ICL protects the air you breathe, water you drink, and land you love.

aka ICL   |   Boise, ID   |


The Idaho Conservation League works to protect Idaho's environment by protecting the air you breathe, the water you drink and the land you love.

We know that the values we hold are shared by many Idahoans, so we work diligently to be Idaho's leading voice for conservation. ICL's goal is to create an informed and engaged conservation majority in Idaho. By building a robust conservation community, we hope to influence local, state and federal policies to ensure adequate protections for clean water, clean air, healthy families and Idaho's unique way of life.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Justin Hayes

Main address

PO Box 844

Boise, ID 83701 USA

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NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

People, and businesses, are continually interacting with the natural systems, advancing new technologies, utilizing natural resources in new ways, or increasing demand for those resources as population grows and societies needs and wants change. Citizens must continue to monitor and encourage public policy sustains and preserves the natural systems we depend on for life as these technologies change and population grows. With climate change advancing, we must also ensure public policies help to reduce and reverse the rate of climate change, along with mitigating impacts of climate changes that have already taken place.

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?

Ensuring Landscape-Level Protection of Public Lands

Guarding against threats to sustainable management of large, connected landscapes is critical to protecting and restoring the ecological function of our public lands and the native plants, fish and wildlife that depend on them. We will secure conservation benefits on public land via collaborative land management projects, support policies and actions that sequester carbon, and keep public lands in public hands. Our long-term goal is landscape-level protections for public lands. To achieve this we will use science, economics and collaboration to guide the sustainable management of large, connected landscapes.

Population(s) Served

Idaho is the river state for good reason. That’s why ICL has a robust water program. We work to make sure our rivers are flowing—which is a lot of work in a state with historic policies saying water left in rivers is waste. We also work to make sure our rivers are clean enough for people and fish to thrive. But that’s just our rivers! ICL also works to protect our groundwater, as that’s where the majority of Idahoans get their drinking water. To accomplish our goals, we use a variety of tools including—but not limited to—reviewing every Clean Water Act permit and every new water right application in Idaho.

Population(s) Served

The extraordinary amount of carbon humans release into the atmosphere is causing the world to warm at an alarming rate, changing weather patterns and the way of life for people and wildlife everywhere. We see these impacts today in Idaho both to our natural world through shrinking habitat and warming rivers, and to our communities as asthma rates increase, searing heat impacts agricultural workers, and energy bills continue to rise. As an Idaho-based organization, we are committed to protecting our communities while reducing Idaho’s contribution to this world-wide crisis. Our long-term goal is to make Idaho carbon neutral. We will accomplish this by helping Idahoans conserve energy and getting our utilities to divest from fossil fuel energy sources in exchange for renewables, encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles and mass transit, and finding ways to reduce agricultural methane emissions and promote the adoption of carbon sequestration practices.

Population(s) Served

In eastern Idaho, the Snake River is a blue-ribbon trout river. As it flows west, the river picks up so much pollution that, by the time it reaches Idaho’s western border, it is so contaminated that the State of Idaho warns people not to let their pets swim in it. Our long-term goal is to make the Snake River across southern Idaho safe, fishable and swimmable again. We will do this by ensuring the enforcement of regulated discharges and reducing the amount of unregulated agricultural surface runoff and nitrate-laden groundwater discharges to the Snake River.

Population(s) Served

Idaho has vast, prime salmon habitat that is nearly vacant because, downstream from Idaho, four federal dams in the state of Washington have made the fishes’ migratory pathway to and from the ocean lethal. The loss of wild salmon to Idaho has catastrophic ecological and economic implications for the Clearwater and Salmon river ecosystems, and the fish, wildlife and people who call the Northwest home. Our long-term goal is to restore ecologically significant, harvestable populations of wild salmon and steelhead to Idaho. We will do this by engaging our partner organizations and grassroots and grasstops supporters locally and regionally to build bipartisan support for wild salmon recovery that leads to legislation that reforms the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and supports removal of the four dams.

Population(s) Served

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.

Dollars donated to support advocacy efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


Context Notes

This measures direct and indirect contributions from individuals in support of annual program work.

Total dollars received in contributions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

Per our current strategic plan, the Idaho Conservation League has two conservation and two organizational priorities. Each of these is supported by a number of activities aimed at achieving the priorities within our varied program areas.

Conservation Priorities
1. Continue to be "Idaho's leading voice for conservation." ICL's conservation successes are based on steadfastly and strategically advancing our long-term goals, like wilderness protection, and on being nimble as we exploit breaking policy opportunities that fit with our strategic criteria. We will continue to work on a broad portfolio of conservation issues that advance our mission and influence.
2. Broaden the base. ICL's power and influence are, in great part, based on the well-established fact that we represent many thousands of people who love Idaho. Our success depends on being able to inform, inspire and empower growing numbers of people

Organizational Priorities
1. Broaden the base. Fundraising is a core strategy for enabling ICL to do business. ICL depends on financial support from many sources. To grow our impact and offset expected declines in foundation revenue, we have to broaden ICL's base of financial supporters.
2. Maintain exceptional staff and board members. Activities under this priority address succession, staff structure, retention and training, leadership among other nonprofits, board recruitment, board support, board structure, and organizational culture.

The Idaho Conservation League uses several core strategies for accomplishing our priorities:

Carrot and Hammer—The Idaho Conservation League will first seek to find collaborative, win/win solutions where possible. Where collaboration fails to yield solutions, ICL will use stronger advocacy including litigation to protect and restore Idaho's environment.

Education and Organizing—Much of ICL's strength is from people who act on and support our vision. We will continue to build our base of support through developing our membership and building a wider constituent base.

Partnering with Others—ICL recognizes the value of other nonprofits, corporations and agencies with shared goals. We will partner with others and provide leadership in partnerships and coalitions to advance our shared vision. In doing so, we will share successes and credit.

Advocacy—ICL will continue advocacy work that advances issues and solutions to protect and restore Idaho's environment. We will empower our members, communities and constituents to act on behalf of the environment in advancing policies and action.

Litigation—ICL will take legal action when appropriate. We will pursue cases of significant importance to protect Idaho's environment, especially situations that can be precedent setting or that are of such importance that ICL must act. Litigation has served as both a catalyst to collaboration as well as an alternative strategy. Litigation must be approved by the board of directors.

Learning Organization—ICL is committed to innovation and continuous learning. While successful strategies from prior efforts will continue to work in many future efforts, we recognize that new ways of working will be required. We will be bold and experiment to advance our vision. In doing so, we will identify lessons learned and incorporate them into our best practices.

The Business of ICL—ICL's credibility as a leader in Idaho is based in part on our being a well run nonprofit. ICL is a respected leader in nonprofit best practices, and we are commonly asked to advise and work with partners to share lessons learned. Professional management of revenues and expenses, human resources, restricted and nonrestricted assets, our offices and more are part of who we are.

Impact Investing—ICL has a growing portfolio of assets—property, endowment, reserve, and climate fund—that totals over $4 million at the start of this plan and can be expected to grow beyond $5 million by the end of the plan. ICL's investment strategies have been conservative and consistent for the last decade. The board and staff will explore ways in which ICL can use invested assets, impact investing, and other means to further ICL's mission. ICL will also be exploring options—crowdsourcing and others—for fundraising.

Founded in 1973, the Idaho Conservation League is Idaho's leading voice for conservation. ICL is Idaho's only statewide environmental advocacy organization engaging such a breadth of conservation values that define Idaho.

ICL has a budget of $1.925 million, 24 staff, and offices in Boise, Ketchum and Sandpoint. We are a leader in developing collaborative strategies that bring together diverse stakeholders, building broad social and political support for environmental protection.

ICL's professional staff and works on a broad portfolio of conservation issues. These include urban open space and landscape-level public land protection; threats to wildland values like irresponsible logging, mining and motorized recreation; toxics, energy, water and air protection; policy measures such as state takeover of public land; and more. ICL's executive director, Rick Johnson, has served since 1995 and was ranked 19 on a list of “100 Influential Idahoans," reflecting the credibility of the organization.

A core strength of ICL's policy work is the ability to remain nimble and open to breaking opportunities. In fact, some of ICL's greatest victories have arisen from being able to move when unexpected opportunities presented themselves. In addition, ICL is known to be a collaborator that successfully works with a wide range of stakeholders, regardless of political party, profession, or ideology.

Our website includes a list a accomplishments throughout the more than 40-year history of the Idaho Conservation League. We are especially proud of our accomplishments in this decade:

• In 2017 and 2018 ICL signed two settlements with utilities and state regulators to place two of the three coal power plants serving Idaho on a path to retire by the mid 2020s while increasing investments in efficiency and clean energy sources.

• Won a court decision against Atlanta Gold finding that the mining company was illegally discharging arsenic from its mine into Montezuma Creek, a tributary to the Middle Fork Boise River. Ruling in ICL's favor, the U.S. District Court held that Atlanta Gold violated the Clean Water Act 567 times in the past five years, ordering Atlanta Gold to clean up its act and pay a $502,000 penalty. The ruling marks the second time that the court has found Atlanta Gold guilty of illegal pollution at its mine. In a 2012 lawsuit, the court also ruled in favor of ICL, finding that the mine had violated the Clean Water Act on 2,000 occasions and levying a penalty of $2 million. In addition to Clean Water Act violations, this latest ruling also found Atlanta Gold in contempt of court for failing to adhere to the court's 2012 order directing Atlanta to comply with water quality laws.

• Won a court decision that pushes EPA to enact the provision of the nation's hazardous waste cleanup law—the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, 1983)—that requires bonding by several industries including hardrock mining, chemical manufacturing, petroleum and coal products manufacturing and electric power generation, to cover cleanup costs.

• In 2015, permanently protected one of America's most pristine and wild landscapes, the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains, as wilderness. In 2017, facilitated the buyout of three grazing allotments in the Boulder-White Clouds region totaling 117,733 acres (82,825 acres in wilderness) in some of the best salmon habitat remaining.

• Organized opposition coalition in response to the Idaho Legislature's proposal to take over 28 million acres of federally administered public lands in Idaho.

• Spearheaded a campaign to make the Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail continuous and accessible by turning lakefront property linking the cities of Sandpoint and Ponderay into public land.

• Worked with phosphate mining companies to dedicate profits to improving habitat in the Blackfoot River.

• Defeated a proposal to burn garbage at the Ada County landfill which would have resulted in tons of toxic air pollution and ash.

• Worked with private donors and ranchers to permanently remove cows from the fragile Owyhee wilderness area.

• Helped effect new rules nationally to deal with the problem of airborne mercury.



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


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • 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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Board of directors
as of 09/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Rebecca Patton

Jim DeWitt

Julia Richardson

Tanya Anderson

Carolyn Coiner

David Eichberg

Jim Norton

John O'Connor

Scott Friedman

Kim Trotter

Margrit von Braun

Bill Weppner

Patrick Bageant

Matt Benjamin

Alan Harper

Justina Gooden-Helton

Megan Dixon

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 9/7/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/07/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • 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 by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • 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 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 measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.