Bradley Fund for the Environment

Photo Credit: Nick Bristol

The Bradley Fund for the Environment was a partnership between Sand County Foundation and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

The fund, phased out at the end of 2014, fostered ethically sound and science-based environmental programs as leading-edge solutions to major challenges. 

Over the course of the program, the fund provided grants to 241 organizations in 37 states and 14 countries. 

Funded projects emphasized personal responsibility, created sustaining partnerships, and integrated habitat improvement with economic and human considerations.

Sand County Foundation applied its expertise to choose important projects carried out by trustworthy partners. The financial resources that created the fund were provided by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Success Stories

Non-Regulatory Approaches to Water Quality Improvement

To address the problem of excess agricultural nutrient runoff to surface waters of Midwestern States, Sand County Foundation’s Agricultural Incentives Program leveraged Bradley funds to establish watershed-scale nutrient management projects in the West Branch of the Milwaukee River and elsewhere in Wisconsin. Voluntary pollution prevention has the potential to help cities and towns throughout the country deliver cleaner water at lower cost to ratepayers.

The Fund also provided grants in support of Water As A Crop® to help landowners’ change their mindsets from thinking about water solely as a means to grow something else to a crop with potential value on its own.

Voluntary Air Quality Improvements

The Global Climate Change narrative has been dominated by CO2 reduction targets, carbon taxes, and cap and trade debates. The Bradley Fund focused instead on practical means by which ordinary landowners can contribute benefits to the atmosphere while maintaining economically viable farm and ranch operations. Bradley Fund grants were made to study how private and corporately owned grassland and savanna landscapes can store atmospheric carbon, as well as techniques to quantify the storage for utilization on carbon markets. Partnerships and approaches begun by The Bradley Fund still continue and influence policy and practices.

Private Actions to Improve Rare Species Policies

The Bradley Fund has long sought to improve the way the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented. A key development under the ESA was the use of the so-called “Safe Harbor” provision that shields landowners who protect and enhance rare species habitat from land use restrictions. Several Bradley Fund projects used “Safe Harbor” for landowners. For example, a study conducted by David E. Ausband and Kerry R. Foresman of the University of Montana demonstrates the success of the swift fox reintroduction on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. The reintroduction was begun with a grant from Sand County Foundation’s Bradley Fund for the Environment. As a direct result, the swift fox in Montana was removed as a candidate for endangered or threatened species status.

Download full swift fox reintroduction article.

Bradley Fund for the Environment grantee restoring sturgeon to the Milwaukee River

Riveredge Nature Center, a Bradley Fund for the Environment  grantee, is working to return sturgeon to the Milwaukee River, which they have not inhabited since 1853.