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Many people believe that nonprofit organizations are not allowed to advocate or lobby. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nonprofits like Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex use advocacy, and on occasion lobbying, to help meet their mission of support for the refuge complex and the system of refuges across the nation. Friends are the Advocacy Champions of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Photo Credit: City of Tualatin

During the past year, Friends of Tualatin River NWR have been actively involved in monitoring and speaking out on both local and national concerns that impact our local refuge and the refuge system. At the local level, Friends and FWS Staff at the refuge and regional level have continued to monitor efforts to create a rock quarry on Tonquin Rd in Sherwood, just feet away from one of the few pristine units of our refuge. The Tonquin Road area was shaped by the Missoula floods about 15,000 years ago when an ice dam broke in western Montana and changed the land in the Northwest. Following public comment, the State requested further information from the owners. The deadline for that response is September 30, 2020. Friends will continue to work with FWS to document concerns regarding the negative impacts that a quarry in the proposed location can have on our refuge.

Monitoring the impacts of different land uses adjacent to or around the refuge are important to supporting our mission. As we strive to protect the natural, historical, and cultural, resources of the refuge we are also protecting them for your communities.

“Throughout my Service career, I was continually reminded of the value of friends and Friends organizations, and the important voice they give through advocacy (and yes, that includes “lobbying”) that career Service employees are restricted from doing. Friends are private citizens, and they have all the rights and privileges of citizenship, including the constitutional right to petition their government.” — Dan Ashe, Former Director of US Fish and Wildlife

Resources:
What is Advocacy?
https://bolderadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/What_Is_Advocacy.pdf

What is Lobbying Under the 501(h) Election?
https://www.bolderadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/What_is_lobbying.pdf

Influencing Legislation – Taking the 501(h) election
https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/taking-the-501h-election