River Voices: December 2023

Welcome to the December 2023 edition of River Voices. This month we’re highlighting members in the Hudson River Valley and looking back on a busy year of supporting strong organizations and leaders. Our gratitude to everyone who supported the network on Giving Tuesday and Colorado Gives Day! If you missed it, you can still support the network with a donation today!

Photo courtesy Jessica Kuonen.
Photo courtesy Jessica Kuonen.

In our just-released 2023 Impact Report, you’ll meet the Hudson Valley Flood Resilience Network (FRN), a network of municipalities that addresses flooding, co-facilitated by longtime River Network member Hudson River Watershed Alliance (HRWA). FRN and HRWA’s work intersects with each of River Network’s focus areas in unique ways. This relationship though, has its headwaters in River Network’s foundational organizational support of FRN’s five-year strategic roadmap, a year-long relationship culminating in a complete roadmap.

[At HRWA,] we don’t have time and expertise as a staff of one to provide everything our members need, we rely [on River Network staff] to bring their expertise for approach and implementation.”

– Emily Vail, Executive Director, Hudson River Watershed Alliance


In our NEW 5-part video series, River Network and two of our partners share tips on how to dive deep into your community’s litter issues by: knowing your community, engaging your community, focusing your efforts, and investing for the long term. The first three videos are available now – look for the final two installments coming in the next two weeks!

Watch the addressing litter video series.


“There was a big sentiment that were trying to do too many things for too many people, and we really needed to focus our mission and our program areas. We’ve done that very successfully.”

Kate Fritz, CEO of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, discusses her leadership style and the collaborative process of building the Alliance’s new Strategic Plan. Kate is a member of our new Executive Director Cohort.

Listen to or read Kate’s interview.

Learn about our federal funding support.

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SRF Public Dashboards are interactive tools that allow users to engage with SRF public data more easily. Users can view and download SRF data visualizations of a subset of data available in the SRF Public Portal, including priority areas. More detailed SRF Data is available on the SRF Public Portal.

Explore the SRF Public Dashboards.


River Network staff had one of our busiest recent years, working hands-on with organizations and leaders to build their knowledge of organizational strategic planning and board development, provide Executive Director coaching, and leading trainings for young professionals. Come along as Director of Leadership Development, Brenna Goggin, shares her highlights from this past year of organizational and leadership development work!

The influx of federal funding, organizational leadership changes, and the continued desire for organizational cultures that center belonging and equity mean our work supporting water, river, and justice advocates is more important than ever.”

– Brenna Goggin, Director of Leadership Development at River Network

Water Technical Assistance (WaterTA): Helping Communities Access Funding Webinar

December 12, 11a PT / 2p ET

Every community deserves access to clean, safe and reliable drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater services. Yet too many communities across America—in rural, tribal, suburban, and urban areas—struggle to address water infrastructure needs and obtain funding. EPA’s Water Technical Assistance provides free hands-on support for communities to assess their water needs, identify potential solutions, and apply for federal funding to address their water challenges.

Register for the WaterTA webinar.

UWLN Learning Series: Building Water Equity & Climate Resilient Communities for ALL

December 13 at 10a PT / 1p ET

Join us for part five of our six-part series, highlighting a variety of strategies that community-based organizations can use to help their communities anticipate, prepare for and respond to climate risks. This fifth session will discuss how to engage and center the needs of the most vulnerable community members when developing climate resilience, disaster preparedness and other related plans. Speakers include Chantal Madray from National Association of Climate Resilience Planners and
Annie Carforo of WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

Clean Water State Revolving Fund Training Series

January 3, 17, & 31; 12p PT / 3p ET

The SRF State Advocates Forum is hosting a three-part series on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). What is the CWSRF? What kinds of water infrastructure or watershed issues can this program address? What kinds of projects are eligible for funding and who can apply? We’ll cover these questions and more throughout this 3-part series.

Register for the CWSRF Trainings:

Member News & Tips

📣 WE’RE HIRING! River Network seeks a Colorado-based individual to support its efforts in the Colorado River Basin to improve the practice of river conservation planning as our new Healthy Rivers Program Manager. Applications are due by January 5. Check out the full posting on our jobs board.

New Book from Tim Palmer

With Seek Higher Ground, coming out in April 2024, environmental writer, former land-use planner, and River Network friend Tim Palmer explores the legacy of flooding in America, taking a fresh look at the emerging climatic, economic, and ecological realities of our rivers and communities. Tim also served on the River Network Board for 8 years.

Learn more and preorder Seek Higher Ground.

Fifth National Climate Assessment Released

What’s the Assessment say about water? It shows that human-caused climate change is leading to “profound shifts in the water cycle” in every corner of the country. While communities are already investing in climate-water solutions, adaptation efforts just aren’t moving fast enough to keep up with the rate of climate impacts. This underscores the importance of River Network’s commitments to climate-resilient communities and water equity!

Read the Fifth National Climate Assessment.

Submit Your Story: Dear Body of Water Project

Fellow water lovers, amplify the call for water appreciation and conservation with the Dear Body of Water Project! Express your love, concerns, and hopes for our precious bodies of water through the power of storytelling.

Learn more and submit to Dear Body of Water.

Marking the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 10, 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Human Right to Water has a much shorter official recognition – it wasn’t until 2010 that the United Nations General Assembly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. Many members of our network – which work across the US and in Puerto Rico and Canada – are hard at work to ensure that the human right to water and sanitation is realized by every resident. You can learn more about those efforts in Virginia and California via this State Policy Showcase, and put some concrete numbers to the impact of our water access gap by exploring DigDeep’s report “Draining: The Economic Impact of America’s Hidden Water Crisis.”