Finding the balance between sustainable practices and economic consciousness.

Protecting the future of the West requires more than engaging in environmental initiatives — we must understand the economic challenges that face our communities, and discover new ways of managing the many natural resources this region provides. Preserving these resources ensures a healthy link between the land, the economy, and the communities that live here.


Creating Solutions

Renewable Energy

While the West faces certain unique challenges, it’s also posed with equally unique opportunities. Renewable energy is one of those opportunities. For the Sonoran Institute, supporting these alternative energy initiatives only makes sense — it creates a more sustainable energy solution for communities, protects valuable lands and natural resources, and promotes healthy economic growth.

From transmission planning to solar, the opportunities are endless. We work with solar providers and land managers to mitigate the impact on the natural environment while maximizing the potential for low-conflict siting of transmission lines and infrastructure. We see the West as key to a renewable energy future, and we’re proud to be a part of its success.

Military Mission Preservation

The Sonoran Institute has a long history working with the military to plan for and preserve the land needed for military bases. We help ensure that military lands are protected from increasing threats of encroachment and help community leaders anticipate the potential impacts future planning may have on these installations. In Arizona alone, this is helping protect a $9 billion economic driver.

In 2012, our efforts helped pass Prop 119 which allows Arizona to address incompatible uses encroaching on military bases through the trade of state trust land for federally owned land. Just another way we’re supporting the communities and environments of the West.

California Mining

Balancing economic and environmental efforts is a major part of what we do at the Sonoran Institute. This careful balance was epitomized in the California Mining Report we released in fall of 2015.

By examining the impact of California mining on the local economy, and weighing that against he benefits of conservation efforts, our report helped pave the way for the proposed California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act (CDCRA).


Success Stories

Dive deeper into stories of how we have successfully used your support to help communities asses the value of preserving their natural resources.

Bringing Blue Sky to the California Desert Protection Debate

We develop tools & information for communities to better understand what’s driving their local economies and for public land managers to assess the relative benefits of protecting or developing these lands. Our work underscores that protecting public lands is important economic development strategy. The California Desert is our most recent success.

Phoenix’s West Valley
Protecting the Crown Jewel of Phoenix’s West Valley

Helping establish the White Tank Mountains Conservancy builds on our long tradition of incubating new community conservation organizations – now more than 2 dozen that have conserved more than 145K acres of public & private lands, and raised more than $206 million – dedicated to protecting local natural and cultural resources.


Challenges For Our Resources


Supporting a clean, safe and reliable future. Clean. Renewable. Safe. These are energy concerns for any growing community, especially the West. It’s vital to our survival that we establish healthy energy practices, and…

Growth and Infrastructure

Growth is a good thing, right? Absolutely, especially when talking about the communities and economies that continue to flourish in the West. However, successful and sustainable…

The Colorado River Basin

Protecting the life source of the West has never been more important. Water is life. And there’s no better example of this than the West. Water is the source of community development, agriculture…

Extreme Climate Events

Leading communities to successful futures through up-to-date climate research. From droughts to floods to forest fires, the West is not immune to…


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