About Don Stuart

Don Stuart has over 20 years of lobbying experience in the Washington, Oregon, and Idaho State Legislatures and in the U.S. Congress. He served as Executive Director for Salmon for Washington, a trade group representing commercial fishermen and fish processing firms (1990-96), Executive Director for the Washington Association of Conservation Districts, a professional association representing local governments assisting agricultural landowners (1997-2000), and Northwest Regional Director for American Farmland Trust, a national environmental organization protecting local farmland from development (2000-2011). 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 Alaska commercial salmon troll fisherman (1962-65, 1980-89), 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 the author of 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), and The Washington Guide to Small Claims Court, published by Self-Counsel Press (1979).

More about Don

Don Stuart helps groups use advocacy and political action to secure public policies 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 initially 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.
  • Defeat of 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 the former Pacific Northwest Regional Director for American Farmland Trust (AFT), a national nonprofit working to protect farmland and assure its environmentally sound management. Don completed several of the above projects working with AFT.  Previously, he was Executive Director for the Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD). Conservation districts are independent local governments which provide technical and cost-share assistance to private farmers and ranchers in improving their conservation stewardship. From 1990 to 1996, Don was Executive Director for Salmon for Washington, a trade association representing commercial salmon fishermen and fish processing firms on public policy and environmental issues. Some of the above projects were completed while he was working there and with Salmon for Washington.

In all of these positions, Don lobbied on natural resources issues working at both the state and federal levels. In 1995 he served as Campaign Manager in the successful defense of a Washington statewide ballot initiative (I-640). In 1996, he ran for the United States Congress in Washington’s 1st District.

Don is also a Washington attorney, the builder and former skipper of a 47′ Alaska commercial salmon fishing vessel, 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, consults on leadership, organizational development, and strategic planning. She is the author of lighthearted mysteries including Survival Can Be Deadly, to be published by Amphorae Press in 2019. Her website is at www.charlottestuart.com.

Don’s website makes available a wealth of research and written materials on agriculture, salmon, natural resources, and the environment.