Stewardship Partners 


Stewardship Partners was founded in 1999 to provide Washington landowners with the tools to be great stewards of the land while maintaining economic viability.  This was a fairly radical idea at the time, which also coincided with Chinook salmon being placed on the Endangered Species List.  Stewardship Partners recognized the need to encourage rural private landowners to stay on the land and reward them for their environmental ethic.  Today, the idea of cooperative conservation at the community level has been adopted as one of the most effective approaches to protecting natural resources. 

The Washington Department of Ecology estimates that 75% of the pollution in Puget Sound comes from stormwater run-off; 100,000 pounds of toxics enter our streams, rivers and the Sound every day.  This threatens the health of fish, wildlife and human beings. Stewardship Partners addresses this problem from several anglesOur projects restore fish and wildlife habitat, improve water quality, protect open space and wetlands, and 'green up' the built environment while supporting economically sustainable farms, forests, and communities. 
Mission Statement
Stewardship Partners helps private landowners restore and preserve the natural landscapes of Washington State. We promote and implement incentive-based programs that encourage landowners to participate in fish and wildlife conservation and restoration, while simultaneously meeting their economic needs through sustainable land management.
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Stewardship Partners
1411 4th Ave Ste 1425 
(206) 292-9875 

Mr. David J. Burger 
Executive Director 


Stewardship Partners Programs

Salmon-Safe Certification Program
Stewardship Partners manages the Washington Salmon-Safe certification program to recognize farmers and other private land owners who adopt significant conservation practices that help restore native salmon habitat. Salmon-Safe property owners go above and beyond local, state and federal regulations to protect water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and overall watershed health. This independent Salmon-Safe eco-label is seen on products such as wine, dairy, produce, and fruit which are now carried in 200 grocery stores. Employing professional inspectors, we have certified now 75 farms farms and 32 vineyards. In 2013, we are launching the Urban Salmon-Safe Campaign with the goal of certifying 250 significant urban properties.

12,000 Rain Garden in Puget Sound Campaign
We are partnering with the 12 Puget Sound Washington State University Extension offices on a campaign to install and register 12,000 rain gardens by 2016. Rain gardens work like a native forest by capturing and infiltrating polluted runoff from rooftops, driveways, and other hard surfaces before it can reach storm drains, streams, rivers and ultimately Puget Sound. Meeting our campaign goal of 12,000 rain gardens in the Puget Sound area by 2016 would eliminate 160 million gallons of polluted runoff each year.

Snoqualmie Stewardship Program
We collaborate with agricultural landowners to conduct habitat restoration projects compatible with a viable farming economy in the Snoqualmie Valley.  Field crews remove non-native vegetation and replant 40-250 foot buffers with native trees and shrubs to keep polluted run-off from reaching the river and its tributaries. To date we have restored over 10 miles of the Snoqualmie River on 21 private properties, protected existing wetlands and created new ones, installed fencing to keep livestock out of the river, and strengthened the environmental ethic among land owners. 

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

We launched the 12,000 Rain Gardens in Puget Sound campaign in April of 2011.  Building on our previous success and expertise with rain gardens, we have reached over 2000 people directly through our workshops and cluster installations. In 2012, we launched the website, offering free technical support and resources to the public.  We have also installed over 100 rain gardens throughout Puget Sound and facilitated hundreds more.

General support is vital to Stewardship Partners because the majority of our funding is for specific projects and does not fully fund the cost of successfully operating the organization and growing our programs. General operating funds allow Stewardship Partners to more fully respond to needs and opportunities in the community, making the organization more flexible and better able to serve the public.


Stewardship Partners helps farmers, landowners and community-based organizations to garner resources and take advantage of the variety of incentive-based programs that reward environmentally responsible land management.

Proven Success
Since 1999, they have restored 10+ miles of Snoqualmie River on 21 different private properties; built over 100 rain gardens and facilitated development of hundreds more, launched the 12,000 Rain Gardens campaign; completed "Salmon-Safe" certification on 107 agricultural properties, and conducted 60 educational workshops for 1,500 people on how to reduce polluted run-off. They have established collaborative relationships with other environmental groups, government agencies, tribes and the agricultural community to bring about mutually workable solutions to environmental problems.

Stewardship Partners manages the Washington Salmon-Safe program, an eco-label that recognizes farms, vineyards, golf courses, and college and corporate campuses that adopt conservation practices to help restore native salmon habitat in Pacific Northwest rivers and streams. To qualify each property owner adopts rigorous measures to restore in-stream habitat, conserve water, improve water quality, protect river and wetland habitats, reduce erosion and sedimentation, and limit the use of chemical pesticides. Stewardship Partners has certified as Salmon-Safe the University of Washington Seattle campus, REI's flagship store, a golf course, Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park, and the Edmonds PCC, and they are in conversations with Boeing and Microsoft about participating in the Salmon-Safe program.

Best Practices
Stewardship Partners offers programs and demonstration projects aimed at providing homeowners with ideas and tools to create stormwater runoff landscapes in their homes, public spaces and local businesses. Its rain garden program is an accessible tool for individuals to take action against stormwater runoff. The 12,000 Rain Gardens in Puget Sound project, a partnership with Washington State University, aims to grow and designate 12,000 rain gardens — which reduce pollution and alleviate flooding all while creating attractive landscapes that promote native plant growth in hearty soil — in the area by 2016. Caffe Vita, which has created the 12,000 Rain Gardens blend to benefit Stewardship Partners.

Stewardship Partners works with the community to implement collaborative restoration, environmental planning and conservation projects. It is effective at brokering relationships and involving community groups, government entities and landowners in creating sustainable stewardship plans.

Two primary partners are Washington State University (WSU) Extension and the Salmon-Safe Certification program. WSU is the national leader in rain garden research and design and their 12 Puget Sound Extension offices are committed to helping them build or register 12,000 rain gardens by 2016. WSU will provide students in their Master Gardener program with 100 hours of free training to become Rain Garden Mentors. In turn, each Mentor will volunteer an additional 100 hours to promote, build and maintain rain gardens throughout the region.

Financial Health
In recent years a high percentage of their budget has been from grants. In late 2011, they hired a part-time Development Director, the first dedicated fundraising staff position, to create a plan to identify and cultivate potential new donors and to retain and steward existing donors and diversify their revenue streams.

They have maintained a balanced budget the last three years. Through conservative fiscal management, Stewardship Partners has set aside reserves that will fund organizational expenses for up to six months should funding not be available from other sources. They are ramping up their new Adopt-a-Buffer program, which they expect will raise new funds from businesses and corporations who want to participate in the restoration of Puget Sound and its watersheds.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

3/10/2013 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2011 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
6/10/2010 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2008 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
6/16/2005 $15,000.00support general operating expenses of the Snoqualmie Stewardship Program.


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