River Voices: June 2024

Welcome to the June 2024 edition of River Voices. This month we’re sharing our efforts, and efforts across the network, to build a community of practice around environmental flows: the amount, timing and quality of water in a river or stream required to sustain ecosystems and people. Plus, meet Amy Campbell, a water practitioner in California.

As part of the 7th Environmental Flows Workshop, Walker Basin Conservancy led a tour of Walker Basin, including a stop at Walker Lake where participants learned from Chairwoman Andrea Martinez about restoration priorities for the Walker River Paiute Tribe.

This April, forty people disembarked from a charter bus outside Reno, Nevada, and stepped out to a sunny, clear day and an expansive lake in the Great Basin desert that holds stories of trials and tribulations.

These Western water practitioners were gathered at River Network’s seventh Environmental Flows Workshop, to share best practices, advance learning, and work strategically on freshwater restoration. Specifically, they got a chance to see how partners in the Walker River Basin are tackling the issue of environmental flows: the amount, timing and quality of water in a river or stream required to sustain ecosystems and people.

Read the full recap, including how collaboration and partnership is renewing hope.

Although the journey isn’t over, partnerships in the basin between the Conservancy, Walker River Paiute Tribe, ranchers, farmers, and others are creating change towards a restored lake.

– Chelsea Silva, River Network’s Healthy Rivers Program Manager


Water Hub’s #JustInfrastructure campaign highlights the critical role of federal investment in shaping water projects across the country to help deliver on the human right to safe clean drinking water and sanitation access, flood justice, and protection from weather whiplash.

This toolkit features an animated video featuring partner voices working on water to amplify awareness of the investments we advocate for from lead pipe replacement, to green streets, healthy wetlands, and beyond.

Watch the #JustInfrastructure video.


“My profound spiritual calling is rooted in a deep connection to humanity. I feel a divine pull towards creating unity in the world, driven by a sense of purpose to uplift and protect those who are marginalized. The resilience and spirit of communities striving for justice resonate deeply within me, inspiring me to use my gifts, talents, and experiences to support and amplify their voices.”

Join us in welcoming Teresa Davis to our staff! A Flow Funder since 2021, she joined the River Network staff in May as Philanthropy Director.

Read Teresa’s bio.


“We’re trying to get away from the minimum flows because we know minimum flows are just scraping the bottom of the barrel. We need to get our rivers back into functionality.”

Read or listen to this month’s conversation with Amy Campbell of The Nature Conservancy, California as she discusses her work to co-facilitate a California environmental water network and an acquisition strategy in the Klamath Basin, and the hope she found at River Network’s recent Environmental Flows Workshop.

Read Amy’s interview.

Thank You for an Amazing River Rally!

Watch the Plenaries

This year, all three plenary panels were recorded! Watch Legacy of Justice and Policy from the Ground Up today, and stay tuned for a special waterloop episode, featuring our third plenary, Navigating Federal Funding.

Watch Legacy of Justice.
Watch Policy from the Ground Up.

Queer Is Natural – A Walking Tour Celebrating the Queer and Natural History of Grand Rapids

Our gratitude to Eirann Betka-Pope (they/them) and the Grand Rapids Pride Center for hosting this one-hour, ADA-accessible tour during River Rally, kicking off Pride Month a few weeks early. Following a portion of the Grand River, the tour combined facts and comedy to feature over a dozen stories of how the Grand Rapids 2-SLGBTQ+ community grew to be what it is today, how the natural landscape and our relationship with it has changed, and what the future holds for queer and natural worlds. We were honored to hold this new affinity space this year!

The “Queer Is Natural” walking tour was a hit! Eirann was a great guide and showed us the connection between the natural landscape and queer history in Grand Rapids. I was thrilled to be able to help organize the event, and I’m looking forward to further integrating LGBTQIA+ histories, knowledge, and wisdom into our work at River Network.

– Shelby Cline, River Network Drinking Water Program Associate

Everywhere has queer history, during the Queer Is Natural Walking Tour at River Rally we got to learn a bit about Grand Rapids’ own queer history and contextualize it with the area’s natural history. It’s really special to connect with other queer people advocating for water and justice to honor queer history and envision a queer future together!

– Campbell Simmons, River Network Resilient Communities and Policy Associate

Join a Training Series in the Online Learning Platform!

River Network is excited to be offering cohort style, hybrid training courses (a mix of synchronous, interactive training and self-paced content) as well as entirely self-paced trainings to help grow and strengthen a transformational national network of water, justice, and river advocates. Sign up for a self-paced training series today!

Member News & Tips

Book Release: Reconciliation in a Michigan Watershed – Restoring Ken-O-Sha

River Rally attendees were lucky to experience an inspiring workshop on Reconciliation Ecology led by Gail Heffner, Dave Warners, and Ron Yob. The session detailed their work in Grand Rapids to restore local residents’ broken relationship with Plaster Creek. Gail and Dave have also co-authored a book about Plaster Creek, which was published in April.

The book began as an oral history project, funded via an Urban Waters grant through River Network, and is an inspiring account of a lifetime of passion for this important local waterway in the Grand River watershed.

Purchase a copy of Reconciliation in a Michigan Watershed – Restoring Ken-O-Sha.

Funding Opportunity: National Forest Community Recreation Fund

The Next 100 Coalition, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service, invites eligible organizations to submit proposals for the National Forest Community Recreation Fund. The Fund aims to increase access to outdoor recreation and enjoyment of national forests while fostering relationships between community groups and the the Forest Service. By prioritizing at least 60% of funds distributed towards work in Justice40 communities, this initiative is reflective of the dedication by the Forest Service to ensuring that outdoor recreation opportunities and stewardship pathways are accessible to all communities. Applications are due by June 30.

Learn more about the National Forest Community Recreation Fund.