Organizational Background: The Tuolumne River Trust promotes the stewardship of the Tuolumne River and its tributaries to ensure a healthy watershed, from Yosemite National Park to the San Joaquin River and the San Francisco Bay-Delta. Founded in 1981, the Trust is the only organization working throughout the watershed, linking Sierra and Valley conservation issues and forging strong ties between rural mountain and valley regions and Bay Area urban communities. The Trust has an annual budget of more than a million dollars, a cadre of consultants, and offices in San Francisco, Modesto, and Sonora. We currently have seven staff with funding to add at least four more in the coming months.
The Trust won permanent protection for 83 miles of the Tuolumne River in 1984 and defeated a proposed hydroelectric project on the Clavey River in 1994. In the early 1990's when we joined 10 other parties as signatories to a negotiated Settlement Agreement that increased river flows for the lower Tuolumne River in the Central Valley and required river restoration with the objective to increase the remnant wild salmon population. More recently, the Trust led a collaborative effort to develop a vision for the Lower Tuolumne River Parkway, a mosaic of habitat and park projects along the 52-mile stretch of river in the Central Valley. In 2001, the Trust launched the Bay Area Program and convinced the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to drop plans to expand the Hetch Hetchy system that would have increased their ability to divert water from the River by as much as 50%.
By linking mountain, valley, and Bay Area conservation issues, and connecting people to the River through outings and education, the Trust is building broad support for watershed stewardship. Our strategic approach melds advocacy, education, collaboration, scientific inquiry, and litigation when necessary to address threats and take advantage of conservation and restoration opportunities.