Photo by Barrie Kovish

Our Story


1995-1998: Into the Marketplace


1995: Protecting Salmon Habitat & Water Quality. Pacific Rivers Council, founder of the Salmon-Safe project, embarks on scientific research to document relationship between farmland management activities and stream ecosystem health. Work begins on certification guidelines that encourage management practices that enhance or restore the health of stream ecosystems.

1997: Retail Campaign Launch. Pacific Rivers Council launches Salmon-Safe in the marketplace with a press event at Sokol Blosser Winery. More than 7,000 acres are certified in important Northwest salmon watersheds and our public education campaign is featured in 60 natural food stores. Salmon-Safe receives national press attention through articles in Newsweek and USA Today.

1998: Marketplace Expansion. Salmon-Safe's public education campaign expands dramatically with the launch of Salmon-Safe in more than 100 Fred Meyer supermarkets in 7 western states. At a press event celebrating the expansion, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber endorses the project.

1999-2000: Expanding to New Markets


1999: Drinking Wine, Saving Salmon. Salmon-Safe enters into a partnership with the Oregon wine industry's Low Input Viticulture & Enology (LIVE) program. This first joint certification effort is immediately successful as more than 20 new vineyards adopt Salmon-Safe standards.

2000: Expanding Beyond Oregon. Salmon-Safe's agricultural program expands to nearly 30,000 acres of farms, vineyards, and dairies in Oregon, Washington, California, and, for the first time, Idaho. Salmon-Safe is approached by the city of Portland regarding the possibility of a new urban Salmon-Safe project.

2001-2002: Independent Salmon-Safe


2001: Spinning Off as a New Organization. Salmon-Safe is spun off as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Consumers Union, publisher of Consumers Report, publishes evaluation of leading national eco labels; Salmon-Safe receives high marks.

2002: New Alliances Innovative partnership with World Wildlife Fund and Applegate River Watershed Council is launched in southern Oregon's Applegate watershed. Salmon-Safe forms alliance with Oregon Tilth, one of the nation's leading organic certifiers, to further protect wildlife on West Coast organic farms. More than a third of Oregon's burgeoning wine industry now working towards Salmon-Safe certification.


2003-2006: Expanding to the Urban Landscape & Puget Sound


2003: Developing science based urban standards. Salmon-Safe completes our peer reviewed certification standards for urban parks and natural areas. At year-end our independent inspection conducts a week-long certification effort on the city of Portland's 10,000 acre park system. Joint certification programs with Oregon Tilth and LIVE expand on agricultural landscape.

2004: Bus sides, billboards, and more. Salmon-Safe joins with Ecotrust Salmon Nation to celebrate the certification of Portland Parks & Recreation with a public event on the Willamette River and a high profile 4-month bus side and billboard public service campaign that reaches 600,000 Portland-area residents. A major project goal is expansion beyond Portland; cities from Seattle to Ashland indicate interest in seeking Salmon-Safe certification for their park systems.

2005: Introducing the corporate campus campaign. Salmon-Safe certifies the Nike World Headquarters campus to kick off the nation's first certification program linking corporate land management practices and the protection of water quality and an imperiled species. In addition to the project's water quality and stormwater management benefits, the corporate campus campaign will provide important revenue as Salmon-Safe seeks to diversify its funding sources. On the agricultural front, Salmon-Safe will return to California in partnership with Marin Organic to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture in west Marin County, just north of San Francisco.

2006: Salmon-Safe gains momentum across Puget Sound. Seattle-based Stewardship Partners grows Salmon-Safe across the Puget Sound region with 50 farms, dairies, and orchards transitioning to Salmon-Safe practices. Stewardship Partners joins with PCC Natural Markets in the first of a series of Seattle-area bus side campaigns promoting local Salmon-Safe agriculture. On the urban landscape, Salmon-Safe begins to collaboration with the Network for Business Innovation & Sustainability (NBIS) to help deliver Salmon-Safe certification to large institutional and corporate landowners in the Seattle area.

2007-2009: Founding the Partner Network


2007: The Salmon-Safe Partner Network is launched. Salmon-Safe partners from northern California to British Columbia convene for the first Salmon-Safe Summit near Portland. Founding organizations in the Partner Network include Oregon Tilth, Applegate River Watershed Council, NBIS, Stewardship Partners, Marin Organic, Pacific Salmon Foundation, LIVE, and National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

2008: Expanding in Interior Columbia Basin.  Salmon-Safe expands both farm and urban certification programs in the interior Columbia Basin, most notably partnering with LIVE and Vinea: The Winegrowers Sustainable Trust to certify twenty Walla Walla vineyards representing more than half of that valley's wine grape acreage.

2010 and Beyond: New Focus on Urban Site Design & Development


2010: Salmon-Safe moves "upstream" to expand focus to site design & development. Building on our certification of Portland's 38-acre South Waterfront district, Salmon-Safe introduces new programs focusing on site design and development that infiltrates stormwater runoff on-site, protecting water quality and native habitat in urban watersheds. New sector-based certification standards are introduced for golf courses and large-scale residential development with pilot sites in the Willamette Valley and Puget Sound. A pilot accreditation program for pollution prevention in site construction is in development. 



Salmon-Safe founding board chair Peter Paquet, Ph.D., presents a certification plaque constructed from a recycled Oregon highway sign to Portland State University.

Salmon-Safe © 2010