Strategic Plan

We unite people to fight for clean water and the climate.

Read or Listen to our Strategic Plan Now:


A Columbia River that unites people to fight for clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and our climate.


Protect and restore the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean.

Photo by Rick Rappaport



We care for ourselves, others, and the world around us.

Relationship building

Victories are built on strong, lasting, and reciprocal relationships with colleagues, partners, members, and decision-makers.

Equity and inclusion

We respect all people, regardless of color, ethnicity, place of origin, culture, language, age, sexuality, or gender.


We work and celebrate with creativity and optimism.

Honesty and integrity

We operate with honesty and integrity, balanced with compassion.



water quality in the Columbia River Basin because: 1) people have a right to eat locally-caught fish, drink water and swim without fear of pollution; and 2) clean water and healthy ecosystems have intrinsic value.


people’s health, habitat, fish and wildlife from past, existing, and proposed high-impact development, including fossil fuel developments.


justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in environmental decisions and our own actions. This includes evaluating the impacts of our decisions on Tribal Nations, pursuing dialogue with Tribes, and, where appropriate, working in solidarity with Tribes to achieve common goals.


climate change and other impacts of fossil fuel development by promoting clean energy and just transition from fossil fuels. Inspire people to care for and use the Columbia River through science and hands-on opportunities to engage with and learn about the river.


antiracist strategies and embrace the many ways environmentalism and social justice intersect. This includes sharing power, resources, and information to actively build capacity in environmental and social justice movements.


authentic engagement with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals and communities who are disproportionately impacted by water and air pollution.

How the Magic Happens

Columbia Riverkeeper works with people in dozens of communities—from rural to urban—who have the same goal of protecting clean water, fish, wildlife, and the places they love. Legal work makes a difference.

But lawsuits alone do not create the change we need. Change comes when people organize and stand together for something they believe in. Power shifts when conversations around kitchen tables grow into successful campaigns.

Photo by Kate Murphy
We believe that how we do our work matters. We have earned a string of victories to protect clean water and the climate.

Our Approach

We work in solidarity with many Tribal Nations and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. We encourage our members and supporters to learn about the rich, diverse cultures of Columbia Basin Tribes and Indigenous people, as well as unique aspects of individual Tribes’ sovereignty and governments. Our approach: build and maintain relationships with Tribes by adding value through organizing, legal advocacy, and communications on issues of shared concern.

Engage in marginalized communities

We strategically work in communities with little established environmental presence, including rural communities the Columbia River estuary, central Washington, and eastern Oregon. We work with allies beyond environmental organizations, including farmers, rural landowners, labor unions, and health professionals.

Lift up local voices

We cultivate local leadership and engage deeply in communities. From phone banking to media training for activists, we care about local leaders.

Columbia Riverkeeper’s Playbook

"We run creative plays--whether organizing in rural communities, arguing in court, or developing exposes in the media--to fight for clean water and the climate."

Like many sports, we work as a team every day—as a staff and board, with our members, and alongside community partners. But our work is no game. Columbia Riverkeeper engages in high-stakes campaigns.

Will a small town get saddled with decades of cancer-causing toxic pollution from a fossil-fuel terminal? Will another population of Columbia River salmon go extinct in our lifetimes? We run creative plays—whether organizing in rural communities, arguing in court, or developing exposés in the media—to fight for clean water and the climate.

Our playbook includes:

1. Grassroots community organizing We work with impacted communities to: promote strategic action and build political strength; cultivate leadership; and learn from local knowledge.

2. Environmental education, science, and restoration We educate and inspire people to learn about, monitor, and care for the Columbia.

3. Legal work We enforce environmental laws to: ensure local, state, and federal governments follow the law; reduce or eliminate illegal pollution; and increase government transparency.

4. Policy advocacy We advocate to local, state, and federal agencies to adopt policies, make permitting decisions, and pass regulations to protect the environment, human health, and our climate.

5. Communications We use online organizing and earned media to share stories and key values; inspire public participation; and inform decision makers, investors, and potential donors about our campaigns.

Strategic Program Priorities

"Our commitments: Own it. Learn. Grow."

Columbia Riverkeeper uses strategic coalition-building, grassroots organizing, strong policy work, and volunteers to protect clean water, the climate, and community health.

We have five primary program areas

Stopping Pollution; Fighting Fossil Fuels; Saving Salmon; Cleaning Up Hanford; and Engaging Communities. We are also the proud fiscal sponsor of Comunidades, a Latino/a/x-led group whose mission is to amplify voices for environmental and social justice while increasing Latino/a/x Strategic Program Priorities engagement and leadership in Columbia River Gorge communities.

Our programs are powered by 16,000 members and supporters. Lasting, positive change happens when thousands of people pool their resources to fight the good fight. Our program work also benefits from the support of foundations and several state and federal grants.

Columbia Riverkeeper is committed to achieving our mission and vision by advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in environmental decisions and our own actions.

In turn, our 2022–2024 Strategic Plan digs deeper to incorporate justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles at all levels of our organization, including: internal practices; program work; employee hiring, training, and retention and board recruitment and retention; membership outreach and development; and partnerships. We will make mistakes. If we take enough risks, we will fail sometimes.

Our commitments: Own it. Learn. Grow.

Fight for What you Love

Columbia Riverkeeper unites communities to fight for clean water and our climate—and win. Launched in 2000, we have grown into a diverse, respected organization known for combining grassroots organizing and legal advocacy to secure victories for clean water, salmon recovery, and our climate.