Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

View, Download, and Print the District's 2021 - 2025 Strategic Plan


We often say “we are not your grandfather’s conservation district”. As our landscapes, natural resource concerns and people of Pierce County change, we take pride in evolving our work to offer relevant and sustainable solutions.

Our last 5-year strategic plan ushered in tremendous growth for Pierce Conservation District. We made our program delivery more targeted and aligned to those specific natural resource problems that our organization is uniquely equipped to tackle. From 2016 to today, we added new capacity and programming that includes: our Shore Friendly Program, a regional effort to protect and restore shoreline habitat; additional farm planning staff to expand the support we provide around soil health; climate change mitigation and resiliency programming; and resources for all of our programs to go deeper and have a bigger impact.

In these next five years, our plan is calling for an even more deliberate focus of our programming to not just solve problems, but to bring people together around solutions that work for everyone. As a result of engaging those most impacted by our work - our Board, staff, partners, and community members - in this planning process, we realized the need to critically examine the way our information, communication, and operating systems perpetuate or disrupt historical and current inequities. We are grateful to everyone who put so much thought and effort into this plan, and hope you see your contributions reflected here. No matter what environmental issues are calling us forward, the way we invest in our people and commit to serving our communities is what makes us effective at what we do - this is as much people work as it is environmental work. For this reason, the District commits to more clearly articulating the environmental and people-centered outcomes we desire for each of our nine strategic areas, knowing that the way we define, work toward, and measure success will have rippling effects on our communities.

This plan is our road map to how we will make a difference over the next five years. It is our guide to how we will partner with you and our community. It reflects our values, focus, and desire to be a productive partner in making our communities stronger and healthier. And, it demonstrates our commitment to serving everyone. What’s become clear to us is that, to address complex issues like racial inequities, rapid population growth and development in our region, disappearing farmland, climate change, dwindling salmon and orca populations and public health crises like COVID, we need an adaptive management approach to meet and respond to the challenges of our time - science isn’t enough. We invite you to join us - we know the way forward is together. 


Title: Signature - Description: Ryan Mello's signature                                   Title: Signature - Description: Jeanette Dorner's signature

Ryan N. Mello, Executive Director    Jeanette Dorner, Chair, Board of Supervisors         


Over the course of 2020, Pierce Conservation District strived to engage the many influential stakeholders in our work. Through a series of visioning, future-casting, and workshopping sessions, we completed several feedback loops to co-create a strategic plan that reflects the capacity, needs, and culture of our staff, partners and communities. Thank you to our many partners, including county, city and tribal government representatives, Advisory Council Members, volunteers and residents of Pierce County for your input and recommendations throughout this planning process. We give special acknowledgement to Breanna Trygg of Trygg Consulting and her associate, Amber Huffstickler, for guiding us in accomplishing our planning goals, and the following groups and individuals that contributed to the development of this Strategic Plan:

Pierce Conservation District Board of Supervisors

  • Jeanette Dorner, Chair
  • Cindy Haverkamp, Vice Chair
  • John Hopkins, Auditor
  • Scott Gruber, Member
  • Dr. Brian Sullivan, Member
  • Hannah Febach, Associate Supervisor
  • Don Gourlie, Associate Supervisor
  • Bill Schiller, Associate Supervisor
  • Stu Trefry, Associate Supervisor
  • Adam Reichenberger, Associate Supervisor

Pierce Conservation Leadership & Staff

  • Allan Warren, Communications & Development Director
  • Jayme Gordon, Habitat Improvement & Environmental Education Program Director
  • Kristen McIvor, Harvest Pierce County Program Director
  • Melissa Buckingham, Water Quality Program Director
  • René Skaggs, Farm Planning & Agricultural Assistance Program Director
  • Ryan Mello, Executive Director
  • Selena Corwin, Senior Finance and Administration Director


Anti-Racism: The work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti-racism tends to be an individualized approach, and set up in opposition to individual racist behaviors and impacts.

Clean Water Act (CWA): With final amendments passed in 1972, “the Clean Water Act establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters”.

Climate Resilience: “The capacity of a community, business, or natural environment to prevent, withstand, respond to, and recover from a disruption” caused by climate change.

Ecoliterate: “An ecoliterate person is prepared to be an effective member of sustainable society, with well‐rounded abilities of head, heart, hands, and spirit, comprising an organic understanding of the world and participatory action within and with the environment.

Ecosystem: a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.

Equity / Equitable: A state in which all people in a given society share equal rights and opportunities (from Manza, J., & Sauder, M. (2009). Inequality and society: social science perspectives on social stratification. New York, NY: Norton.). Improving equity is to promote justice, fairness and impartiality in procedures, processes and the distribution of resources by institutions or systems

Key Action: Strategic actions that, if enacted, allow the District to advance toward our desired outcomes. Key Actions are organized by Strategy and are tasks that program staff complete to reach their target.

Key Measure(s): Measures are units that Pierce Conservation District uses to inform, monitor progress on, evaluate and improve its programming and operations. The District tracks an extensive number of measures; Key Measures are those measures that directly correspond to outcomes reflected in this Strategic Plan.

Local Integrating Organizations: Local Integrating Organizations are local forums, supported by the Puget Sound Partnership, that meet regularly throughout the year to collaboratively work to develop, coordinate, and implement strategies and actions that contribute to the protection and recovery of the local ecosystem. 

Long-Term Goal: 2040 Targets that Pierce Conservation District aspires to achieve within the next twenty years. Our Long-Term Goals serve as the “North Star” to which we orient our work.

Riparian: relating to wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams.

Strategy: Structures in place to achieve Long-Term Goals. 

Sub-Action(s): Detailed task(s) that program staff complete under the umbrella of a given Key Action.

Target(s): The measurable result(s) we want to achieve within the next five years from completing the corresponding Key Action or Sub-Action. Targets are included in each Strategy’s table of Key Actions.

View, Download, and Print the District's 2016 - 2020 Strategic Plan