Our Story

Our Story_top of page

Since 1988, River Network has been at the forefront of expanding national interest in protecting the waters of our country, encouraging diversity in the environmental movement, and helping engaged community members and local organizations take a stand for their waters.

Explore our interactive history timeline and equity, diversity, and inclusion journey.

How We Count

Our strength lies in connecting river and water champions around the country with each other and to solutions that work, empowering them to make a difference, and expanding their influence. We are the only national organization that serves this specific role related to clean water, ample water, and strong champions. We offer river and water champions one-on-one mentoring and consulting, trainings, conferences and events to strengthen their efforts; convene river and watershed groups for greater impact at larger scales (system, state, regional, national); and increase the implementation of practical water management solutions. Our staff includes scientists, water management and policy experts, lawyers, and others who have a passion for helping rivers and people.

The challenges local river champions face today are more complex than ever before. Over half of the waters in the US are of poor quality and cannot support healthy aquatic life. A growing number of watersheds are stressed because our demand for water is exceeding natural supply. We can and must do more not only to protect and restore our waterways but also to support the local heroes essential to guaranteeing a future of affordable clean water and healthy rivers for all.

boy drinking water at fountain

Our Water, Our Future

Our ultimate goal is to deliver a future of clean and ample water for people and nature in which everyone is guaranteed the right to affordable clean water and healthy rivers. Whether through this website, River Rally (our annual conference), River Voices (our quarterly e-magazine), or the grants and services we deliver, we constantly strive to expand and strengthen our community, our approaches, and our coalitions in order to build this future together.

To reach the future we seek, our solutions must become more equitable and inclusive. And to remain relevant, we must diversify our community and our organizations too. We are committed to the journey this implies and to delivering ongoing exposure to best practices, new ideas, tools and resources for everyone interested in making a difference in their communities and for their waters. Find out more about our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion here.

Where we stand today would not be possible but for the courageous efforts of those who have led River Network during the past 30 years and their many achievements. We are in their debt.