In 2005, the United States charged an international shipping company with violating numerous federal pollution laws. As part of the settlement, the courts ordered $2 million in community service payments to be made to NFWF to maintain a sustained granting program called the Oregon Governor’s Fund for the Environment.
The program is designed to benefit the state's rivers, streams and near-coastal waters. It provides funds to identify and reduce sources of water pollution, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and improve enforcement of environmental laws to protect and restore Oregon rivers, streams and coastal areas. It also helps to implement conservation measures and makes a significant contribution to protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and habitat resources in Oregon.
Funding priorities for this program include:
- Developing and implementing strategies to eliminate and/or reduce pollution and restore the quality of Oregon rivers, streams and coastal areas.
- Restoring and conserving fish, wildlife, and plant resources critical to Oregon rivers, streams and coastal areas.
- Identifying continuing sources of pollution to Oregon rivers, streams and coastal areas.
- Improving state and local criminal enforcement of environmental and wildlife protection laws intended to protect Oregon rivers, streams and coastal areas.
Beginning in 2012, the Fund will be focused to align with the Governor's priority to ensure long term conservation of the state's wild salmon strongholds. Oregon's recognized strongholds include: the Tillamook/Nehalem, Illinois, North Umpqua, Sandy/Clackamas, Lower Deschutes, North Fork John Day, and Lower Grand Ronde (Joseph Creek, Minam River and Wenaha River) watersheds. Information about the methodology behind defining salmon stronghold watersheds can be found in the Oregon Salmon Stronghold Watershed Information document.
Since 2005, the Oregon Governor’s Fund for the Environment has awarded more than $2.5 million in grants to 65 projects. These projects have leveraged over $7 million in additional funds and in-kind contributions resulting in $9.6 million on the ground for conservation in Oregon. Grants have provided an array of environmental benefits, restoring Oregon rivers, improving fish passage and municipal water quality systems and developing Salmon-Safe programs for various agricultural industries.