River Voices: February 2020

Welcome to the February 2020 edition of River Voices, taking a look at our healthy rivers in agricultural landscapes work through Environmental Water Transactions (EWTs). Read reflections from our meeting last fall, and meet network members who are implementing EWTs in the West. Plus, River Rally scholarship applications and Emerging Leader Award nominations are due this month!

Photo by Sinjin Eberle/American Rivers.
Photo by Sinjin Eberle/American Rivers.

In October 2019, we convened our fourth annual Environmental Water Transactions Network gathering in Flagstaff, Arizona. Though we are neither an expert on environmental water transactions, nor do we implement them, this annual meeting is an opportunity to flex our expertise in bringing together practitioners to share learning and leverage the “power of our network.” Explore new developments shared at the meeting and learn how the landscape continues to evolve.

Read more.


“Often, there’s finger-pointing toward the agricultural community… These accusations aren’t going to move us forward for the health of our rivers. Being inclusive and understanding can be really productive for river conservation.”

Meet Bailey Kennett, Desert Rivers Program Manager at the Arizona Land and Water Trust and learn about their water transactions work.


On January 23, 2020, the Trump Administration finalized their “Dirty Water Rule” (officially known as the Navigable Waters Protection Rule). With over 2 million miles of streams and more than half our remaining wetlands losing protection, learn more from our policy staff on what the rule means for your watershed.

Read more.


We want everyone to be able to join us in San Antonio this May! If registration costs are a barrier, consider applying for scholarship support. Thanks to generous supporters we are able to offer a limited number of scholarships for those who need financial assistance to attend River Rally.

Register today to apply for scholarship support!

Photo courtesy Kevin Jeffery.

Budding Seeds of Stewardship: Emerging Leader Reflections

Kevin Jeffery, our 2019 Emerging Leader award recipient reflects on all that’s changed for him since being named Emerging Leader and offers words of encouragement for other young water advocates considering self-nominating for the 2020 award.

Read Kevin’s reflections. The Emerging Leader award self-nomination deadline is 2/28.


Join us in welcoming Hannah Mico to the River Network team as our Community Organizing Associate! Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Hannah comes to River Network with experience in environmental education and community outreach at nonprofits across West Michigan.

Meet Hannah.


A generous donor is matching your full year of sponsored membership for new grassroots organizations! Every $200 given sponsors a full year of membership for a new group, and is MATCHED (up to $10k) for a total of two years of member benefits.

Sponsor a grassroots group today.

Events & Learning Opportunities

Moving America Forward: A Presidential Candidate Forum on Infrastructure, Jobs, and Building a Better America

February 16; Las Vegas, NV
Tune in for this bipartisan forum for presidential candidates to address their plans for infrastructure, jobs, and the economy. The forum is hosted by United for Infrastructure, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public and policymakers about the importance of America’s infrastructure, and led by a host committee of labor unions and other organizations representing millions of voters.

Learn more.

National Wildlife Federation’s 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 this work? If the answer is “Yes!” be sure to check out the Business for Water Stewardship Project Bank, an opportunity for premium members of River Network to use a national platform to attract funding.

We’re Hiring! Join River Network Staff on EWTs

Inspired by the stories above? We’re looking for an individual to support our efforts in Colorado and the West to educate and improve the practice of river conservation planning, expand engagement on EWTs, and grow curiosity regarding how to achieve healthy rivers in agricultural landscapes. Support on-going peer learning initiatives and deploy training and education tools from your CO home office.

Learn more and apply by 2/28.

Nominations Open to Join Mosaic’s Governance Assembly

Mosaic’s new initiative will support people working for environmental protection and healthy and just communities by bolstering movement infrastructure through investments in communications, advocacy tools and training, and more. A diverse governance body, with a super-majority of NGO and grassroots representatives, will lead Mosaic and make grant decisions.

Nominate yourself or a colleague by 2/7.

Great Lakes Drinking Water Support Available

In partnership with the C.S. Mott Foundation, River Network is launching an initiative to build the capacity of local leaders and organizations to directly affect change and advocate for clean and affordable drinking water for their communities across the Great Lakes region. The program will equip participants with the tools necessary to lead successful drinking water advocacy campaigns.

Apply by 3/1.

Explore the Rally Program: Working with Farmers and Ranchers

Throughout River Rally 2020 we will offer programming on agriculture topics. Among the workshops in this theme are:

> “Restoring Freshwater to Texas Ecosystems” from Texas Water Trade and The Nature Conservancy
> “Strategies for Agriculture-Municipal Partnerships” from US Water Alliance
> “Improving Aquatic Habitat on Private Lands” from Trout Unlimited and River Network
> “The Confluence of Agriculture and the Environment” from Colorado Cattlemen’s Ag Water NetWORK and others

…and more! Check out the full program for all our agriculture sessions.

What We’re Reading

Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey Into Regenerative AgricultureA moving look at how North Dakota farmers Shelly and Gabe Brown turned a series of weather-related crop disasters into a journey to a new type of farming.

Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm – Isabella Tree’s book recounts the “Knepp Experiment” and how she and her husband, Charlie Burrell, let nature take control of their 3,500 acres in the UK and the wildlife and biodiversity that followed.

Braiding Sweetgrass“This braid is woven from three strands: Indigenous ways of knowing, scientific knowledge, and the story of an Anishinabekwe scientist trying to bring them together in service to what matters most.” In these essays, Robin Wall Kimmerer brings together science and Potawatomi knowledge to inspire readers and celebrate our relationship with the living world.

Farming While Black – This comprehensive manual from Leah Penninman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farms provides “African-heritage people ready to reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system” with concise ‘how-tos’ for all aspects of small-scale farming.