Izaak Walton League of America

Why is an “angling” group concerned about world population?

At a Glance

Posing as an angling group, the Izaak Walton League of America receives streams of money for a variety of pet environmentalist causes, ranging from anti-energy campaigns to population control.


Founded in 1922 by 54 anglers and named after a 17th Century author, the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) postures as a pro-gun, pro-sportsman organization. But one look at its major backers reveals a “Who’s Who” list of radical, left-wing, environmentalist foundations that have found a conveniently camouflaged group to advocate for their agenda, from attacking energy development to propagandizing about population control issues including family size.


Since the late 90s, IWLA has received over $13 million in foundation funding. Much of this has come from radical environmentalist groups to fund anti-coal campaigns. For example, the Chicago-based, anti-gun Joyce Foundation — Barack Obama served on the board from 1994-2002 — has given IWLA $3.2 million to conduct a variety of campaigns, such as attacking coal power plants in the Midwest, promoting alternative “clean” energy, and pushing for a trading system of renewable energy credits. IWLA has received $4.1 million from San Francisco-based The Energy Foundation for a variety of anti-coal, pro-wind energy campaigns in the Midwest.

The McKnight Foundation has given over $1 million to IWLA for agriculture and Upper Mississippi River issues. McKnight also has funded the radical Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The Minnesota-based Bush Foundation (unrelated to either former President) gave $525,000 to IWLA between 2003 and 2009 for clean-air and wind-power campaigns in the Midwest. The environmentalist heavyweight Turner Foundation has given $520,000 to IWLA.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation gave $712,000 to IWLA between 2001 and 2007 for, among other things, human population control issues. Bizarrely for a group founded by anglers, IWLA advocates “increased access to reproductive health care” on its Web site. IWLA is a member, alongside the Sierra Club, of the “Population-Environment Coalition,” a group that believes “addressing human population growth… is fundamental to protecting and restoring natural resources, slowing global warming and protecting habitat.”

Translation: The fewer people born on Earth, the better for wildlife and nature.

IWLA has also received $425,000 to conduct “sustainability education” from the left-wing William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, $125,000 of which was designated for “international” work. The Hewlett Foundation also has funded Planned Parenthood and the San Francisco-based Tides Center, which along with the Tides Foundation serves as a vehicle for funneling money to a variety of radical left-wing groups such as Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Environmental Working Group.


Cloaking itself as a representative of the sportsmen community, the Izaak Walton League of America works with other environmentalist groups like the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited to create onerous, environmentalist regulations.


Scott Kovarovics was previously with the Wilderness Society’s Natural Trails and Waters Coalition, where he campaigned against ATVs and other off-road vehicles. The Wilderness Society, which was co-founded by two socialists, attacks oil and gas production and has received significant support from environmentalist Hewlett and Packard Foundations.

Mike Leahy, IWLA’s conservation director, is a former regional director for Defenders of Wildlife, which has received, millions from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Turner Foundation, and hundreds of thousands from George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Tides Foundation. Leahy campaigned against wolf hunting while at Defenders of Wildlife.

Bill Droessler, IWLA’s energy program director, previously worked for the Minnesota-based Environmental Initiative and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).