About Don Stuart

Don Stuart

Don Stuart is a writer of fiction and non-fiction books, a thinker, and a public advocate who worked as a public policy activist in natural resources and the environment for over 40 years of which 20 included intensive legislative lobbying on farm, fisheries, and environmental public policy. He served as Pacific Northwest Regional Director for American Farmland Trust (2000-2011), a national environmental organization that protects agricultural lands and supports their environmentally responsible management. He was Executive Director for the Washington Association of Conservation Districts, a professional association representing local governments that assist agricultural and other private landowners adopt sound conservation management on their lands (1997-2000). He was Executive Director for Salmon for Washington, a trade group representing commercial fishermen and fish processing firms (1990-96).  Don was also the campaign manager and public spokesperson in the successful defense of a Washington statewide anti-commercial fishing ballot initiative (I-640) in 1995 and he ran for the U.S. Congress in Washington’s First District in 1996. Don is also a former commercial salmon fisherman. He worked his way through college and law school as a boat-puller on salmon trolling boats (1962-1965). In 1979-1980, Don and his spouse, Charlotte Stuart (also a writer) personally built a 47′ commercial salmon troller (F/V Nightwings) and fished it in the Alaska commercial salmon troll fishery in the 1980s. He is also a formerly practicing Seattle trial attorney (1972-79), and was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps during the Viet Nam War (1968-72). His opinion column on fish politics appeared monthly in the Fishermen’s News from 1990-96. He is a lifelong lover of grounded science fiction and is the author of several books, including:

  • Darwin’s Dilemma, published by Quartermaster Press, 2023
  • No Farms No Food, published by Island Press (2022) (the amazing story of American Farmland Trust and its unprecedented impact on environmental conservation and land protection policy in American agriculture)
  • Barnyards and Birkenstocks: Why Farmers and Environmentalists Need Each Other, published by Washington State University Press (2014),
  • Final Adjournment: A Washington Statehouse Mystery, published by Epicenter Press (2017),
  • Suspension of the Rules: A Washington Statehouse Mystery, published by Northwest Corner Books (2021),
  • The Washington Guide to Small Claims Court, published by Self-Counsel Press (1979).
  • He was the originating author of CLEDEX, the Index to Continuing Legal Education in Washington
  • And he has three additional books currently accepted for publication: Censure and Repeal–the third in the Washington Statehouse Mystery series, and Secret Places: A Southeast Alaska Mystery, both under contract with Epicenter Press.

Don also has a YouTube channel which offers informational videos on:

  • Artificial Intelligence and humans – how we will relate in the years ahead
  • Construction of the F/V Nightwings in 1979 – 1980
  • Construction of the Electric Frog, an electric pleasure boat
  • Various other writing and personal projects and undertakings

More about Don

Don Stuart’s research, writing, and public advocacy has helped groups use public education political action to secure successful public policies — particularly those that assure a healthy, sustainable environment while also enhancing economic prosperity for natural resource businesses in agriculture and fisheries.

A few accomplishments:

  • Purchased development rights: Provided targeted education and advocacy to gain the agriculture industry support and then lobbied for legislation that led to creation of a statewide purchase of development rights program for Washington State farmland.
  • Restored salmon habitat: Helped conceive, design, administer, and secure public and foundation funding for a program that made $1.7 million in grants for 37 projects which restored salmon habitat on working farms while also strengthening the farm business.
  • Commercial Fishery Commodity Commission: Conceived of, developed, wrote, and facilitated adoption of the first Washington commodity commission which represented the Puget Sound salmon gillnet fleet, helped them market their catch, and provided the means to conduct costly research needed to prevent harmful “take” of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act.
  • Environmental markets: Helped secure passage of first-of-its-kind state legislation for a landmark study proving the feasibility of markets for environmental services generated by working farms and ranches. Co-authored and published the “Guide to Environmental Markets for Farmers and Ranchers” with American Farmland Trust.
  • Defeated a deeply deceptive anti-commercial fishery initiative: Served as campaign manager and spokesperson for the successful 1995 defense in Washington statewide initiative (I-640) which pretended to be an environmental measure but which was, in fact, a deceptive and self-interested effort to improve the catch of some at the expense of others.
  • Office of Farmland Preservation: Lobbied for and gained legislation that created a new Office of Farmland Preservation for the State of Washington housed at the Washington State Conservation Commission.
  • Salmon harvest selectivity statistics: Developed a methodology for evaluating salmon harvest selectivity in sport and commercial fisheries that helped harvest managers minimize impacts on weak runs while maximizing productive harvests for appropriated fisheries.
  • Integrated Pest Management: Led and helped administer a Pacific Northwest program that provided grants for projects to reduce toxic pesticides in agriculture by improving and increasing the use of integrated pest management (IPM).

Don is also a retired Washington attorney, and was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He holds a B.S. and a law degree from the University of Washington.

Don’s wife, Charlotte Stuart, is the award-winning author of several mysteries, including the recent and deeply moving “Raven’s Grave” from Touchpoint Press (2023) and several delightful lighthearted mysteries including Survival Can Be Deadly (A Discount Detective Mystery) and Campaigning Can Be Deadly (A Discount Detective Mystery), and Shopping Can Be Deadly (A Discount Detective Mystery, 2021), published by Amphorae Press, and Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums, and  Dead Goldfish (A Macavity & Me Mystery), and Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud, and Aphrodite (A Macavity & Me Mystery), Bogged Down (A Vashon Island Mystery) published by Taylor and Seale publishing. Charlotte’s website is at www.charlottestuart.com.

Don’s website makes available a wealth of research and written materials on the artificial intelligence point of view, boat building and fisheries, agriculture, salmon, natural resources, and the environment.