Message from the CEO and Board Chair

Collaboration Leads to Benefits We Share Throughout the West

Saguaro blooms above the Santa Cruz River near Avra Valley Road Arizona. May 2018. ©Sonoran Institute/Bill Hatcher, 2018.

Dear Friends,

Thanks to you, this has been another year of exciting accomplishments. At the Sonoran Institute, we understand that people arrive at conservation from many angles: recreation, business, academia, agriculture, cultural heritage, and art. We believe everyone’s voice should be heard, and their values considered. This commitment to collaboration has been the hallmark of our approach to natural resource conservation since our inception in 1990, and it is the reason we succeed.

Our work brings together people from two countries and tribal nations to improve the landscapes, waterways, wildlife habitat, and communities we all love. This is the story of who benefits—rural families in Colorado who will be less vulnerable to wildfires and drought; city dwellers in Tucson who experience less monsoon flooding and more shade; families from urban Mexicali who can discover a forest and learn about the Colorado River Delta’s renewal; hikers along the historic Anza trail in Tubac or cyclists on The Loop in Tucson who enjoy a flowing, living Santa Cruz River.

In the Colorado River Delta, where binational collaboration drives our restoration efforts, our work took another momentous leap forward with the signing of Minute 323 in September. For the next nine years, this new water-sharing agreement between the US and Mexico will support continued restoration and ensure a more secure water future for Colorado River water users.

In Colorado, our Growing Water Smart workshops are bringing West Slope and Front Range communities together to find water management solutions. We’re excited to announce that a significant multiyear grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, a critical partner in our work, will give communities the assistance they need to implement the Colorado Water Plan.

In Arizona, we are a key partner in the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance, a coalition of over 60 organizations and municipalities. This group will soon release a Regional Open Space Strategy and Vision to protect the most vital conservation priorities of Maricopa County, the fastest-growing county in the nation.

Within our own organization, collaboration is a constant source of energy and innovation. Recently, we gathered expertise from across Sonoran Institute to greatly expand our strategic plan and vision for the Santa Cruz River. We can’t wait to tell you more in the coming months!

Finally, collaboration with an engaged board of directors is the foundation of success for any organization, and our board works hard and participates fully. We thank Chris Perez for his outstanding leadership as our Board Chair these past two years. With his guidance, our board has grown with great diversity of age, gender, geography, and professional backgrounds.

In this time of endless vitriol and blame in public discourse, we remain committed to an open table. Thanks to your support, we provide a space where everyone who has a stake in the future of the North American West is welcome. The positive results we see, and your loyal and generous support, reassure us that we are on the right path. That’s why we’re thrilled to present our 2018 Annual Report.



Stephanie Sklar                                             Dan B. Kimball

CEO                                                             Board Chair