River Voices: January 2021

Welcome to the January 2021 edition of River Voices. This month, we’re looking back at water policy highs and lows from 2020 and sharing the findings of our 2020 trends report, “Our Water, Our Future: State of River and Watershed Protection.” Plus, River Rally 2021 registration opens next week!


Over the last four years, many of the assaults on the environment may have seemed wonky or confusing, but these changes have real impacts on people and waterways. And, not just to places where we paddle, but to our communities throughout the country that are already bearing the burden of flooding and toxic pollution. Because of these often inequitable health and environmental impacts, for this year’s policy wrap-up, we decided to highlight both what’s happened over the last year, as well as the last four, given the upcoming change in administrations.

Read more.


“As a community of advocates from all backgrounds, we need to push members of Congress… We have a lot of strong allies under our tent, but legislating is still going to be difficult. It’s going to take some creative thinking and a lot of activism, but it’s something that I’m looking forward to being a part of.”

Meet Julian Gonzalez, Legislative Counsel at Earthjustice and learn how individuals and organizations can explore getting involved in water policy in 2021 and beyond.

Meet Julian.


River Network released a 2020 trends report called Our Water, Our Future: State of River and Watershed Protection in December. The report outlines current conditions of waterways in the U.S. including opportunities and threats to water quality and quantity, and provides an analysis of the diversity of the workforce within the river and watershed protection community.

This report builds on River Network’s first trends report, released in May 2016.

Read the report.

Grants Available: Community Group and Water System Collaboration

River Network and WaterNow Alliance have been learning from successful community group/water system partnerships and are ready to support the development of new partnerships! We will select three community group/water system partnerships that have a shared commitment to growing their partnership and testing out the best practices. We will provide each partnership with $5,000 in funding support and with technical assistance.

Learn more and submit your proposal by January 29.


Join us for the second Virtual River Rally! Our engaging and fun virtual program will run for four empowering days, May 17-20, 2021. Featuring ‘live’ content including plenaries, workshops, discussions, and inspiring reflections from award recipients, along with access to a huge library of recorded workshops, opportunities to connect with peers, and an innovative new community platform that will connect the network for years to come. Registration opens Monday, January 11 – including scholarship applications and Emerging Leader Award self-nominations.

Download the program.

Events & Learning Opportunities

Winter Roundtables: Building Online Connectivity

Wednesday, January 27, 12-1:30p ET
Learn about building online connections and a sense of community from experts across the Country. Staff affiliated with Groundwork USA, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Urban Waters Learning Network, and River Network will share how we use our online platforms to build relationships, share knowledge, and expand our reach!

Register today.

SYRCL’s Virtual Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Jan. 14-24
South Yuba River Citizens League’s 19th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival will take place as an entirely virtual experience. Presented online, the festival will still bring together another incredible selection of films to change your world. This year’s virtual experience will allow attendees from around the globe to join us for much of the same great programming Wild & Scenic has become known for.

Learn more and buy tickets.

“SELF” — A Community-Centric Fundraising BIPOC Town Hall Series

Jan. 14, 6p ET
Join Community-Centric Fundraising for cafe-style conversations with fundraisers of color across the country. This event series is EXCLUSIVELY for Black, Indigenous, and persons of color and is hosted by Community-Centric Fundraising, featuring co-chairs Vu Le and Michelle Muri.
This will be the first of a three-part monthly series.

Learn more and register.

Virtual River Ecology and Geography Course

June 9-29, 2021
Learn how to utilize rivers and riparian habitat as the context to meet the Colorado 2020 Science standards (NGSS) through observations, explorations, discussions, and journaling to create three-dimensional, phenomenon and problem-driven science learning experiences. Participants will explore the three major components of a river ecosystem.

Learn more and register.

Member News & Tips

Join Our Work on Integrated Water Resource Management!

We’re looking for proposals from qualified individuals and consultants to support the expansion or enhancement of integrated water resource management with a specific emphasis on bringing diverse voices and perspectives to the table, including those who have not traditionally been part of such processes. This effort will focus primarily on two locations: The San Antonio River (TX) in close collaboration with the San Antonio River Authority and the Salt River (AZ), particularly the Rio Salado portion and the Verde River tributary, related to groundwater challenges and engagement opportunities for under-represented populations within this system.

Learn more and apply by January 11.

Coming This Month: River Network’s Online Community

Join us on January 27 in the new go-to place for water protectors, nonprofit leaders, agency representatives, industry innovators, and others who care about clean water and healthy rivers for all to connect. There, you’ll be able to connect with peers on topics that matter to you, share opportunities and address challenges, stay up to date on the latest water news, and foster partnerships for shared impact.

Stay tuned!

Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant (RFP)

Deadline Jan. 28
The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and partners seek applications for the Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration program, which develops community capacity to sustain local natural resources through modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality, watersheds, and their species and habitats.

Learn more and apply.

Science Corner: Public Lab

The latest from our science team.

Founded on the heels of the BP oil spill, Public Lab is dedicated to pursuing environmental justice through community science and open technology. The organization is rooted in the belief that the best ideas and solutions come from on-the-ground communities with deep knowledge of local issues in close, equitable, and sustainable partnerships with networks that bring skills, capacity, science, and technology. Public Lab is the place where community-based researchers can find and share knowledge, equipment, techniques for their environmental investigations – and connect with a community of individuals doing the same.

There are a number of ways to get started on Public Lab:

What We’re Reading (And Watching!)

#ColorofWater – head over to Twitter and explore this new series from the Water Hub at Climate Nexus, highlighting BIPOC water advocates and experts.

“The Future of Water” – this new video from WaterNow Alliance and Water Hub at Climate Nexus makes the case that the next wave of water investments should focus on green and localized infrastructure.

“What the Biden Administration Might Mean for Water” – from Circle of Blue, give this roundtable discussion a listen and learn from three experts about what a new administration could mean for water at the federal level.