River Network Webinars

Upcoming Webinars| Recorded Webinars

Throughout the year, River Network provides webinars on topics of interest to the river conservation community. River Network Partners can participate in these online trainings at greatly discounted prices (often free for current Partners). This page allows you to RSVP for upcoming webinars, and view those already recorded.

To participate in a webinar, you will need:

Webinars close for registration 1 business day prior to the start of the scheduled training.


What the Waters of the US Rulemaking Means for Your Watershed Work

On March 25, U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released a very important draft rulemaking. This draft rule clarifies which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. As many of you know, Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 confused implementation of the Act and put many wetlands and streams at risk. This rulemaking will fundamentally influence your work to protect or restore your watershed.

In this webinar, you'll hear directly from U.S. EPA staff -- including the Acting Assistant Administrator for Water, Nancy Stoner -- about the content of the proposed rule, important information about the benefits of the rule, and misinformation circulating about the rule. You'll also learn how you can provide comments on the proposed rule. You'll also be able to ask questions about how the proposed rule could help or hurt work in your own watershed. In fact, email us your questions ahead of time to be first in the question lineup!

Presenters: Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for Water, US EPA; Donna Downington, US EPA; Damaris Christensen, US EPA
Date/time: Tuesday, May 13th at 2pm eastern/1pm central/Noon mountain/11am pacific/10am alaskan
Length: 120 minutes
RSVP: Required! Space is limited and preference is given to River Network Partners. RSVP here

Non Profit Financial Management: What You Need to Know so You can Sleep at Night

NOTE: We are sorry, but we have had an overwhelming interest in this webinar series and have now reached our capacity. But, don’t despair, if you wish to be added to our waiting list, please contact Paco Ollervides. If we get your name, name of organization, email, budget size, and names of other participants you want to bring from your organization, we will give you priority next time we offer this training.

• Have you ever lost sleep worrying about making an upcoming payroll?
• Do you scramble at the last minute to put together financial reports for grants?
• Does your budget reinforce your organization’s mission and strategic plan?
• At the start of a fiscal year, are you confident that you will be in the black each and every month?
• Do you know how much each hour of a staff person’s time really costs your organization?
• Do you ever worry that you’ve spent grant funding on things NOT covered by the grant?

If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, … River Network’s new Financial Management training is FOR YOU!…
Presenter: Bill Davis
Date: November 2013-April 2014 -First Tuesday of the month always at the same time:
Time: 10:00 am-11:30 am PST/ 11:00 am -12:30 pm MTN/ 12:00 pm-1:30 pm CST/1:00 pm-2:30 pm EST
Length: 90 minutes each session
RSVP: The webinar will have a cost proportional to your organizational budget. Details will be posted on September 30th.

River Network’s newest offering is a comprehensive Nonprofit Financial Management training offered through a series of six (6), 90-minute webinars. The webinars will cover the following: Balance sheets, Budgets, Income and expense statements, Revenue projections, Time sheets, Cash flow tools, Accounting manuals, and Internal controls procedures.

Click here for detailed description of this webinar series.

Future Webinars:

If you have an idea for a future presentation, please contact Katherine Luscher.


Tribes and 401 Water Quality Certification
Presenters: Scott Bulgrin, Pueblo of Sandia and Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Wednesday, March 19

This session provide an overview of the power of 401 water quality certification in the hands of tribes through the Clean Water Act. The session will address the policy nuts and bolts of trial 401 water quality certification efforts and present an in-depth case study presented by a tribe with their program in place. The case study will share information about how the tribe implements 401 water quality certification, lessons learned other tribes can benefit from, and pros and cons of using 401 water quality certification as a tool to protect tribal waters. Participants will leave with a firm understanding of the basic policy concepts, real world examples and lessons learned, and resources for more information.

Tribes and Water Quality Standards
Presenters: Scott Clow and Colin Larrick, Ute Mountain Ute and Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Wednesday, March 5
Length: 90 min

Summary: This session will provide an overview of tribal adoption of water quality standards under the Clean Water Act. The session will address the policy nuts and bolts of tribal water quality standards programs and provide an in-depth case study presented by a tribe with their own water quality standards program. The case study will share information about how the tribe developed their standards, lessons learned other tribes can benefit from, and pros and cons of managing a tribal water quality standards program. Participants will leave with a firm understanding of the basic policy concepts, real world examples and lessons learned, and resources for more information.

Getting Beyond the Like: Keys to Social Media Engagement
Presenters: Andrea Berry, Idealware
Date Recorded: Wednesday, June 19

Summary: People “like” you, but what is that actually doing to support your organization’s bottom line? We’ll talk critically about how you can move constituents up a ladder of engagement from a simple “like” to actually get them to do something for your organization. Sign a petition, attend an event, join a movement and yes, even donate—it’s possible to get your constituents to do all of these things as a result of social media actions, but it’s not easy. Armed with case studies, industry research and plain old common sense and experience, we’ll work together to recalibrate your social media mindset in order to provide more value and cultivate a deeper commitment.

In this online seminar, you'll learn:

  • How to explore the pyramid of social media engagement
  • Ways to identify how to provide value for your constituents at each level of the engagement pyramid
  • What other nonprofits are doing to succeed in this challenge

An Introduction to Tribal Roles under the Clean Water Act
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Summary: This beginners’ session will provide an introduction to the Clean Water Act and the role tribes play in implementing the Act. We will then focus in on “treatment in a similar manner as a state” and tribal adoption of water quality standards. Participants will leave with a firm understanding of the basic policy concepts, examples from the real-world, and resources for more information.

In the last 15 minutes of the webinar, participants will be asked to identify what topics they would like to see covered in 1-2 possible follow up webinars, and what format they would like to use for those presentations (i.e. case studies, expert presentation, group discussion, etc.). Those webinars will be scheduled for February or March 2013.

Stormwater Discharge Permits
Presenter: Gayle Killam, River Network
Date Recorded: December 10th, 2012

Summary: This will be an intermediate training with some assumption that you understand the fundamental elements of the NPDES Permits. This training is suitable for river and watershed organizations, land trusts, tribal governments, smart growth organizations or neighborhood associations interested in better understanding federal stormwater program requirements under the Clean Water Act. It is recommended that all attendees have also attended the above webinar on NPDES Permit overview.

When stormwater is collected and discharged into waterbodies it is classified as a “point source” of pollution. This collection can be through the stormdrain system or it can be via any “discrete conveyance.” Municipalities of a certain size and other public entities with stormdrain systems, construction sites of a certain size and industrial activities are generally required to apply for stormwater discharge permits and to develop stormwater management plans. If you are interested in better understanding the basic requirements of these permits and some ways to influence them to protect your watershed from the scouring effects of and pollutants in stormwater flows, please join us for this webinar.

What will you learn in Stormwater Discharge Permits?

  • Who is required to obtain a stormwater permit
  • What is required by the permits
  • Tips for reviewing the permits – how to get them, what materials you need
  • What to ask for in the permits and the stormwater management plans

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 101
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: December 5, 2012

Summary: This is a 101-level training, suitable for river and watershed organizations, land trusts, tribal governments, and wildlife or lands groups interested in better understanding the power of one of the Clean Water Act's core programs.

Point sources of pollution such as wastewater treatment plants, industrial facilities, concentrated animal feeding operations or stormwater systems, are regulated under the Clean Water Act’s NPDES program. This program has been fairly successful in reducing pollution from point sources, but there is still a long way to go. And progress relies on active engagement and watchdogging by watershed groups and others. In this webinar, you’ll learn the basics about how the NPDES program works and how you can use the program to protect or restore clean water in your watershed.

What will you learn in NPDES 101?

  • The basics about the Clean Water Act’s main program for controlling point source pollution – the NPDES program.
  • The different types of permits and the crucial elements of those permits
  • An introduction to how to review a permit and how you can submit comments
  • How to be in the loop when permits are issued in your watershed
  • Where to find additional resources to help you build your knowledge

Biocritiera in the Real World: Intermediate Level
Presenter: Susan Davies, formerly of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (now retired)
Date Recorded: Wednesday, March 21 2012
Summary: This will be an intermediate webinar, suitable for river lovers who have a basic grasp of the Clean Water Act’s water quality standards program. If you need to brush up on standards, attend our February 15 Water Quality Standards webinar or take the standards lesson in our Online Clean Water Act course.

This webinar will provide an understanding of bioassessement, biocritiera, and the possible power of those tools in protecting and restoring your watershed. Bioassessements are an evaluation of the biological condition of a waterbody using biological surveys and other direct measurements of macroinvertebrates, fish, etc. Bioassessements both support development of biocriteria and decisions regarding the attainment of biocriteria. Biocriteria are either narrative or numeric expressions that describe the reference biological integrity (structure and function) of various aquatic communities. The reference conditions become the “goal” or criteria for other similar waterbodies, and are used for Clean Water Act regulatory purposes. Our speaker, Susan Davies, is widely recognized as one of the leading experts on biocritiera development and use, and has real-world experience from her work in Maine and beyond.

What will you learn in Biocriteria in the Real World?

  • The fundamentals of bioassessement and biocritiera – and how they can be used to protect your rivers.
  • Examples of how strong biocritiera programs have made a difference for rivers, lakes and wetlands – applying the theory of biocritiera in the real world.
  • Where to find information on your own state's bioassessement and biocritiera programs, and how to understand what you find.

Water Quality Standards 101
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Summary: This will be a 101-level training, suitable for river and watershed organizations, land trusts, tribal governments, and wildlife or lands groups interested in better understanding the power of one of the Clean Water Act's core programs.

Water quality standards are the building blocks for all kinds of efforts to protect and restore our rivers, lakes and wetlands. Water quality standards establish the uses we make or want to make of our rivers (from swimming to trout habitat to irrigation) and set limits for pollutants and other parameters necessary to make rivers safe for those uses. In addition, standards establish policies that help keep clean waters clean.

What will you learn in water quality standards 101?

  • The basic components of standards – designated uses, water quality criteria, and the antidegradation policy – and how they can be used to protect your rivers.
  • Mechanisms for public input and influence in standards development.
  • Where to find your own state's water quality standards, and how to navigate within them.
  • Opportunities for improving standards in your state and around the region – from nutrient pollution control to biocriteria development.

Advocacy 101: How to Build Relationships and Get Results with Decision Makers at All Levels of Government
Presenter: Liz Birnbaum
Date Recorded: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Summary: Effective advocates know that getting their message across to decision-makers requires more than a single letter or meeting; results are based on the development of long-term relationships with decision-makers and their staffs. This webinar will discuss how to build those relationships to get real results for your river.

What you will learn in this webinar:

  • How to prepare for meetings with politicians and government officials.
  • How to structure a meeting to get your message across and lay the foundation for further discussion.
  • How to start the process of relationship-building with even hostile politicians.

The Clean Water Act Through the Biological Lens
Presenter: Bob Adler, Professor of Law, University of Utah
Date Recorded: Friday, November 18
Summary: This summer River Network produced an issue of our newsletter -- River Voices -- with a focus on how to look at the Clean Water Act through a biological lens. That is, how can the Act be better used to protect ecosystem integrity, the physical structure of a system, habitat, flow and all the interrelated aspects that make a system whole?

As follow up, we hosted a webinar to cover the newsletter topics in a format that mixes a presentation from a very well-known Clean Water Act expert – Bob Adler --- and discussion of YOUR ideas and experiences with the topics. Don’t miss this exciting chance to think creatively about one of our nation’s most important environmental laws and to hear how your peers around the country are applying it creatively to protect and restore flows, riparian habitats, and more!

Managing Stormwater in Redevelopment and Greenfield Development Projects Using Green Infrastructure: Economic Factors that Influence Developersʼ Decisions
Presenters: Ed Macmullan and Sarah Reich, ECO Northwest
Date Recorded: Wednesday August 17th, 2011
Summary: Clean water and healthy communities go hand in hand. Urban areas are increasingly using green infrastructure to create multiple benefits for their communities. However, there have been questions whether strong stormwater standards could unintentionally deter urban redevelopment and shift development to environmentally damaging sprawl. Smart Growth America, American Rivers, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, River Network and NRDC commissioned ECONorthwest to address this question. The resulting report, Managing Stormwater in Redevelopment and Greenfield Development Projects Using Green Infrastructure, highlights several communities that are protecting clean water with strong, volume-based stormwater standards and also fostering redevelopment. The findings show that clean water and urban redevelopment are compatible. Ed Macmullan and Sarah Reich from ECO Northwest will present the findings and answer questions. The report is available at www.americanrivers.org/cleanwatersmartgrowth.

An Artificial Distinction: tools for addressing low flow problems under the Clean Water Act
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network's Habitat Program Director
Date Recorded: Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Summary: This intermediate-level webinar will explore ways to better use Clean Water Act tools to protect and restore in-stream flows in our rivers. Our discussion will include tying water quality standards to flow needs, applying the states’ 401 water quality certification power more broadly to flow issues, and expanding creative use of the Total Maximum Daily Load program to better identify and remedy habitat and/or flow-related impairments. Each finding is illustrated with real world examples from the states and includes recommendations for – and limitations to – importing the policy ideas into new states. Participants should have a basic understanding of Clean Water Act concepts in order to benefit from this webinar…bone up with our online course at www.cleanwateract.org.

Charity Lobbying, Session 2 (of 2): Advanced Strategies for 501(h) Electing Charities, Funding Realities & Electioneering Edges
Presenter: Terry Miller, River Network's Financial Manager
Date Recorded: Thursday, June 23, 2011
Summary: This session will assume a basic comfort level with lobbying as a charitable activity, understanding of the 501(h) formulas, "exempt purpose expenditures" and the basic distinction between the two types of lobbying activity (direct and grassroots). In the session we will dig a little deeper looking for opportunities to comply with the rules and maximize available funding, by discussing what is NOT lobbying and what is NOT grassroots lobbying (just direct, which you get more of). Along with these we will discuss certain thought-provoking advanced strategies under 501(h) to maximize funds in an issue campaign, and to reinforce and explore how the 501(h) rules work. We also will cover what the rules are for private foundations generally (some of the "what is not lobbying" applies to them as well) and what their rules are for funding a project with clear lobbying components. Finally, we will touch on when lobbying can become electioneering in an election year and/or how to avoid making it become electioneering.
Who should attend?

  • Program staff needing to understand the basics and reduce fear of public policy advocacy
  • Issue campaigners wanting to maximize activity and not over-state lobbying
  • Finance staff looking for ideas on how to capture costs
    This session will encourage Q&A; follow-up support is available to River Network Partner organizations. The trainer is a River Network staff person with over 20 years of experience on this topic.

Charity Lobbying, Session 1 (of 2): Introduction to Charity Lobbying and the 501(h) Election
Presenter: Terry Miller, River Network's Financial Manager
Date Recorded: Thursday, June 16, 2011
Summary: In this session we will discuss the history of lobbying as a charitable (501(c)(3)) activity and why lobbying is OK, even encouraged by tax policy for public charities? We will briefly discuss the key cases and legislation that got us to the point where we are with regard to the rules for charity lobbying. Then we will cover the key differences between "electing" and non-electing charities - the 501(h) "expenditure test." Most experts recommend that any charity contemplate much if any explicit lobbying should make the election and we will cover why that is. From there we will go in to the 501(h) election details: how to make the election, how to calculate the two lobbying "allowances" under the election and the definition differences between direct and grassroots lobbying.

Risk Management for Nonprofits
Presenter: Susan Smith, Senior Account Executive with Beehive Insurance
Date Recorded: May 18, 2011
Summary: An overview of Risk Management 101. Why does your organization need insurance coverage? Find out who can sue you, and how you can protect your organization’s assets and the assets of your board members. This webinar explores how to assess and contain your risk, and review various topics related to of risk management and the appropriate insurance coverage for your organization and board members. Susan Smith specializes in insuring nonprofit organizations in all 50 states, and has partnered with Great American Insurance Company, to provide a greatly discounted D&O coverage for River Network Partners.

USGS: Resources and Tools for River Conservationists
Presenter: Cory Angeroth, USGS Hydrologist/Chief
Date Recorded: April 20, 2011
Summary: Since the late 1800s, the U.S. Geological Survey has been collecting and publishing reliable, impartial, and timely information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and useable information. The USGS uses a variety of traditional and new medial tools, including social media, to share information and help the public understand how science addresses some of our Nation's most pressing issues. This talk will provide a tour of USGS web pages and show what data are available and various methods of access.

Protecting water quality from federal permitted activities: 401 water quality certification
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Jan. 19, 2011
Summary: The webinar covers:

  • The basic federal requirements of the water quality certification policies, and how those are
    often applied at the state level.
  • Mechanisms for public input and influence in certification.
  • A snapshot of the status of 401 certification in states around the country, with a focus on the
  • Examples of how watershed groups and others have used the power of certification to protect
    wetlands, in-stream flow, and more.
  • Where to find more resources to dive in deeper on the issue.

Using 401 water quality certification on Nationwide Permits (wetland permits)
Presenter: Merritt Frey, River Network
Date Recorded: Feb. 16, 2011
Summary: The webinar covers:

  • The timeline and process for NWP reissuance and 401 certification will be, and how you
    can be involved.
  • What states did with the power of 401 certification on the last round of NWPs.
  • How to advocate for conditions that will be protective of water quality and habitat…including
    sample conditions you can use in your own work.
  • Where to learn more and connect with your state 401 certification process.

Case studies: 401 water quality certification in the real world
Presenters: Merritt Frey, River Network & Dean Naujoks, Yadkin Riverkeeper
Date Recorded: March 16, 2011
Summary: This webinar presents case studies demonstrating the power of 401 water quality certification to address issues from flow to aesthetics to wetland habitat. Examples from all around the country, and the real story of what it takes to use the power of 401 water quality certification in your watershed are discussed.