River Voices: August 2020

Welcome to the August 2020 edition of River Voices. This month, we’re looking at the many different ways businesses are getting involved in local water protection and helping empower groups across the network. We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts on topics for our fall Roundtable series and how your organization is working at the intersection of healthy rivers and agricultural landscapes.


Creative approaches and exciting initiatives are popping up all over the network as local groups pivot their programs in response to COVID-19. At River Network, we knew there had to be a way to continue engaging communities in caring for their rivers even though we couldn’t host traditional group river cleanups. Thanks to the support of the Ball Foundation, known for their infinitely recyclable aluminum packaging, we were able to explore a creative new approach through our virtual campaign, “Masks on, Litter Gone.”

Read more.


Meet Mikhaela Mullins, River Network’s Science & Policy Program Associate. Based in Denver, CO, Mikhaela comes to River Network with experience in sustainable agriculture, implementing community and environmental public health programs, leading programmatic evaluation efforts, and planning and facilitating professional development workshops.

Meet Mikhaela.


We’ve given the Business for Water Stewardship Project Bank page a refresh! If you have on-the-ground restoration projects that will restore river flows and/or recharge ground water and would like to share these with businesses who may be interested in providing support, check out the new page and join or renew your premium membership to submit your project.

Learn more.


“This was the first virtual cleanup event we’ve ever done. The experience was brand new to us. What I noticed personally was that this experience changes the way you think about litter.” Cecilia Riviere, with Rio Reimagined, discusses the “Masks on, Litter Gone” cleanup events, supported by Ball, in July. Hear how it went and learn about her work.

Meet Cecilia.

New Aquatic Litter Toolkit Is Ready to Use!

Waste in Our Waters: A Community Toolkit for Aquatic Litter Removal is a step-by-step guide for addressing litter in your community, both before and after it reaches your local waterway.

River Network is proud to provide this free to access, easy to understand toolkit, thanks to the generous support of The Coca-Cola Foundation. Within, you’ll find a variety of strategies, activities, and specific devices to help address aquatic litter in your community. The toolkit will walk you through assessing your community’s aquatic litter issues, planning a cleanup effort, choosing a litter capture device, responsibly disposing of the waste you collect, and more. And, the strategies, activities, and devices included can be applied across the country.

Be sure to check out the stories from groups that are already using some of the devices and strategies described, like Freshwater Land Trust in Birmingham, AL and multiple partners in Proctor Creek.

“We consider this toolkit an essential resource for both community advocates and experts alike.” -US EPA’s Trash Free Waters

Learn more and download the toolkit.

Wild and Scenic Red River Fest, 2018 - photo by Pete McDermott

For the second year, we’re working with the US Forest Service (USFS) to provide local organizations with funding for their work to steward our many, diverse Wild and Scenic Rivers. We invited a wide range of projects, from river cleanups to invasive species management to improving river access, with an eye toward projects that could be adjusted as needed to be safe during COVID-19.

Read more about the selected projects.

Corporate Matching: Get Your Company Involved!


Many companies offer matching gift programs to encourage their employees to support organizations they care about. An easy way to double or triple your investment in River Network and to help ensure affordable, clean water and healthy rivers for all is to ask your employer (typically your HR department) if they match charitable contributions.

For more information, contact Lisa Runkel, Philanthropy Manager, at lrunkel@rivernetwork.org.

Events & Learning Opportunities

River Network’s Coffee/Lunch Roundtables are back for a summer series! Connect with other water leaders and discuss the pressing issues we all are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to racial justice, and beyond. In August, we’ll host two virtual roundtables:

  • Planning Virtual Meetings & Conferences: Join River Network staff as we share our experience in planning and hosting Virtual River Rally 2020, a 3-week long virtual conference that attracted over 500 participants, and bring your own insights of what’s worked for you when hosting or participating in similar events.
    • Wednesday, August 12th at 12pm ET. Register.
  • Advancing Racial Justice: Please join us for an open discussion on the role of racial justice in our movement for clean water and beyond. This discussion will be the first step to creating a space that benefits our network in working toward racial justice and create a path forward toward learning and action.
    • Wednesday, August 26th at 12pm ET. Register.

Help Us Help You: Healthy Rivers and Agricultural Landscapes

River Network is asking members of our network how they currently work at the intersection of healthy rivers and agricultural landscapes. We will use this information to guide new program investments across the country. Do you currently work with farmers and ranchers to promote programs and/or projects that focus on healthy rivers and clean and ample waters? If so, we want to better understand how you currently engage agricultural communities, what your needs are and what challenges you face. Please fill out our survey.

Take the 3-minute survey.

Share Your Thoughts: Fall Roundtable Topics

River Network is continuing the popular Coffee/Lunch Virtual Roundtables and beginning to plan the fall series. These online classrooms provide the organizations and individuals from across the network with opportunities to connect, learn from each others’ experiences, and provide space for discussions related to topics that are top-of-mind. So far, we’ve covered community organizing during COVID-19, fundraising, virtual events, cybersecurity, and racial justice. What else do you want to discuss this fall?

Share your topic ideas.

Member News and Tips

New Publications from Across the Network

American Rivers released Rivers as Economic Engines: Investing in clean water, communities and our future, and a new storymap.

US Water Alliance has a new report, Water Rising: Equitable Approaches to Urban Flooding.

Some of our staff recommend A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team, both a book and a documentary film about a group of young men growing up on Chicago’s West side.

Equitable Infrastructure Toolkit: RFP Deadline 8/10

River Network is accepting applications from individuals and consultants to support the development, delivery, and production of an equitable water infrastructure investment “toolkit” (i.e., a series of materials, resources and interactive virtual learning modules) geared toward communities and water groups to support their efforts to effectively advocate for equitable water infrastructure investments and water affordability.

Learn more and submit your application.

New Public Input Opportunities Page for the Delaware River Watershed

Commenting on regulations for clean water is a great way for the public to get involved in the decision-making process. We’ve collaborated with the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed to create a new webpage that highlights open public comment opportunities in the Delaware Basin and provides information and resources for those interested in learning more about how to get involved in the Clean Water Act’s regulatory processes.

Learn more and get involved.