River Voices: December 2019

Welcome to the December 2019 edition of River Voices, with a focus on drinking water. Hear about our commitment to equity and the Drinking Water Guide and meet network members Kim Gaddy and Aly Shaw, who participated in our drinking water, equity, and climate peer learning cohort. Plus, our heartfelt gratitude to all who supported a strong network on #GivingTuesday!


The barriers to achieving water equity are large, complex, and systemic, requiring an intersectional understanding of the structures that make up our water systems and their interactions with peoples’ lives. Hear from Sheyda Esnaashari, our Great Lakes Drinking Water Program Manager, about how we’re centering equity in our work, and why it’s fundamental to our Drinking Water Guide, which is now available in Spanish.

Read more.


“Showing someone a lead filter is more powerful than having them read about it. They can see the problem, relate to it, and speak the message.” Read about Kim’s work developing and implementing Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund’s grassroots environmental justice campaigns and coalition-building efforts.


Thanks to Patagonia, your end of year giving will be matched dollar for dollar! Patagonia will match all donations made on Patagonia Action Works until Dec. 31 ($10,000 per donation, until they reach a maximum match of $10,000,000).

Donate today before they reach the maximum match to DOUBLE your impact!


To increase the reach and relevance of our Drinking Water Guide, as well as its accessibility, we worked with staff from Corazón Latino on a Spanish language edition.

Look for Corazón Latino at River Rally 2020 in San Antonio and download the Spanish language Guide here.

2019 Impacts – A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Our 2019 Impact Report is out! Join us as we remind ourselves of what we have achieved this past year, how we add value, and the stories of grit and promise that have emerged along the way. We remain committed and more inspired than ever to build on this year’s efforts as we push forward. We are grateful to everyone who has been part of our journey, and we invite you to join us as we reflect on our impacts in 2019 and learn what our staff is excited about in 2020 and beyond!

Download the report.

hand open for drinking tap water

“We have the conundrum that water is undervalued and unaffordable at the same time.” Katherine Baer, River Network’s Director of Science and Policy and one of our Drinking Water Guide’s lead authors, spoke with Lynn Broaddus and the Environmental Policy Innovation Center. They discussed the Guide, water infrastructure, source water protection, climate change, and more!

Read the full interview.

aly shaw pittsburgh united

“It’s more powerful to be working together than to be fighting separately.” As the organizer of Pittsburgh United’s Our Water, Our Rivers Campaign for the past three years, Aly has led a coalition to fight for investments in green infrastructure, for safe and affordable drinking water, and against the privatization of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Read about Aly’s work.

urban waters story map

Given the benefits of green spaces near urban waterways, members of the Urban Waters Learning Network are working to create more green spaces in communities most affected by environmental injustices. Check out UWLN’s NEW story map to read about work in Yonkers, NY; Atlanta, GA; and Richmond, CA.

Explore the story map.


The Water Data Collaborative (WDC) was formed in 2017 with support from the Pisces Foundation to develop and use technology and systems that empower communities to take action to protect water resources. WDC’s new story map features profiles of community science efforts that give people a way to make a difference in their local watersheds.

Explore the story map.

Events & Learning Opportunities

River Network Webinar Series Available to Watch!

The What, Who, and How of Nonprofit Advocacy Work: If you missed this series from Brenna Goggin, catch up now! All three webinars (Advocacy 101-103) are available on our website at any time. Learn advocacy basics, how to involve your board, campaign strategies, and explore additional resources on related topics. Watch now.

A Recipe for Effective River and Watershed Organizations: Our webinar series on effective organizations is now available on our website as well. Learn from River Network Leadership Development staff on how implement best practices in essential areas of nonprofit management. Watch now.

Achieving Social Justice Through Better Regulations

December 12, 11:00am ET
From the Green New Deal to Medicare for All, progressive advocates are charting a bold course toward a more socially just America. To realize those goals, we must simultaneously revitalize the regulatory system so that the rules of the road are developed and enforced according to principles of social and environmental justice. Learn how we can reorient our nation’s regulatory system toward social justice and the public interest.

Free Center for Progressive Reform webinar. Register.

Adaptive Management Strategies for Ridge to Reef Conservation

December 17, 2:00–4:00 pm ET
This is the first webinar in a five-part coastal resilience series taking place over the coming year from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Watershed Academy. In this webinar, participants will be provided with information on tools and products that water quality, coastal watershed, and coral reef professionals can use in coral reef conservation and protection practices at the state and local level.

Free EPA webinar. Register.

Women in Conservation Leadership Summit

March 16-19, 2020; Colorado Springs, CO
The National Wildlife Federation will host the third Women in Conservation Leadership (WCL) Summit on ancestral Sioux, Ute, Cheyenne and Apache lands at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, CO. The WCL Summit will provide a space to build and strengthen leadership skills in order to elevate women’s voices in the conservation movement as well as tackle challenges and issues unique to women in the workplace.

Learn more and register.

Member News and Tips

Are you planning, designing, or implementing on-the-ground restoration projects that will restore river flows and/or recharge ground water? Would you like the opportunity to share your projects with businesses who may be interested in providing support for your projects? If the answer is “Yes!” be sure to check out the Business for Water Stewardship Project Bank, an opportunity for paid members of River Network to use a national platform to attract funding.

We’re Hiring! (And So Are Network Members)

River Network is looking for a Delaware River Basin Program Manager, based in the Basin, and a Philanthropy Manager, based in Colorado. Check out our job board for these positions and the latest water-stewardship career opportunities from across the national network.

Have an open position to post? Submit here.

$3M Available Through 2020 Environmental Education Grant Program

EPA has announced available funding for locally-focused environmental education projects under the 2020 Environmental Education Grant Program. EPA will award three to four grants in each of the agency’s 10 regions. Groups interested must submit their application by Jan. 6, 2020.

Learn more and apply.

Submit Your Local Action Alert!

Are you doing local advocacy work that would benefit from online organizing and/or promotion? Paid members of River Network can submit action alerts to be published through the Action Network. This provides the ability to organize people around a local issue, mobilize new activists, and we’ll help promote your issue!

Submit your alert.

What We’re Reading

Closing the Water Access Gap in the United StatesUS Water Alliance, DigDeep, and Michigan State University, released the most comprehensive report to date on water access challenges in the United States. They discovered that over two million Americans live without access to running water, indoor plumbing, and safe sanitation.

River Access Planning Guide – From the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, American Whitewater, and River Management Society, this guide is a resource for planners, river managers, and users as they design new river access sites, improve existing access, or integrate river access into larger infrastructure projects.

Innovation in Action: 21st Century Water Infrastructure Solutions – This new WaterNow Alliance paper outlines innovative pathways to a sustainable water future, reviews state-of-the-art advancements in local water management, and examines forward-thinking strategies that are addressing drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater issues in cities and counties across the country, and making them more resilient.

Actionable Solutions for Public Water – This brief from the Mayors Innovation Project outlines concrete actions a city can take to keep control of its water systems and provides a background to understanding the complexity of public water systems and their current challenges.