Fighting for a blue-green planet!

aka Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, SPAWN   |   Forest Knolls, CA   |


Turtle Island's mission is to mobilize people in local communities around the world to protect marine wildlife and the oceans and inland watersheds that sustain them. Our work is buoyed by thousands of supporters, volunteers and pro bono professionals, who help us extend our network around the globe. We accomplish our mission through grassroots empowerment, consumer action, strategic litigation, hands-on restoration, environmental education, and by promoting sustainable local, national and international marine policies.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Todd Steiner

Main address

PO Box 370

Forest Knolls, CA 94933 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Sea Turtle Restoration Project



NTEE code info

Protection of Endangered Species (D31)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Public Health Program (E70)

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

The well being of marine species, including sea turtles and salmon, is linked to the well-being and future of all life on earth. Our team works tirelessly to protect and restore marine biodiversity worldwide through hands-on conservation, grassroots advocacy, science, policy and strategic legal action.

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?

Sea Turtle Restoration Project

Sea Turtle Restoration Project: Through our Sustainable Fisheries Solutions Program, we are working to save the critically endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle, which is facing imminent extinction from industrial longline hooks and gillnet fishing fleets. These unsustainable fishing techniques also threaten a host of additional marine species, including Hawaiian monk seals, false killer whales, black-footed albatross, white marlin, and sharks. In Costa Rica and Nicaragua, we are training local community members to protect nesting beaches and eggs, and we are working for enforcement of existing legal protections internationally through grassroots activism and strategic litigation. In Texas, we are educating teachers, students, and the general public about the need to protect sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico, and we are advocating for a permanent Marine Reserve to protect the endangered, but recovering, Kemp's ridley sea turtle.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

SPAWN, the Salmon Protection And Watershed Network, works to protect
endangered salmon in the Lagunitas Watershed in West Marin County, and the
environment on which we all depend. SPAWN uses a multi-faceted approach to
accomplish our mission including grassroots action, habitat restoration, policy
development, research and monitoring, citizen training, environmental
education, strategic litigation, and collaboration with other organizations and

Population(s) Served

Turtle Island leads primary research with volunteer dive research assistants at Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica, an oasis of ocean life. Hundreds of sharks and rays, schools of fish numbering in the tens of thousands and endangered sea turtles surround the island. Our research is setting the basis for better protections at Cocos Island and for a “Protected Swimway” to save sharks, sea turtles and other migratory animals as they swim throughout the region.

Learn how to join a Cocos Island Research Expedition today to help study, tag and track sharks and sea turtles with leading environmentalists at Cocos Island. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Population(s) Served

Our oceans are home to array of amazing marine wildlife – from sperm whales to spinner dolphins, from black-footed albatross to dugongs. Turtle Island Restoration Network fights to protect marine mammals and sea birds from industrial fishing, habitat loss and other threats. Join us in our campaigns to protect marine wildlife.

Population(s) Served

Globally, shark species are facing steep declines in many populations. Indiscriminate industrial fishing has reduced the biomass of large predators such as tunas and sharks by up to 90 percent since the 1950s. Turtle Island is working to protect shark populations by reducing the capture in industrial fishing operations, challenging the shark fin trade, and conducting research to develop the scientific basis for protected areas and policy change.

Population(s) Served

In the United States, we are at a crossroads in the fight to defend sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and all the ocean wildlife we love. After nearly a decade of increasing protections from the landmark Paris Climate agreement, to the creation of the largest marine conservation area in the world, we are now facing a political wind that does not prioritize the environment.

Turtle Island is actively fighting to save marine species and the oceans. Cornerstone laws and regulations form the basis for protecting endangered species like sea turtles and preventing their extinction. These tools are effective, compel science to be used in making decisions, and provide opportunities for public involvement.

Population(s) Served


Population(s) Served

Where we work

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.

We aim to raise awareness about the vital balance between life in oceans and on land. This is a critical step toward changing people's understanding, attitudes and behaviors with regard to biodiversity. We work to inspire people will recognize their responsibility to advocate on behalf of sea turtles, salmon and other marine species that are gravely threatened by commercial, cultural and individual human practices around the world.

Ultimately, our goal is to recover populations of endangered marine wildlife including sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and wild salmon, and to protect the habitats that they need to survive.

We use grassroots action, science, policy and litigation to make this happen. We empower people in communities near and far with the knowledge, capacity and power to protect and preserve marine species through direct participation as active, informed and vocal advocates.

As a leading force for the protection and recovery of sea turtles and a wide array of marine wildlife since 1989, Turtle Island Restoration Network has demonstrated the effectiveness, persistence and long-term commitment necessary to help endangered marine wildlife species recover. Our executive director is a leader in marine conservation, and each member of our team brings deep skills in conservation, advocacy and education. Our board leadership contributes their experience in law, marine science, community leadership and education, as well as providing financial support and serving as ambassadors. The work to regenerate these vulnerable species must span decades, and Turtle Island has demonstrated our commitment to carry this out. We have diverse funding streams for our programs that help ensure organizational health. We have received the top, 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator based on financial effectiveness and transparency.

Saving Species
- Shut down a Mexican sea turtle slaughterhouse to save 50,000 sea turtles annually and convinced Mexico to end all legal slaughter of turtles. Convinced Mexico to join the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
- Forced Japan to end its illegal trade in endangered sea turtle parts of luxury items.
- Rescued 15,000 coho and steelhead trout from certain death since 1990.
- Stopped BP from burning endangered Kemp's ridleys, other sea turtles and marine wildlife during oil spill cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Transformed a salmon-blocking dam into a series of salmon jump-pools with other nonprofits, businesses and individuals.
- Mobilized the public to prevent a proposal to re-open the hunting of Hawaii's iconic green sea turtle.
- Began and supported nesting beach programs in Central America that prevented egg poaching resulting in more than 1 million additional sea turtle hatchlings.
Changing Laws and Policies
- Compelled 20 nations to adopt rules that make shrimp nets safer for sea turtles by requiring Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs).
- Closed down 250,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean to the Hawaii longline swordfish fishery and the California driftnet fishery to protect sea turtles and marine mammals.
- Closed California longline fishery to prevent leatherback mortality.
- Compelled first federal “hard caps" for incidental turtle capture. As a result, the Hawaii longline fishery must close for season after cap is reached.
- Convinced then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to establish a 100-mile long time-area shrimping closure in South Texas near prime turtle nesting beaches.

Hands-on Conservation
- Restored over 100,000 square feet of crucial creekside habitat for wild coho salmon through native plantings, bank stabilization, and floodplain restoration.
- Tagged 150 sharks with acoustic telemetry and 72 green and two hawksbill turtles to collect data to win an international migratory swimway in the Pacific.
- Grew more than 50,000 native plants in our two community-based nurseries to provide better habitat for endangered coho salmon.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

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

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, 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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, 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



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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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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 10/17/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Brock Cahill

SeaChange Agency

Term: 2022 - 2025

Todd Steiner

Turtle Island Restoration Network

Randall Arauz


Deb Castellana

Mission Blue

Carole Allen

HEART - Help Endangered Animals - Ridley Turtles

Teri Shore

Gail Yamamoto Seymour

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (retired)

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 ? No
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/17/2022

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
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/17/2022

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 analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • 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 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 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.