2.5 million acres of Oregon’s O&C lands (BLM railroad).

Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, California

23. REDWOOD PARK CONSERVANCY (www.redwoodparksconservancy.org)
Basic Donation $10

The Redwood Parks Conservancy works with the National and State parks systems to maintain public lands along California’s Redwood Coast through education and infrastructure fundraising. Among their current projects is protecting the recently opened and untrailed Titan Grove, and corner of the old growth forest that is being trampled by human traffic. The plan is to build an elevated walkway to preserve the massive trees’ roots for generations to come.

24. RESTORE HETCH HETCHY (www.hetchhetchy.org)
Basic Donation $25

The mission of Restore Hetch Hetchy is to return the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to its natural splendor ─ while continuing to meet the water and power needs of all communities that depend on the Tuolumne River. The movement does not begrudge San Francisco and other Bay Area communities the use of Tuolumne River water, as they have done for the past hundred years through what is now decaying infrastructure, but the water needs to be stored outside Yosemite National Park, and this jewel of California wilderness needs to be restored.

Bolinas Ridge, Marin county, California. #trailpaintings by Obi Kaufmann

25. RESTORE THE DELTA (www.restorethedelta.org)
Basic Donation $25

Through public education and citizen activism, Restore the Delta works to ensure the restoration and future sustainability of the SF Bay-Delta estuary. Contributions help  with litigation, sponsor outreach events, assist education efforts on what makes the Delta so special, and assist in the building of a coalition centered on sustainable water policies for the Delta and California that will be recognized by government officials as they make water management decisions

26. SANTA BARBARA WILDLIFE CARE NETWORK (www.sbwcn.org)
Hummingbird Donation $70

SBWCN works to rescue, rehabilitate and return to the wild sick, injured, orphaned, or oil-impaired wild birds and small mammals native to Santa Barbara county. $70 will feed hummingbirds recovering from injury for a season. $300 will support a single pelican for one month.  We had 448 in their care last year. $500 will pay for four shipments of mealworms for hungry songbirds. $1,650 will buy 1,400 pounds of frozen sardines for our seabirds. $2000 will fed a raptor for an entire year.

Sunset in Henry Coe State Park, Santa Clara county

27. SAVE MOUNT DIABLO (www.savemountdiablo.org)
Trailblazer Membership $35

Since 1971, SMD has worked to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance the region’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources.

28. SAVE OUR WILD SALMON (www.wildsalmon.org)
Chum Donation $75

Save Our Wild Salmon is a diverse, nationwide coalition working together to restore wild salmon and steelhead to the rivers, streams and marine waters of the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of our region’s ecology, economy and culture. Anti-environmental Members of Congress are working hard to roll back protections for endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Oregon and Washington. Save our Wild Salmon is working to stop HR3144, a blatant attack on salmon, orca and tribal treaty rights.

View of Mount Diablo Peak from Bollinger Canyon, California

29. SAVE THE REDWOODS LEAGUE (www.savetheredwoods.org)
Individual Membership $25

For one hundred years, Save the Redwoods League has pioneered innovative, science-based forest-restoration work, educated thousands of schoolchildren about the Redwood forest and continues to work at improving access to parkland and to create more parks and reserves. Currently the League is Working with researchers from Humboldt State University, University of California, Berkeley, and citizen scientists, we are studying the impacts of climate change on redwoods’ growth, carbon storage, and forest biodiversity through the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative (RCCI). They also are working on a project called Redwoods Rising. Redwoods Rising is a collaborative project of Save the Redwoods League, National Park Service and California State Parks that will greatly accelerate the pace and scale of redwood forest recovery and help protect Redwood National and State Parks’ remaining old-growth groves. Recent parcel acquisitions include Mailliard Ranch. is the largest undivided family-owned property in southern Mendocino County. Moreover, with nearly 12,000 acres of redwood and mixed conifer groves, including nearly 1,000 acres of towering old-growth redwood forest, it is the largest expanse of redwood forest still in private family hands in the coast range.

30. SIERRA CLUB CALIFORNIA (www.sierraclub.org/california)
Membership $50

Every day, the Sierra Club activates its political-action network to address some pressing matter that affects all who reside in the West. In California right now, this classic bastion of environmental defense organizations is focused on (1) Clean energy in California (2) Endorsing Alex Padilla for California’s Secretary of State (3) Air Quality and Climate Disruption (4) advocating for Keeping California Forests Healthy, Habitat Viable, and Wildlife Safe (5) Keep California’s 278 state parks open and reverse Governor Brown’s plans to close 70 of those parks due to budget cuts (6) Ban the brutal practice of “hounding” in bear and bobcat hunts (7) Ban the sale of shark fins, the harvest of which threatens to wipe out sharks (8) Beat back legislation that threatened to increase unsustainable forestry practices on private lands.

Tacquitz Canyon. #trailpaintings by Obi Kaufmann

31. SIERRA NEVADA ALLIANCE (www.sierranevadaalliance.org)
Individual Membership $50

For over 25 years, the Sierra Nevada Alliance has been following a strict mandate that lays out a multi-point plan to maintain the sustainability of the Sierra Nevada mountain range as an extended community where dynamic ecosystems interface with human society. The SNA is an umbrella organization, networking many dozen organizations currently working with (1) the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership which conducts on-the-ground watershed restoration and environmental education; (2) Grassroots Advocacy and Regional Climate Change Programs which work with cities throughout the Sierra on transitioning to 100% renewable energy; (3) a Member Group Support Program which allows us to help other groups in the Sierra build capacity and expand their impact.

32. SOUTH YUBA RIVER CITIZEN’S LEAGUE (www.yubariver.org)
Friend of the Yuba $50

SYCRL works to protect, restore, and conserve the greater Yuba River watershed. Current work focuses on combatting the plan to build a new dam, called the Centennial Dam on the Bear River, adjacent to the Yuba, which will If built, this 275-foot dam would block the last six miles of publicly accessible free-flowing river on the Bear. It would destroy fish and wildlife habitat, beloved swimming holes, and sacred Native American sites. We don’t need a new dam generating more polluting sprawl and traffic. We can increase our water supply by restoring our forests and meadows, and use the water we do have more wisely. SYCRL also produces the annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival: one of the nation’s premier environmental and adventure film festivals. The 16thannual event will feature films that combine stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling to inform, inspire and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth. Each year, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival draws top filmmakers, celebrities, leading activists, social innovators and well-known world adventurers for film, music, workshops, celebrations, and inspiration.

studio

33. TULEYOME (www.tuleyome.org)
Tuleyome Friend $35

Tuleyome works to protect, maintain and celebrate the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Northern California. In addition to political advocacy, ecological restoration and administrative management around the monument, Tuleyome is currently working on building the Explorit Science center in Woodland, California. This new center for regional science and education will be the only of its kind in the area and foster a new level of understanding in this often unknown and unexplored corner of the California’s Northern, Coastal ranges.

34. TURTLE ISLAND RESTORATION NETWORK (www.seaturtles.org)
Basic Donation $35

The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network – SPAWN – protects endangered, wild coho salmon and the forests and watersheds they need to survive in West Marin. SPAWN was initiated as part of Turtle Island Restoration Network in 1997. SPAWN works to protects endangered, wild coho salmon and the habitat they need to survive in West Marin. By engaging hundreds of people each year to see and learn about the majestic endangered salmon, SPAWN works to restore watershed habitat, to raise native redwood trees, and to study salmon health. With the support of thousands of activists, SPAWN is also making strides towards fish-friendly development policies to help the salmon survive and thrive.

Kingston Peak, Mojave, California #trailpaintings by Obi Kaufmann

35. VENTANA WILDERNESS ALLIANCE (www.ventanawild.org)
Ventana Advocate $35

The VWA works to protect, preserve and restore the wilderness qualities and biodiversity of the public lands within California’s northern Santa Lucia Mountains and Big Sur Coast. Founded in 1998, The VWA has tirelessly worked to maintain wilderness trails, provide stewardship for the local ecosystems, clean up marijuana grow sites, restore riparian areas, been an advocate for sustainable wildfire planning and responsible grazing standards and has been an invaluable resource for natural history education throughout the region.

36. WILD EARTH GUARDIANS (www.wildearthguardians.org)
Wild Bunch Donation $25

Founded as Forest Guardians in 1989, the original mission of the grassroots effort was to fight a logging project on northern New Mexico’s Elk Mountain. As the evidence of environmental threats continued, the efforts of the Guardians expanded. In addition to fighting logging projects, the organization began to take on public lands livestock grazing industry. Seeing the devastation that cattle wreak on the Southwest’s precious waterways, the organization launched a campaign to out-compete public lands ranchers for leases. Once the leases were obtained, we fenced out the cattle, removed non-native invasive vegetation, and planted native cottonwood and willow trees that allow waterways to thrive and wildlife habitat to be reborn. Although Guardians has significantly expanded their scope over the years, their core mission to confront the threats facing the beauty and diversity of the American West has not changed. They now have an in-house legal team that works closely with their program directors to reform policy and uphold environmental laws. Guardians has joined with Waterkeeper Alliance to protect and restore the Rio Grande from its headwaters in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado to the Chihuahuan desert of southern New Mexico. Guardians has partnered with Save the Colorado, Save the Poudre, Living Rivers, and Waterkeeper Alliance to challenge the recently approved Windy Gap Firming Project that seeks to further drain the already imperiled Colorado River. Guardians and the Western Environmental Law Center stepped up our efforts to compel the Trump administration to publicly release government records concerning the killing of western wildlife and the oversight of fossil fuel companies.

Near Quail Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, California

37. WILDERNESS SOCIETY (www.wilderness.org/california)
Basic Membership $35

One of the world’s great wilderness preservation groups. Currently the Wilderness Society in California is working to (1) purchase and donate future public land holdings in Death Valley to expand the National Park by 32,000 acres near what is called “the Bowling Alley”, (2) purchase and donate future public land holdings in Mojave National Preserve to expand the Preserve by 29,000 acres near Lanfair Valley, (3) advocate for the protection of 70 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers in the Amargosa, (4) the designation of four new wilderness areas inside of Death Valley National Park, (5) working with the California Wilderness Coalition on the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, (6) advocating to wilderness land additions around Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.

38. WILDLANDS CONSERVANCY (www.wildlandsconservancy.org)
Basic Donation $35

Founded in 1995, The Wildlands Conservancy (TWC) is dedicated to preserving the beauty and biodiversity of the earth and to providing California’s largest chain of land managed by a non-profit.  In working to achieve this mission, TWC has established the largest nonprofit nature preserve system in California, comprised of fifteen preserves encompassing 147,000 acres of diverse mountain, valley, desert, river, and oceanfront landscapes. These preserves are open to the public free of charge for passive recreation, including camping, hiking, picnicking, birding, and more. Many acquisitions of the Wildlands Conservancy are then graduated to federal protection and larger conservation efforts, including (1) Wind Wolves Preserve gave birth to a land acquisition effort to link the Coast Ranges with the Sierra Nevada, (2) The 560,000-acre California Desert Land Acquisition gave birth to the 1.6 million-acre Mojave Trails National Monument, and (3) The Wildlands Conservancy’s work in the Santa Ana River Watershed helped bring together cities and counties across Southern California to create the 110-mile Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway project.

camp

39. WILDLANDS NETWORK (www.wildlandsnetwork.org)
Membership $50

Wildlands Network is leading the movement to rewild large tracts of develop land and to establish critical wildlife corridors across the West. The amount of land needed to establish a continental system of connected wildlands will be determined by long-term, science-based mapping that identifies the protected areas and linkages required to sustain wildlife and natural processes. The Wildland Network’s conservation proposals include enlarging existing protected areas—including Wilderness Areas and National Parks—creating new protected areas, and encouraging various levels of additional protections for federal, state, and private lands. Most of the attention this year is on the Wildlands Network’s Borderlands Campaign, the goal of which is to ensure that jaguars, ocelots, and other wildlife can move freely through the Sky Islands region of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. This means organizing against effort to build a border wall which would destroy critical migratory routes for a whole host of animals who rely on being able to move through that beautiful and wild landscape.

Sunset from Abalone Point, Orange County, California