River Voices: April 2024

Welcome to the April 2024 edition of River Voices. This month we’re sharing our complete collection of litter-free water resources and the impacts our litter programs have had for over 15 years. Plus, meet partners in this work from Minnesota.

We have reached the registration cap for River Rally 2024. To join the waitlist, please submit your information through the registration form and we will notify you as spots become available. The earlier you join, the more likely you will be to get a spot!

River Network-supported litter removal efforts through 2/22/24.

There are over 50 billion pieces of litter obstructing our waterways, neighborhoods, roadways, and natural spaces. River Network has supported our network members in tackling their aquatic litter issues by identifying and implementing long-term, relevant solutions. During the 15+ years of this work, we observed that litter is unique to each community, and solutions must take that into consideration.

Now, explore the resources that were born from this community collaboration!


“[Learning] about “Buy and Dry” and trans-mountain diversions… I saw the delights of recreation and its pressure. This, with the effect of extreme temperatures, drought, and climate changes on our water resources and its uses, were a stark realization that water warriors were needed and I wanted to be one of them.”

We’re thrilled to welcome Cheryl to our team as Healthy Rivers Program Manager, working in Colorado.

Meet Cheryl.


We’ve confirmed the plenary panels for River Rally 2024!

Speakers include Legacy Awardee John Echohawk, and the panels will cover environmental justices and Indian water rights, policy lessons from local leaders, and a special live episode of the waterloop podcast, unpacking how organizations can leverage federal resources for impactful water initiatives at the grassroots level.

Learn more about River Rally.


“Flexibility, adaptability, and active listening are key. It’s about starting with a solid foundation but being open to evolving based on feedback and changing needs.”

Read or listen to this month’s conversation with Kris Meyer and Alex Van Loh of Minnesota organization Freshwater, who discuss the evolution and impact of their programmatic work, community engagement, and environmental leadership.

Meet Kris and Alex from Freshwater.

UPDATE! Our Tapping Into Federal Funding hub now features information on open funding opportunities relevant to the network. Take a look to learn about opportunities for collaborative watershed planning, water supply planning and project design, river restoration, and community support to address environmental and climate justice challenges.

Explore federal funding opportunities for your organization.

We are taking a close look at our image, identity, and voice, hoping to gain a better understanding of how our members and partners feel about us and what it means to be a part of River Network. This process needs your input! We’re using this as an opportunity to reflect on our work, our message, and how we support your organizations, so we’d love to capture your thoughts and perspective.

Complete the 5-10 minute survey and be entered to win a River Network premium group membership for your organization for one year OR a Patagonia duffel bag. The survey will remain open until Friday, April 12.

Take the River Network survey.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Learning Exchange Webinar

April 10, at 11:30a PT / 2:30p ET

This webinar from the Source Water Collaborative will showcase the wide array of technical assistance (TA) available to help eligible partners develop project plans and application materials to access funding for source water protection, including through the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds.

Native Americans in Philanthropy 2024 Annual Conference

April 22-25

The Native Americans in Philanthropy 2024 Annual Conference will bring together a community of leaders, practitioners, and learners at the intersection of philanthropy, Native advocacy, and Tribal sovereignty to collaborate on ways to be involved in the movement to Indigenize Philanthropy.

Register for the Native Americans in Philanthropy Conference.

WaterSMART Grants – Info Session & Discussion

April 30 at 10a PT / 1p ET

Join River Network to learn about two Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) WaterSMART grant programs: Cooperative Watershed Management Program (CWMP) and Aquatic Ecosystems Restoration Program (AERP). Hear from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and local groups who successfully secured WaterSMART funds.

Register for WaterSMART Grants Info Session.

Member News & Tips

NWF Mini Grants for Conservation Events

National Wildlife Federation is pleased to offer mini grants of up to $3,000 to host agricultural conservation events that lead to on-the-ground action! We seek teams that can develop messages and events that use behavioral frames to appeal to farmers not currently implementing conservation practices. Events must take place in the Mississippi River Basin.

All proposals and questions should be submitted to Cassidy Dellorto-Blackwell by April 15, 2024.

Reach out to Cassidy at dellortoblackwellc [at] nwf [dot] org or 734-887-7150 to request the RFP.

EPA Requests Applications for Managing Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program

This grant program will support an array of demonstration and capacity building projects that expand watershed protection activities in healthy freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems. Rather than waiting until a watershed is negatively impacted and attempting to restore it to health, this program seeks to protect and sustain healthy watersheds so they will continue to provide ecological services such as clean water, habitat for fish and wildlife, recreation and protection from natural hazards. All applications must be received by 11:59p ET on May 10, 2024.

Learn more about this EPA opportunity.

$7 Million-Dollar Grant Awarded to the Emerald Trail in Jacksonville, FL

The City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Transportation Authority, and Groundwork Jacksonville were awarded a federal grant of $147 million to design and construct five segments of the Emerald Trail. The award comes via the Neighborhood Access & Equity Program Grant from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) This represents the largest one-time federal grant the City of Jacksonville has ever received. Join us in congratulating Groundwork Jacksonville on this historic accomplishment! We are honored to support their work and count them as a close partner.

Learn more about the Emerald Trail.

What We’re Reading and Listening To

  • 🎧 Color of Water: waterloop’s series in collaboration with Water Hub features diverse experts who are improving understanding and management of water in their communities.
  • 📖 Mirrors in the Earth: Asia Suler’s tender book is a true “nature therapy session for the soul.”
  • 📖 Seek Higher Ground: Tim Palmer’s new book explores the legacy of flooding in America, taking a fresh look at the emerging climatic, economic, and ecological realities of our rivers and communities.
  • 🌐 New Environmental Justice State by State: explore this new collaboration, a law library for community advocates, attorneys, scholars, and policymakers.