Our name says a lot about who we are and how we work.
The Willamette River watershed is our home. The Willamette has nurtured communities of incredible resiliency, complexity, and diversity since time immemorial. It also carries a history of terrible harm, genocide, and displacement. Our understanding of this place and its people grounds our work to build a better future, even when we’re working far from home. It helps us see that strong communities need a healthy environment, and a healthy environment requires strong communities.
Partnership is one of our core values and the foundation of all our work. We can’t achieve our mission of helping people and nature thrive together unless we can build community among people with different backgrounds, knowledge, skills, interests, and roles.
“A community is a place of self-definition. Any group of people meeting with the intention of connecting to the power within is a community”
– Malidoma Patrice Somé, “Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community”
Willamette Partnership is a conservation non-profit with a deep commitment to helping build stronger, healthier, and more equitable communities that are sustained by nature. We believe that people need nature and that the well-being of communities and natural systems is inextricably linked. Communities don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment.
We do work that benefits both people and nature, building innovative, cross-sector solutions through effective collaboration.
Mission + Vision
We help people and nature thrive together.
We are creating a world where natural and built systems work together to support stronger, healthier, and more equitable communities.
Willamette Partnership has grown and evolved over the years. Learn more about our journey and how we got to the work we are dedicated to today.
Willamette River Task Force
Governor John Kitzhaber tasks businesses, farms, environmental groups, and government officials to restore the health of the Willamette River.
Willamette Partnership created from Task Force leaders
Willamette Partnership was established from the Willamette River Task Force as a nonprofit.
In It Together: A How-To Reference for Building Point-Nonpoint Water Quality Trading Programs
In It Together (Parts 1, 2, & 3) are Trading References that outline a framework that has evolved identifying what steps can be taken in order to build a water quality trading program for a local watershed. These steps include: 1) evaluating the feasibility of a program, 2) convening the right group of stakeholders, 3) designing the program itself, 4) securing some form of program approval from regulatory agencies, 5) implementing the program, and 6) setting up an adaptive management approach that will allow for improvements and fine-tuning along the way.
Ecosystem Credit Accounting System
The General Crediting Protocol (updated 2017) outlines the rules on how to buy and sell credits for Willamette Partnership’s Ecosystem Credit Accounting System. It also describes how actions taken on the land translate into credits as well as how credits are verified, registered, and sold.
National Network on Water Quality Trading
In 2013, Willamette Partnership and World Resources Institute convened 18 organizations representing farmers, utilities, environmental groups, and regulatory agencies delivering water quality trading programs to form the National Network on Water Quality Trading.
Regional Recommendations for the Pacific Northwest on Water Quality Trading
In March 2013, water quality agency staff from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, U.S. EPA Region 10, Willamette Partnership, and The Freshwater Trust convened a working group for the first of a series of four interagency workshops on water quality trading in the Pacific Northwest. Funded by a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant, Willamette Partnership facilitated the group’s discussions that drew lessons learned from water quality trading policies, practices, and programs across the country, resulting in a set of recommended practices for each state to consider as they develop water quality trading.
Wingspread Declaration on Health and Nature
30 leaders from health, academia, and nature-focused nonprofits gathered at The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread in Racine, Wisconsin to explore the connections between health and nature. Everyone affirmed the positive health benefits from spending time in nature and the imperative to use health as an important lens in guiding conservation. That affirmation formed the heart of the Wingspread Declaration on Health and Nature.
Oregon Health & Outdoors Initiative built
Our health & nature work was built from the Oregon Action Framework for Health and the Outdoors, seeking to integrate health and conservation efforts and concepts. The Framework provides tools and intervention ideas to healthcare providers, conservation organizations, public health practitioners, and community networks. From this our Oregon Health & Outdoors Initiative was born.
Oak Accord Launches
The Oak Accord is a voluntary conservation agreement by landowners in the Willamette Valley to protect and restore the native oak habitat on their property.
We’ve been an active partner in Oregon’s Sage-Grouse Conservation Partnership, or SageCon. Willamette Partnership helped make mitigation a big part of the state’s strategy of steering development away from the most important sage-grouse habitat and investing in tackling threats like fire and invasive species.
We started creating a suite of strategies and tools that help communities reduce their risk of flooding and improve floodplain health. Local governments, state agencies, private landowners, and local conservation groups can use these strategies to better manage floodplains.
Shift Health Accelerator
Willamette Partnership becomes the fiscal sponsor of Shift Health Accelerator, a team working towards a Culture of Health, rooted in the belief that dramatic shifts are needed in the ways our institutions prioritize investments and ensure equitable decision-making as a fundamental premise of our collective future.
With the Center of Sustainable Infrastructure, we launched InfrastructureNext, an approach that provides communities with the tools and expertise to envision and implement infrastructure projects that are not only reliable but have multiple benefits for the environment, community health, and the local economy.
Northwest Environmental Justice Center
Through the Environmental and Energy Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center funding with EPA, alongside PSU’s Institute for Tribal Government, Rural Community Assistance Corporation and partners, the Northwest Environmental Justice Center provides frontline communities in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington with direct technical assistance, training, cohort learning and leadership development, ethical storytelling, systems change and accountability.