SVCF partners with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to protect wild salmon in the Russian Far East

Volcano with SalmonWild salmon in the waters of the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East.
Photo courtesy of The Fly Shop and Wild Salmon Center.

The social and environmental challenges facing the world are not confined to singular spaces – which is a primary reason that SVCF supports the diverse interests of our donors across local, national and global communities.

This year, at the request of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, SVCF established a unique project, the Kamchatka Engagement Sustainability Fund, to support wild salmon conservation in the Russian Far East. Kamchatka is a peninsula in Russia roughly the size of California. With a population of just over 300,000 people, Kamchatka’s environment remains remarkably pristine. Its free-flowing rivers sustain habitat for the greatest diversity of salmon species on earth. Kamchatka’s salmon – which make up one quarter of all wild Pacific salmon – underpin Kamchatka’s economy, ecology and culture. 

Through its Wild Salmon Ecosystem Initiative, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has supported Kamchatka salmon conservation over the past 15 years. Earlier this year, the foundation planned to exit the initiative, but was committed to sustaining and advancing the work. After learning about SVCF’s strengths in back-office services and grants management, the Moore foundation decided to establish this project in partnership with SVCF. SVCF worked with the foundation to create a fund to support this work.  

Over the next 10 years, SVCF will make more than $1.5 million in grants from this project. In addition, we will host convenings to share knowledge and expertise about the Kamchatka salmon ecosystem among grantees and other experts.

SVCF hosted the first of these convenings in October, bringing together leading conservationists from the Wild Salmon Center, World Wildlife Fund, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, the U.S. Forest Service and the Wildlife Conservation Society, in addition to several Russian conservationists. Participants reflected on the most effective salmon conservation strategies, identified challenges and opportunities, and established top priorities for this work.

The group identified several priorities: supporting joint scientific research efforts; increasing the level of Russian resources for salmon conservation; increasing healthy habitat through restoration; and mobilizing public interest in and education about salmon conservation in the Russian Far East.

Although political challenges exist between the U.S. and Russian governments, environmental conservation has proven to foster effective people-to-people cooperation. Informed by this dialogue, the Kamchatka Engagement Sustainability Fund is planning its initial round of grantmaking support for salmon conservation in this spectacular region.

“Wild salmon are a natural ‘connector’ between the peoples of the North Pacific,” said David Gordon, advisor to the fund, who has more than two decades of experience supporting conservation in the Russian Far East. “This partnership with SVCF will support people dedicated to protecting Kamchatka’s wild salmon – an indicator of the region’s ecological, economic, and cultural health – and sustain relationships between our countries.”

If you are interested in learning more about the work of the Kamchatka Engagement Sustainability Fund and the projects that it supports, please contact David Gordon, environmental and philanthropic advisor for the Kamchatka Engagement Sustainability Fund. 

For information about making a contribution to the Kamchatka Engagement Sustainability Fund, please contact Andy Perkins, senior philanthropy advisor at SVCF.