Non-profit

Turtle Island Restoration Network

Website:

www.seaturtles.org

Location:

FOREST KNOLLS, CA

Tax ID:

91-1818080

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $1,890,478
Expenses: $1,669,147
Assets: $3,024,278

Formation:

1989

Executive Director:

Todd Steiner

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) is an environmentalist organization that seeks to protect endangered or diminishing marine life via protection and restoration of habitat and elimination of fishing techniques that have higher risks of “bycatch,” which refers to the marine life that is killed and discarded as a result of direct contact with fishing gear or vessels. 12

Originally founded to restore nesting habitat for sea turtles, TIRN has expanded to a wide range of activities and today is involved in restoring sea turtle habitat, maintaining the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), supporting environmentalist approaches to climate change, eliminating plastics, and alleging seafood hazards to health. 3

Turtle Island Restoration Network has repeatedly opposed the use of zero carbon nuclear energy.  4 5 6

Organization

The Sea Turtle Restoration Project was founded by Todd Steiner in 1989 under the auspices of the Earth Island Institute to end sea turtle killings in Mexico. The program expanded its efforts to protect other marine life and grew until it had a full staff and was able to branch out on its own as the Turtle Island Restoration Network in 1997. 7

Originally founded to restore nesting habitat for sea turtles, TIRN has expanded to a wide range of activities and today is involved in restoring sea turtle habitat, maintaining the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), supporting environmentalist approaches to climate change, eliminating plastics, and alleging seafood hazards to health. 8

TIRN advocates changing consumer buying habits, education, litigation, and advocacy of policies that protect sea life to further its conservation efforts. 9

The organization operates from its headquarters in Marin County, California, with a satellite office in Galveston, Texas. It focuses geographically on California, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and the Eastern Tropical Pacific. 10

Initiatives

Save Marine Species

Originally focused on protecting all six endangered species of sea turtles found in the United States from the impacts of industrial fishing and habitat loss, TIRN has expanded its interests to all vulnerable marine species. 11

TIRN claims to have persuaded Japan to end trading luxury items that use sea turtle parts, 20 nations to require their shrimp nets to contain Turtle-Excluder Devices (TED), and the United States to close to longline and driftnet fishing a total of 250,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Hawaii and California. 12

Protecting Habitat

TIRN, using physical restoration, litigation, policy advocacy, and community education and engagement, works to restore and protect habitats for marine animals. In Galveston, Texas, it monitors beaches for nesting sea turtles, while in Northern California it restores river habitat for Coho salmon. 13 14

September 4, 2020, TIRN, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sea Turtle Oversight Protection filed an agreement approved by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to extend protection for green sea turtles to include their habitat by June 2023. 15

Cocos Island Expeditions

As a fundraiser, educational focus, and research tool, TIRN offers Cocos Island Adventures, a 10-night adventure off the coast of Costa Rica for $5,945. 16

Fighting Climate Change

Advancing a position that climate change is responsible for an increased species extinction rate, TIRN planted 10,000 redwood trees in Northern California and joined the Global Climate Strike as part of the Strike With Us movement. 17 18

TIRN has also published a report examining the impact of climate change on nesting areas from rising sea levels. 19

Opposition to Plastic Use

TIRN advocates for stronger government action, researches microplastics, provides classroom presentations for primary schools, and clears beaches of fishing line—all designed to reduce plastic use, especially single-use plastic items. 20

Opposition to Nuclear Energy

Turtle Island Restoration Network has repeatedly opposed the use of nuclear energy. Nuclear power plants produce no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions, and as of 2021 accounted for 19 percent of American electricity production—the largest source of zero carbon electricity in the United States. 21 An October 2018 proposal from The Nature Conservancy noted that zero-carbon nuclear plants produced 7.8 percent of total world energy output and recommended reducing carbon emissions by increasing nuclear capacity to 33 percent of total world energy output. 22

In May of 2021, Turtle Island Restoration Network was one of 715 groups and businesses listed as a co-signer on a letter to the leadership of the U.S. House and Senate that referred to nuclear energy as a “dirty” form of energy production and a “significant” source of pollution. The letter asked federal lawmakers to reduce carbon emissions by creating a “renewable electricity standard” that promoted production of weather dependent power sources such as wind turbines and solar panels, but did not promote low carbon natural gas and zero carbon nuclear energy. 23

Turtle Island Restoration Network was one of more than 600 co-signing organizations on a January 2019 open letter to Congress titled “Legislation to Address the Urgent Threat of Climate Change.” The signatories declared their support for new laws to bring about “100 percent decarbonization” of the transportation sector but denounced nuclear power as an example of “dirty energy” that should not be included in any legislation promoting the use of so-called “renewable energy.” 24

Seafood Policy

Reduction of overfishing and excess bycatch are key programs of TIRN. The creation of certification programs, warnings of excess mercury, and reduced importation of swordfish caught in a non-turtle-safe manner are some of the ways the organization has addressed the issue. 25

Leadership

Todd Steiner, founder and executive director, is a biologist activist who began his career researching panthers in the Everglades National Park. He then became involved with the environmentalist incubator Earth Island Institute and led its consumer boycott of tuna not caught in a dolphin-safe manner. After a trip to Nicaragua in 1987 to learn about sea turtle habitats, he started a grassroots movement that turned into the “Sea Turtle Restoration Project” in 1989 and later became Turtle Island Restoration Network in 1997. 26 27

Financials

TIRN’s 2019 revenue was $3,171,691 consisting of $1,601,028 in service revenue and $1,558,056 in contributions and grants, including $52,896 in government grants. 28

Expenses were $2,806,030 with salary and other compensation making up $675,194 and fundraising expenses of $157,309. Expenses for restoration subcontract totaled $1,343,332 with research and restoration adding another $269,622. 29

Of total contributions and grants, $792,988, or 51 percent, came from 7 individuals. 30

Total assets at the close of 2019 were $3,603,144 offset by $437,929 in liabilities for net assets of $3,165,215. 31

Government Funding

In 2014 TIRN was one of three groups sharing $525,000 in grants from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program for projects restoring salmon habitat in Marin County. 32

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded a grant of $935,000 to TIRN’s SPAWN program in 2017. 33

References

  1. “Our History.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, March 7, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/about-us/history/.
  2. “What Is Bycatch?” NOAA. Accessed October 28, 2020. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/node/251.
  3. “Our Programs.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, February 20, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/our-work/our-programs/.
  4. “The Science of Sustainability.” The Nature Conservancy. October 13, 2018. Accessed July 25, 2023. https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-insights/perspectives/the-science-of-sustainability/
  5. “Group letter to Congress urging Green New Deal passage.” Earthworks. January 10, 2019. Accessed July 27, 2023. https://www.earthworks.org/publications/group-letter-to-congress-urging-green-new-deal-passage/
  6. Letter from Center for Biological Diversity et. al. to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Joe Manchin, and Rep. Frank Pallone. “RE: CONGRESS SHOULD ENACT A FEDERAL RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY STANDARD AND REJECT GAS AND FALSE SOLUTIONS.” May 12, 2021. Accessed July 25, 2023. https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/energy-justice/pdfs/2021-5-12_600-Group-Letter-for-RES.pdf?_gl=1*1c9h3t8*_gcl_au*MTc3NjM3MTM1Mi4xNjg5OTU1MzAz
  7. “Our History.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, March 7, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/about-us/history/.
  8. “Our Programs.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, February 20, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/our-work/our-programs/.
  9. “Overview.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, November 12, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/about-us/our-mission/.
  10. “Species We Protect.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, January 8, 2019. https://seaturtles.org/our-work/our-programs/species-we-protect/.
  11. “Our History.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, March 7, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/about-us/history/.
  12. “Our History.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, March 7, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/about-us/history/.
  13. “Our Impact.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, March 7, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/about-us/our-impact/.
  14. “Protect Critical Habitat.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, January 9, 2019. https://seaturtles.org/our-work/our-programs/protecting-habitat/.
  15. “Good News: Federal Government Agrees to Protect Sea Turtle Habitat.” Gallup Sun, September 4, 2020. Accessed October 2, 2020. http://gallupsun.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14291:good-news-federal-government-agrees-to-protect-sea-turtle-habitat&catid=150:sun-news&Itemid=600.
  16. “Cocos Island Dive Expeditions.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, March 21, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/our-work/our-programs/cocos-island/.
  17. “Fight Climate Change.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, January 9, 2019. https://seaturtles.org/our-work/our-programs/fighting-climate-change/.
  18. “Global Climate Strike.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, September 17, 2019. https://seaturtles.org/event/global-climate-strike/.
  19. Fugazzotto, Peter. “Deadly Waters.” Sea Turtles , August 2013. https://seaturtles.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/sea-turtles-climate-change-report-final-3.pdf.
  20. “End Plastic Addiction.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, January 9, 2019. https://seaturtles.org/our-work/our-programs/end-plastic-addiction/.
  21. “Nuclear explained.” U.S. Energy Information Administration. Accessed July 25, 2023. https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/nuclear/us-nuclear-industry.php
  22. “The Science of Sustainability.” The Nature Conservancy. October 13, 2018. Accessed July 25, 2023. https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-insights/perspectives/the-science-of-sustainability/
  23. Letter from Center for Biological Diversity et. al. to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Joe Manchin, and Rep. Frank Pallone. “RE: CONGRESS SHOULD ENACT A FEDERAL RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY STANDARD AND REJECT GAS AND FALSE SOLUTIONS.” May 12, 2021. Accessed July 25, 2023. https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/energy-justice/pdfs/2021-5-12_600-Group-Letter-for-RES.pdf?_gl=1*1c9h3t8*_gcl_au*MTc3NjM3MTM1Mi4xNjg5OTU1MzAz
  24. “Group letter to Congress urging Green New Deal passage.” Earthworks. January 10, 2019. Accessed July 27, 2023. https://www.earthworks.org/publications/group-letter-to-congress-urging-green-new-deal-passage/
  25. “Expose Seafood Hazards.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, March 21, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/our-work/our-programs/expose-seafood-hazards/.
  26. Doyle, Jim. “PROFILE / Todd Steiner / Sea Turtles to Salmon, Marin Man Makes Waves.” SFGate. San Francisco Chronicle, January 31, 2012. https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/PROFILE-Todd-Steiner-Sea-turtles-to-salmon-2867772.php.
  27. “Our History.” Turtle Island Restoration Network, March 7, 2018. https://seaturtles.org/about-us/history/.
  28. “Turtle Island Restoration Network”. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). 2019. Part I, Lines 12, 8, 9, 18, 15, 16b. Part VIII, Line 1e. Part IX, Lines 24a, 24b. Part I Contributors.
  29. “Turtle Island Restoration Network”. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). 2019. Part I, Lines 12, 8, 9, 18, 15, 16b. Part VIII, Line 1e. Part IX, Lines 24a, 24b. Part I Contributors.
  30. “Turtle Island Restoration Network”. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). 2019. Part I, Lines 12, 8, 9, 18, 15, 16b. Part VIII, Line 1e. Part IX, Lines 24a, 24b. Part I Contributors.
  31. “Turtle Island Restoration Network”. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). 2019.Part I, Lines, 20,21,22.
  32. “Four Salmon Restoration Grants Go to Projects in Marin.” Newswire, April 10, 2014. https://www.newswire.com/four-salmon-restoration-grants/269870.
  33. “Turtle Island Restoration Network Receives $935,000 to Restore Marin Salmon Habitat near Olema.” California Water News Daily. Accessed October 2, 2020. http://californiawaternewsdaily.com/drought/turtle-island-restoration-network-receives-935000-to-restore-marin-salmon-habitat-near-olema/.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1997

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Jun Form 990 $1,890,478 $1,669,147 $3,024,278 $377,606 N $1,860,254 $9,323 $1,178 $148,322 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $1,482,962 $1,515,364 $2,641,402 $216,061 N $1,460,922 $14,127 $1,268 $223,041
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,500,219 $1,277,309 $2,638,463 $180,720 N $1,481,427 $4,690 $2,544 $167,000
    2015 Jun Form 990 $1,500,219 $1,277,309 $2,638,463 $180,720 N $1,481,427 $4,690 $2,544 $167,000 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $1,831,261 $1,705,888 $2,320,612 $156,597 N $1,668,467 $150,963 $1,458 $167,000 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $733,085 $973,998 $2,230,585 $191,943 N $610,375 $119,365 $722 $89,534 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,981,132 $1,954,489 $2,432,916 $153,361 N $1,686,726 $276,172 $2,076 $139,732 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,790,543 $1,582,857 $2,423,100 $154,513 N $1,288,171 $476,477 $4,274 $116,903 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Turtle Island Restoration Network

    PO BOX 370
    FOREST KNOLLS, CA 94933-0370