River Voices: April 2020

Welcome to the April 2020 edition of River Voices with a focus on our organizational development work and how the nationwide network of water protectors is supporting each other through the COVID-19 crisis. Plus, read our join statement with American Rivers on watershutoffs and public health.

Close up of rocks and trees in a river bed

For over 30 years, River Network has worked to provide guidance and support on organizational development needs through a diverse set of tools that address a variety of administrative and leadership topics. Read about this work from our Mid-Atlantic Leadership Development Manager, Brenna Goggin, and explore this month’s full issue below for resources and tools specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a network we are here for each other, lifting each other up in times of crisis.

Read more.


Meet Colleen Walters, River Network’s new Delaware River Basin Program Manager. Colleen has spent her career working to find solutions for the country’s water issues, from water quality in the east or water availability in the west.

Learn more about Colleen’s work.


Join us for Virtual River Rally! Our engaging and fun virtual program will run for three weeks (5/18 – 6/7). Each week will feature ‘live’ content including plenaries, workshops, and discussions, along with more informal social opportunities to connect.

Explore the virtual program and register.


As the world responds to COVID-19, many organizations are transitioning to remote work, cancelling or postponing events, wondering how to remain inclusive and equitable, and dealing with new anxiety and stress. We’ve compiled resources on these topics and more.

Explore resources.

Equitable Water Infrastructure in the COVID-19 Crisis

“While COVID-19 is exposing some of the inequities related to water and health, they’ve been with us for a long time and have deep historical roots.” In our recent blog post, read more on the impacts of disparities in water infrastructure related to race and income and share your thoughts about equitable infrastructure investment.

Read more.

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable man washing his hands in the bathroom at home

We are told the number 1 way to protect ourselves during the COVID-19 crisis is to frequently wash our hands, but what if you don’t have running water in your house? Please take action today and ask your governor to mandate all water providers stop water shut-offs immediately and restore service to homes where water service has been shut-off (or thank your governor if they have already done so!).

Take action.


Catherine is founding director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice. Catherine founded the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise to address the root causes of poverty in Alabama. An internationally recognized advocate for the human right to water and sanitation, she works tirelessly to promote sustainable initiatives that strengthen families in rural and impoverished communities.

Meet Catherine.

Building Relationships Between Local Community Groups and Water Systems

We’re excited to team up with WaterNow Alliance on a this new project. Together, we’re looking for teams of water systems and community groups who have built strong relationships. We’ll learn from and amplify these stories and synthesize the findings to create a set of “best practices.” If this sounds like your group and something you’ve achieved – please join us!

Read more.

Events & Learning Opportunities

Smart Strategies for the Virtual Workplace Webinar Series

4/3, 4/24, 5/8; 12:15pm EST
Drawing on 16 years of experience in supporting organizations, senior leaders, and leadership teams, this webinar series from the Nebo Company offers strategies to refocus, redefine, and rethink how work gets done in the virtual workplace. We will examine strategies for connection, teamwork, trust, resilience, and productivity that can strengthen culture and commitment.

Learn more and register.

Closing the Deal from Water Words That Work

April 8, 2pm EST
Learn the tricks of the trade from the most successful conservation field experts. Where do they excel and set themselves apart from the rest? To answer that question, presenters surveyed and interviewed more than 100 ace field staff working on voluntary conservation measures in four states. Hear about their findings and receive tips to help you reach more forest and farm landowners more successfully.

Register here.

Water Is Life – A New Weekly Webinar Series

Tuesday April 14, 12pm CST
Alabama Rivers Alliance invites you to join them for a virtual get-together…with a purpose! They’ll be highlighting the role that water plays in lives throughout Alabama and sharing how you can participate in the efforts to protect water, even in this new “normal.” You’ll hear from their partners across the state and leading experts in water protection. They’ll even have a few river history lessons thrown in!

Register here.

Water Quality Monitoring Ask Me Anything – Facebook Live

Wednesday April 8, 2pm EST
Tune into Facebook Live on April 8th to join Liz Chudoba, the Alliance’s Director of Water Quality Programs, give a general overview on water quality monitoring, the equipment needed, and general parameters. Learn about the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative, ask questions and learn how to get involved!

Join here.

Member News and Tips

As members throughout the network and beyond respond to the COVID-19 crisis, we are addressing a specific key issue at the heart of our core values and the fight against this pandemic: access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water. Join our newest group to share and receive pertinent updates on the fight to halt water shutoffs and restore water access during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our first call is scheduled for April 7.

Sign up here.

Partners for Places Grants Now Due by May 6

The Partners for Places program is offering mini grants in the range of $7,000 to $10,000 to help local governments, foundations, and frontline community-led group(s) build relationships, align around project ideas, and develop a proposal that centers on racial equity in water, sustainability, and/or climate action work. The deadline has been extended to May 6, 2020.

Learn more and apply.

Supporting Women in Environmental Justice

Eileen Fisher is inviting applications for its Supporting Women in Environmental Justice grants program. $200,000 is available in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 for groups that increase women’s participation in decision-making, train women and girls in climate change resiliency, and engage women in the sustainable economy.

Learn more and apply.

National Environmental Education Week (EE Week)

Hosted by the National Environmental Education Foundation, EE Week is the nation’s largest celebration of environmental education. This year, it will take place from April 20-24. Visit their Greening STEM Hub for the resources you need for high-quality STEM education by tackling real-world challenges and engaging students with the natural environment.

Learn more.

What We’re Reading

ReplenishRiver Network board member Sandra Postel’s new book takes readers around the world to explore water projects that work with, rather than against, nature’s rhythms.

Wild Comfort – “How should a person live in a world that erupts catastrophically, sliding down and down?” Kathleen Dean Moore’s essay collection is both a reflection on the comfort we find in wild spaces and a profound meditation on the healing power of nature.

Artists Unite for a Green New Deal – Explore new resources from the US Department of Arts and Culture on the Green New Deal, creative ways to get involved, and inviting others to help bring the more just world we know is possible into being.

Lead Pipes and Environmental Justice – A new report from the Environmental Defense Council explores lead pipe replacement in Washington, DC.

Support a Strong Network

You can “Support a Strong Network” TODAY by donating to provide support for local leaders working tirelessly for rivers and other waters in communities across the country. Your gift will be matched 1:1 now through April 30thdoubling your impact – and will help provide two years of member benefits to small grassroots water protectors that most need the tools, training, and resources we provide.