Message from the CEO and Board Chair

Every challenge we address today is a step towards the future we envision

Dear Friends,

We are so grateful to you, the Sonoran Institute family of partners, donors and volunteers. Thank you for making this year one to be proud of.

We are thrilled to introduce this year’s Annual Report, which highlights our accomplishments this past year with special emphasis on our work on water. But, with a twist! This report takes us to the year 2040 and sets the scene of how the work we are doing in 2017 is critical to ensuring our region’s water future. We often say our work is focused on the future, we will show you how.

As we look at each project we undertake, we like to say, “a river runs through it.” Whether it is the mighty and mightily challenged Colorado, the semi-dry effluent-dependent Santa Cruz, the New River, or the Gila, they inform and inspire our work.

Over the last year, we increasingly focused our work on the nexus between land and water and the significance of looking at water as the lifeblood of natural resource conservation in the North American West.

In Colorado, we launched a new program in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Gates Foundation. Resilient Communities and Watersheds and our Water Smart community assistance programs will aid Colorado communities in implementing the Colorado Water Plan.

On both the Upper and Lower Santa Cruz, we continue to work with a range of stakeholders in determining how to provide water for nature and people to ensure the cultural, ecological, and economic values of our region’s longest continually inhabited river.

In the Delta, we surpassed 200,000 trees planted, increasing the area of restored habitat and revitalization of the river. Our expanded Fluye project in Mexicali removed 5,500 tons of trash from two drains, improving community health and opening a pathway for cleaner water to flow to the New River, and ultimately the Salton Sea.

Our river work continues to highlight the importance of maintaining excellent relationships on both sides of the border with a diverse and culturallyaware staff and partners. We are committed to being a truly binational organization. More than half our staff is located in Mexicali, where we held our first all-staff retreat in February.

Our Development and Marketing Team is at full staff and full steam ahead. Our Endowment Campaign is at 50% of goal, our website continues to bring in new donors, and we are happy to report fundraising was at 108% of goal for the fiscal year.

Thanks to your support—your tweets, your Facebook and Instagram posts, your kind notes, your work in the trenches, your generous financial support, and your confidence in the people of Sonoran Institute and the people of the West—we are looking forward to another great year—a year that will ensure the West’s future is conserved for the benefit of all.



Stephanie Sklar                   Chris Perez
CEO                                   Board Chair

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