Press Release

Izaak Walton League of America, 2020 Annual Report


While the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on our work, it did not prevent the Izaak Walton League from achieving remarkable wins in 2020—in Congress, in the field and at chapters nationwide.

Participation by volunteers in our conservation programs increased as our national staff kept all our programs moving ahead even as we transitioned to remote work. Across the board, League staff, chapters, members and supporters achieved significant progress during the year. Some highlights from our 2020 annual report are below. The full 2020 annual report for the Izaak Walton League is here.

Policy and advocacy pay off

The League’s commitment to effective advocacy paid off with the historic 2020 vote in Congress to give the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent status and full funding. Brainstorming by League Conservation Director Joe Penfold in the 1950s sparked the idea for LWCF, which was signed into law in 1964. The basic idea was simple: take a thin slice of public offshore drilling revenues and use the dollars to conserve natural areas for recreation and wildlife.

Clean Water volunteers step up during pandemic

Local authorities typically don’t have the resources to conduct the monitoring and data collection needed to ensure that waterways and the sources of our drinking water are clean. Through a variety of programs, the League is pioneering collection and organization of information about water quality. Innovative programs help a growing number of Americans to better understand what’s at stake and, importantly, how to take action to stop water pollution in their communities

Combatting climate change through better agriculture

About 55 percent of the land in the lower 48 states is used for agriculture, and those places hold enormous promise for capturing and retaining carbon dioxide, the key climate-warming greenhouse gas. Practices that improve soil health, like planting cover crops and rotating areas for cattle grazing, can greatly increase the amount of carbon that soil is able to store. As the League leads the push for soil conservation, two of our ideas were included in federal agriculture and climate change legislation introduced in Congress in 2020.

Conservation for the nation’s longest river

The League staff continues to work to secure funding for the federal Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Project, which authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to acquire land or easements from willing sellers in the Missouri River’s floodplain. These acquisitions would improve water quality, increase self-sustaining fish and wildlife populations and expand recreational opportunities.

The need to get outdoors boosts membership

Because many Izaak Walton League chapters own property for outdoor recreation, some saw substantial membership growth. Overall, the League achieved 3.6 percent growth and its highest membership numbers since 2016. The pandemic reminded us about the wealth of recreation and natural resources we enjoy in outdoor America.

Through advocacy for sound policy and volunteer stewardship, the Izaak Walton League of America will keep working to ensure that future generations—across all sectors of our society—can also enjoy these opportunities and our natural heritage.

Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America is one of the most effective conservation organization in the US with a long legacy of pioneering achievements in policy and law affecting clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, agriculture and outdoor recreation.  A brief history of the Izaak Walton League is here. 

Contacts: Michael Reinemer, Communications Director, 

    • Conservation