River Voices: January 2024

Happy New Year and welcome to the January 2024 edition of River Voices. This month we’re showcasing our Online Learning Platform – which now includes a certificate program! Plus, River Rally 2024 scholarship and volunteer applications are open and we’ve released the preliminary River Rally 2024 program – full registration opens on January 22.

A River Rally 2024 attendee types on their laptop.
Session at River Rally 2024. Photo by Imagine Photography.

It’s a new year – perhaps you’ve been considering personal and professional goals for the months ahead. Are you contemplating what kind of training or professional development opportunities might support your important water work in 2024? Here at River Network, growing the capacity and building the skills of organizations and coalitions in the network is one of our top priorities. As you scan newsletters, search online, or ask your colleagues about opportunities to gain valuable capacity-building training this year, make sure our Online Learning Platform is on your list!

In a blog post from Erin Kanzig, Shelby Cline, and Colleen Walters, learn about the courses we have on offer, the successes network members are already achieving with their learnings, and our new certificate program.

We’ve found the SRF Advocacy Training Series and Toolkit to be extremely useful and have even directed more of our staff members to complete the training to learn more about our current SRF advocacy priorities. I actually keep the SRF Advocacy Toolkit up on my computer and reference it quite often!”

– V Miller, Alabama Rivers Alliance


All 5 videos in our addressing litter series are now available! In the 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.


Thanks to the generous support of River Rally supporters, we’re able to provide financial support to water, justice, and river advocates to attend River Rally 2024. Scholarships to attend River Rally cover up to 100% of total registration cost, plus travel and lodging support to select applicants. Applicants will be asked to submit a $20 application fee.

Apply for a Rally scholarship or as a volunteer by February 8.

Learn about our federal funding support.

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 it address? What kinds of projects are eligible? We’ll cover these questions and more throughout this 3-part series. Register for the CWSRF Trainings:

We’re thrilled to share the preliminary River Rally program – it’s starting to feel real! Find plenary panel descriptions, the daily schedule for May 13-16, 2024, information on the Urban Waters Learning Forum, other coalition meetings, and social events. Sessions will be announced in the coming months.

Explore the River Rally 2024 program.

Remembering Geoff Dates, Gentle River Warrior

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Geoff Dates on November 29, 2023, in New Jersey, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Geoff made important contributions to community-led river and watershed protection efforts while serving as River Network’s River Watch Director from 2000 to 2006, and before that, as Science Director for River Watch Network before its merger with River Network. In these roles, Geoff led nationwide efforts to promote and expand community-led volunteer water quality monitoring, serving as a mentor and trainer to countless organizations and individuals around the country. He was a prolific author, contributing often to River Voices, River Network’s newsletter (see examples Visual Surveys and Assessments and Building Bridges Over Troubled Waters), and as a principal or contributing author of Living Waters: Using Benthic Macroinvertebrates and Habitat to Assess Your River’s Health (1997), Listening to Watersheds A Community-Based Approach to Watershed Protection (2002), and the Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Design Workbook (2005).

Geoff will also be remembered by many River Network members as a musician who brought joy and created community at many-a-River Rally through his guitar playing and singing. We bid you farewell, Geoff, ever the gentle river warrior.

A collage of photos of Geoff Dates.

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

January 17 at 10a PT / 1p ET

Join us for the last session in this 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 final session will share inspiring stories on community-led environmental transformation through green jobs.

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:

RiversEdge West’s 2024 Riparian Restoration Conference

March 5-7, 2024

Registration is open for this conference, held at Colorado Mesa University, in Grand Junction, CO! The theme for their 2024 Riparian Restoration Conference is Restoration for the Future: Promoting resilience in our rivers and communities. The emphasis at this conference will be on building resilience in our rivers and riparian ecosystems, as well as the surrounding human communities.

Register for the 2024 Riparian Restoration Conference.

What We’re Reading – Climate Communications Edition

How water, justice, and river advocates talk about climate is more important than ever. Released in November, the Fifth National Climate Assessment noted that human-caused climate change is leading to “profound shifts in the water cycle” in every corner of the country, and 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. The language we use can help make shifts in our communities and build momentum for solutions. Here are a few resources our team has been referencing lately related to climate communications:

What resources on climate communications and messaging are you turning to?

H/t to Water Hub for the synthesis of the Fifth National Climate Assessment’s water topline.