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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ocean River Institute Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Environment, Protection of Endangered Species, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

Mission: The Ocean River Institute's mission is to foster greater personal involvement in conservation, environmental monitoring, and protecting ecosystems by facilitating the grassroots efforts of groups working at local and regional levels.

Results: In 2007, ORI engaged, educated and broadened a constituency in Massachusetts supportive of comprehensive ecosystem-based management of coastal ocean waters. This led to the passing of the Massachusetts Ocean Act in 2008. In 2008, ORI assisted the Virgin Island Environmental Council in a successful court battle to stop unregulated development of BVI’s last pristine salt ponds, mangrove shore, and Fisheries Protected Area. In 2009, ORI educated and mobilized 7,500 ecostewards to demand protections for Cook Inlet beluga whale habitat. In 2010, ORI assisted its partner Sunshine Wildlife in Stuart, FL, to reduce nitrogen runoff pollution following the death of more than 40 dolphins every summer in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon since 2001. In 2011, Martin County Commissioners acted unanimously to reduce nitrogen pollution in the Lagoon with a strong nitrogen lawn fertilizer ordinance. In 2012, ORI partnered with commercial fisherman and fishing advocated and successfully sued the National Marine Fisheries Service to include better, ecosystem-based protections for river herring and shad. In 2013, ORI assisted Falmouth MA in reducing nitrogen pollution when striped bass and a horseshoe crab were found dead from harmful algae bloom. In Florida, Indian River County revoked an earlier decision and passed a strong lawn fertilizer ordinance to reduce nitrogen pollution in the Indian River Lagoon. Rob testified before the Senate Committee to save fish and fishing communities.

Target demographics: 50,000 Ecostewards and EnviroGuardians in the US, UK, and BVIGeographic areas served: New England, Florida, Alaska, California and British Virgin Islands

Direct beneficiaries per year: 15 partnering local environmental groups

Geographic areas served: National/International

Programs: Save Fish and Fishing Communities, Ocean Ecosystem Education and Advocacy, Rebuilding River and Sea Herring Populations, Save Dolphins and Stop Nitrogen Pollution, Protect Rivers and Groundwater, Advance Ecosystem-based Regional Ocean Planning, and Recognize Blue Green Heroes

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4 Kellen3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I would like to say congratulations to Rob and Harper at the Ocean River Institute. I have been so inspired by your work and was thrilled to read about recent clean water victories. The Ocean River Institute has faced numerous challenges in it's time but you two just never let it faze you - and now you're ever closer to protecting Florida's environment and the animals that live within it. Thank you for staying the course and speaking out about these issues. I wish you the very best."
Kellen, San Francisco, CA.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

With the extent of pollution entering the waterways and the oceans of the world through plastics, oil and chemical spills, raw sewage, acid rain and heavy metals from fossil fuel use, the world needs groups that will take the initiative in, not only stopping the pollution, but also in cleaning up the mess that mankind is leaving for future generations. ORI's efforts in this direction have been, are and will be both inspirational and greatly appreciated. The world needs more groups with their dedication and leadership capability. Grant Campbell South Florida Audubon Society Director of Wildlife Policy Conservation Chair conservation@southfloridaaudubon.org 954-812-2613


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ORI was instrumental at helping to organize fund-raising, international petitions and strategies in raising awarenenss about a crucial development in the BVI which would jeopardize a fisheries protected area. The case eventually went to court and we won. couldn't have done it without the tireless efforts of ORI, who continues to raise awareness in protecting the territory. The staff was sensitive and observant, guiding where needed and let others shine, a rare skill. ORI is approachable, sharp, well-connected and experienced. I will work with them again in a moment's notice.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My experience is in ecological assessments and restoration, especially of endangered species. Most notably, stout iguana, red-legged tortoise, greater flamingo, and white-crowned pigeon. See my 2005 book: Island, Fact and theory in Nature (U. Cal. Berkeley).