AUSABLE RIVER ASSOCIATION INC

Inspiring Responsible Stewardship

aka Ausable River Association   |   Wilmington, NY   |  www.ausableriver.org

Mission

Helping communities protect our streams and lakes.

Ruling year info

1999

Executive Director

Kelley Tucker

Main address

PO Box 8

Wilmington, NY 12997 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

14-1809764

NTEE code info

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (C05)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The clean, clear water, healthy streams, and rich habitats of the Ausable River, its tributaries and its lakes are essential to the communities – human and wild – that call the watershed home. While its headwaters and significant sections of the East and West Branches benefit from various protections at the state level, the river, nonetheless, faces challenges. Many of the threats to water quality, stream stability, and native wildlife have roots in past industrial practices, others are the result of present day development and management practices.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Water Quality Monitoring

The Ausable River Association (AsRA) believes that replicable, science-based water quality monitoring broadens our understanding of and ability to respond to three threats to the watershed: road salt, phosphorus, and climate change. Water quality monitoring is essential to understanding these challenges, developing plans to mitigate them, establishing goals, and evaluating and quantifying progress.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

At AsRA, we believe that healthy streams with shaded, cool waters, ample floodplains, and self-regulating flows are essential to sustaining ecological diversity and thriving communities. We replace undersized culverts, allowing streams to run free under roads. We also repair eroding banks, reconnecting streams to their floodplains, and reestablishing natural variations in stream slope, pattern, dimension, and roughness - restoring balance and resilience.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Ausable River Association (AsRA), with funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, created the river steward program in 2009 to educate river users about the threat of aquatic invasive species. Since then, the work of the river steward has broadened to include terrestrial invasive species that also affect the Ausable River and its lakes. The river steward is an information resource to river users and the general public, educating and creating awareness, helping people to identify infestations when they happen and to mitigate their spread.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

River Steward

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Anglers and other watershed users educated about aquatic invasive species.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Clean Water: Streams, lakes, wetlands, and aquifers
capable of supporting a full complement of human and
ecosystem needs.
Healthy Streams: Shaded, cool waters, with ample
floodplains and self-regulating flows sustaining ecological
diversity and thriving communities.
Biodiverse Habitats: Habitats and ecosystems fostering
native plant and animal species in and alongside streams,
lakes, and wetlands.
Enjoying our Waterways: Responsible, low-impact
recreational opportunities protective of Ausable waterways
and adjacent lands.
Engaged Communities: Informed residents and visitors
caring for the health of the watershed where they live,
work, and play.
A Voice for the River: A strong, sustainable Ausable River
Association working in partnership to achieve shared
goals.

None of these challenges, however, are insurmountable. Thanks to the creation of the Ausable River Association (AsRA) in 1998, the health of the river has been a topic of conversation, study, and action among residents, business owners, and visitors to the region. AsRA’s staff expansion beginning in 2014 has increased the application of up-to-date scientific and technical knowledge to advance watershed issues, improved access to public funding resources, and created rising public enthusiasm and engagement to protect and restore the river, it’s lakes, streams, and wetlands.
With careful planning, the scientific collection and assessment of data, and working side-by side with landowners, local, state, and federal government, NGOs, researchers, residents and other stakeholders, AsRA’s programs identify and address many of the key threats. We protect the clean waters, natural hydrology, diverse ecology, and scenic beauty of the Ausable and we inspire and provide knowledge for others to cherish and protect our watershed.

Since 1998, AsRA has been working cooperatively with landowners, municipalities, and government agencies to conserve the valued resources of the Ausable watershed. Originally, AsRA comprised representatives from each of the seven watershed townships and its work done by a mix of volunteers and project specific grants.
In 2007, AsRA began working with limited support from the NYS Department of State (NYS DOS) with the intention of laying the groundwork for a watershed management plan. Subsequent NYS DOS grants in 2010 ($30,000) and 2012 ($225,000) supported demonstration restoration projects, culvert restoration efforts, AsRA’s response to Tropical Storm Irene, and the development and release of the 2016 Ausable River Watershed Management Plan. These grants also funded the development of a dedicated water quality testing program and the hire of a full-time professional science position. NYS DOS funds continue to support the organization with grants awarded in 2014 ($45,000), 2015 ($70,000), and 2016 ($140,000). Over the same period, AsRA’s board of directors revised the organization’s bylaws and increased commitments to staffing. Staff has expanded communications, information sharing, and community presence both through program work and through updated branding across media and materials.
AsRA has evolved into a professionally staffed, non-profit organization whose members are engaged citizens who live, visit, recreate, and make their living across the watershed. It is supported primarily by public and private grants, as well as private donations from members and supporters. Membership remains small – no more than 250 paid members on a 14-month cycle – and is an area where growth over the next several years is essential.

In December of 2017, AsRA’s Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan – advancing our organizational mission to help communities protect our streams and lakes. The
intensive planning effort began in late 2015 with a series of staff and board meetings to define the scope and purpose of planning. We included feedback from community members through informal one-on-one conversations. This conceptual phase led to a focusing of AsRA’s mission, vision, and organizational goals, development of a framework for a planning document, followed by several months of drafting and revising.
The result is a five-year flexible plan that guides AsRA’s staff and board, redefines programs, and lays out
a strategic staff expansion. Our goal is to enhance our capacity to serve our communities and protect the waters of the Ausable watershed by building added efficiency, credibility, and strength in our work. Specifically, the new strategic plan strengthens our current science, technical, and education programs that our communities rely on and trust, by shifting more staff time to these core goals: clean water, healthy streams, engaged communities. It expands our commitment to protect near and instream habitats and the native wildlife that depend on them – creating a new staffed program to protect biodiverse habitats, focusing first on native brook trout and other vulnerable species. And it identifies two additional hires in the short to mid- term: a full-time communications manager to plan, design, and implement communications and marketing strategies that elevate the goals and programs of AsRA, increasing public awareness, and expanding AsRA’s member,
donor, and volunteer base; and a part-time finance and operations director supporting AsRA programs including: organizational bookkeeping, financial strategy, grants tracking, contract compliance, and more. It also refines the committee structure of our talented volunteer board.
Our communities, our members, colleagues and donors, and the hundreds of people our program work directly affects every year inspire us to ensure that our work is efficient and effective. You can view our priority action and our full plan on our website under the About Us tab.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve residents, visitors, and citizens who live, work, and play in the Ausable and Boquet watershed. We work cooperatively with landowners, municipalities, and government agencies to conserve the valued resources of the Ausable watershed.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    While conducting a river restoration project, it was brought to our attention that some township land owners were unclear about the plans and process of our project. Upon soliciting their individual feedback, we coordinated with the town leadership to hold a public meeting to share project plans, explain the "whys" behind the project's rationale, and answer any applicable questions.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Through careful planning, the scientific collection and assessment of data, and working side-by side with landowners, local, state, and federal government, NGOs, researchers, residents and other stakeholders, the Ausable River Association's programs identify and address many of the key threats in the watershed. This allows us to to understand these challenges and threats, develop plans to mitigate them, establish goals, and evaluate and quantify progress.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

AUSABLE RIVER ASSOCIATION INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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AUSABLE RIVER ASSOCIATION INC

Board of directors
as of 8/10/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Liz Clarke

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/10/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/07/2019

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.