Nominate A River Hero

River Network is accepting nominations for River Heroes! River Heroes are nominated and selected by their peers. To submit a nomination, read the instructions below, and submit the online nomination form at the bottom of this page. Any questions regarding the River Hero Award or the nomination process can be directed to Carly Schmidt at or 720-930-4914.


Each year, up to five individuals are selected as River Heroes and are honored and celebrated at River Rally. Awardees are exceptional due to their significant and extraordinary work related to river conservation and/or water advocacy. Their achievements relate to the key issues fundamental to solving today’s water crisis and expanding our understanding of the evolving social context of water. River Network employees and board members are not eligible to submit nominations or to be nominated. 

Learn more about awardees from previous years.


The River Heroes Award recognizes individuals working for healthy rivers and clean water who: 

  • Go above & beyond the call of duty in their commitment to river conservation and/or water advocacy, 
  • Bring people together to solve water problems related to the key issues, 
  • Seek solutions that are inclusive and equitable, and 
  • Inspire and help others to make a difference. 


The nomination materials listed below must be submitted through the online nomination form by Friday, October 15, 2021. Please do not send any materials outside of those listed below as they will not be used in the River Heroes selection process. The online nomination form requires: 

  1. Your nomination justification, including:
    1. Background information: introduce the nominee with a relevant and brief biography;
    2. Contextual information: describe the local river/watershed in which the nominee works (e.g., size, water uses, unique features, facts), the surrounding community, and/or the water issue that most demonstrates their leadership and success;
    3. Accomplishments: the events, programs or projects for which the nominee deserves recognition; and
    4. Award Qualifications: address the ways in which the nominee meets the River Heroes criteria, above.
  2. Three (3) letters of support from members of the community. Each letter should provide the supporter’s information and describe their relationship to the nominee. Letters of support should address the ways in which the nominee meets the River Heroes criteria and be representative of the community at-large. Letters of support might come from members of congress, local decision makers, key community partners, etc. Letters should be uploaded to the online nomination form on official letterhead as PDF files.


River Heroes are nominated and selected by their peers. The River Heroes Selection Committee is comprised of past River Hero and Compton awardees and leaders in the community. Nominators are ineligible to participate in the selection committee. 


The five (5) 2022 River Heroes will be notified of their award by January 14, 2022. River Heroes will be honored and celebrated during River Rally 2022 (June 4-6, 2022) in Washington, DC. River Heroes will be given time to remark on their experience and achievements during the ceremony. River Hero awardees also receive a hand-made plaque of commendation, acknowledgment in River Network publications, and complementary 1-year premium membership for their affiliated organization.