Impact Stories

The stories below elevate success and achievement from across our membership. Each of these examples goes beyond the ordinary and reveals the power of hope, the value of grit, and the importance of creativity. Taking care of our water and rivers is hard work, whether you are working for change locally, regionally, or nationally. These stories offer innovation good ideas worth sharing. We hope they inspire you.

Local Government and Watershed Organizations Partner for Water Quality Goals

Over the past 28 years, River Network has helped build and strengthen a national watershed protection movement that includes state, regional and local grassroots organizations whose primary mission is freshwater protection.  Through our Strong Champions program, we work to have strong organizations advocate for clean water. By putting into place some key organizational best practices,... Read More

Pine Meadow Ranch Dam Removal

Photo credit (c) Richard Scott Nelson Pine Meadow Ranch is a 200-acre farm located along Whychus Creek immediately upstream from the City of Sisters, Oregon with surface water rights dating back to the late 1800s. The irrigation water for the ranch was previously being diverted from a dam that blocked migratory fish access to 13... Read More

Water Efficiency Education in Alabama

The Cahaba River provides half of the raw water for Birmingham, Alabama’s main drinking water utility, and summer withdrawals deplete its flow. The metro area currently has enough water supply during normal rainfall periods, but the region has been hit with droughts that require rationing. The Birmingham Water Board plans to add water supply to… Read More

South Lagoon Outfall

The Clean Water Act in Play in Mississippi

For many years, there had been significant complaints about Hattiesburg, Mississippi's two sewage lagoons discharging sewage into the already impaired Bowie and Leaf Rivers without regard to public health or the law. In March of 2010, a particularly foul odor had begun permeating the city, affecting businesses and the quality of life for thousands of... Read More

Organizational Restructuring for Success

Under their old organizational structure, Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) had a President/Potomac Riverkeeper, a Shenandoah Riverkeeper, and an Upper Potomac River Manager. After securing the Upper Potomac Riverkeeper (UPRK) Keeper license and going through a transition in Presidents, they decided that they needed to reorganize the organizational structure to better meet the needs of their… Read More

Keys to Fundraising Success

Atchafalaya Basinkeeper was a successful organization, but so much of the group’s time was spent protecting their watershed that very little went into securing their budget from one year to the next. They relied almost entirely on grants, and had little time to dedicate to their members.  Overall they weren’t getting the support that they... Read More

New Approach to Stormwater Management in the Paint Creek Watershed

In 2003, Michigan developed the country’s only watershed-based municipal stormwater general permit. The permit required, for the first time, that cities with populations between 50,000 and 100,000 control stormwater coming out of their systems. Before the permit was finalized, the Clinton River Watershed Council (CRWC) convened the municipalities in their watershed to discuss the upcoming... Read More

Inclusive Community Engagement for Cleaning Up the Duwamish River

The Duwamish River is a 5.5 mile long Superfund site that flows through Seattle's Duwamish Valley, a highly developed urban and industrial center south of downtown. It suffers from a legacy of pollution that has accumulated in the river’s sediments and throughout its food chain. Eighty percent of Seattle's industrial lands are located within the Duwamish... Read More

New Public Green Space in Puget Sound

The Portland-based organization, Depave, recruits and trains community members to safely remove pavement and create new public green space. Depave has removed more than 123,000 square feet of pavement with the help of over 2,250 volunteers from various Portland communities. As a result of this work, each year more than 2.875 million gallons of rainwater is diverted from... Read More