Beginning in 2017, the Land & Rivers Fund has supported conservation work in partnership with the local business community. The program, which as of 2024, has raised almost $700,000, has advanced the protection of the rivers, landscapes, and ecosystems that are the foundation of our community, economy, and way of life.

Following the pandemic, local economic challenges, including inflation and housing scarcity, have made signing new businesses into the program increasingly difficult. In an effort to ensure that donor dollars from our participating businesses continue to make an impact on conservation, our program’s oversight committee, made up of representatives from the boards of both the Eagle River Watershed Council (now Eagle River Coalition) and Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT), in early 2024 made the difficult decision to drastically reduce the program’s costs by eliminating the program’s staff position. The Fund’s administrative work has been streamlined and integrated into existing staffing plans of Eagle River Coalition and Eagle Valley Land Trust.

Sue Nikolai has been an incredible advocate of local conservation through her role as program director of the Fund. For nearly 5 years, Sue has been the force behind this program, and her efforts have raised the profiles and advanced the missions of both organizations. Her commitment to the Fund directly helped to raise almost $700,000 for local lands and rivers. We’ll forever be grateful for her dedication, passion, and leadership in supporting an innovative way to protect the open spaces, trails, rivers, and wildlife.

Staff from Eagle River Coalition and Eagle Valley Land Trust are continuing the Land & Rivers Fund program with reduced administration costs. We continue to provide all of the marketing benefits that our contributing partner businesses expect. The college scholarship program that your contributions make possible is continuing unchanged, reducing the obstacles to conservation education for one graduating high school senior each year.