River Voices: March 2023

Welcome to the March 2023 edition of River Voices. This month, learn about how we’re supporting communities across the country to address litter in their waterways, thanks to the support of our corporate partners. Plus, meet Luke Ramsey, an ecologist, artist, and educator working for the Salt River.

A large group of people stands together cheering and holding up their hands, in front of a river in Philadelphia.
Volunteers at a Philadelphia cleanup event.

River Network has responded to the issue of litter in local waterways for over a decade. With support from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation, the Coca-Cola Foundationand Bridgestone, we have removed 1,549,356 pounds of litter from our nation’s waterways, hosted 581 litter clean-up events that engaged 73,404 volunteers, and have implemented long-term solutions for both water and communities across the U.S. This work is also engaging local communities in environmental stewardship while contributing to community health and wellbeing.

Read more.

“I loved seeing the results of a cleaner riverbank after we were finished in our area. I also enjoyed actually seeing the river up close.”

–Volunteer at a recent Los Angeles River cleanup event


We’re launching our SRF Advocacy Training Series beginning April 11, 2023! Apply now to join the inaugural cohort. This 8-week training series is an opportunity to take a deeper dive into River Network’s SRF Advocacy Toolkit to learn more about how the SRFs can help your community complete needed water infrastructure projects, what you can do to increase equitable distribution of funding in your state, and identify the key stakeholders and avenues for improved access and implementation of the SRFs.

Read more.


World Water Day (WWD) is this month! This year, World Water Day is about accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. You and your family, school, and community can make a difference by changing the way you use, consume, and manage water in your lives.

Ahead of WWD on March 22, head to Instagram and tag @rivernetwork to share a photo that represents what clean water means to you, the ways you plan to “be the change” this year, and support the network! 

Support the network for WWD. 


“When there’s a problem, you just need to start trying things! Every system is different, and you never know what’s going to work, but surely what isn’t going to work is doing nothing. Make a design, get a group together, do what you can, and record the data on it. There’s always something to learn.”

Luke Ramsey is an ecologist, artist, and educator based in Tempe, AZ, and one of River Network and Rio Reimagined’s partners on litter capture and river cleanups.

Meet Luke.


Recognizing River Network’s leadership role and shared accountability for the health of water across the US and the many people who call it home, our new Strategic Plan, released in January 2023 concludes with three ambitious focus areas: Healthy, Resilient Rivers; Safe, Affordable Drinking Water; and Climate-Resilient Communities.

These focus areas define the network’s impact working collectively over time, frame our work, and represent the future for people and nature we envision and are helping to create.

Explore our focus areas.

Trash is a water quality issue, yet it is rarely treated as such. Who wants to swim, paddle, fish, or live near a waterway lined with trash? The Clean Water Act protects against water pollution – and trash pollution should be no exception. In this spring 2022 RN webinar, jump to 24:25 to hear from Christian Murphy, Bronx River Alliance, about the Alliance’s Project Waste, and enjoy the rest of the webinar to hear from other local groups who are putting their trash monitoring data to action by highlighting trash hotspots, categorizing types of trash, identify patterns, and advocating for change and protections to their waterways.

Learn more.

Member News & Tips

Insurance Basics for Watershed Protection – March 29, 9a PT / 12 ET

River Network members face risk management challenges that are as diverse and far-reaching as the lands and waters they protect. Join Meghan Mullee (Alliant Insurance) to learn about the types of insurance you should be considering for your board and staff, your volunteers, your on-the-water operations and events, invasive species removal, planting and restoration work, and more.

Meghan Mullee is Vice President of Alliant’s Conserve-A-Nation® Insurance Program, the largest specialty program for environmental nonprofits in the country. Meghan’s work focuses on nonprofit clients engaged in land conservation, environmental education, watershed restoration and wildlife habitat preservation. She helps conservation organizations to clarify and evaluate risk, and brokers insurance solutions for the conservation clients at the the national, regional and local levels.

Register today!

Registration Open – Alabama Water Rally 2023

Join the annual gathering of Alabama’s network of water advocates and allies hosted by the Alabama Rivers Alliance. Water Rally is the premiere educational, networking and celebratory event for community and watershed-based organizations as well as individual Alabamians interested in #CleanWater and the protection of all our waterways. Plus, don’t miss River Network’s first Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual trainings at the conference!

Learn more.

Upstream, Downriver Documentary Available

This powerful new documentary premiered at American University’s Clean Water Act 50-Year Anniversary Symposium last September, and is now screening at many upcoming events. The film takes viewers into the heart of the battle for water justice.

Powerful stories with frontline community activists are interwoven with historical context on water pollution regulation in the United States.

Learn more.

Resources on the Train Derailment in East Palestine

RN staff are following the disaster in East Palestine, Ohio. To learn more about what happened, how the community is being impacted, and how you can help, we recommend following Ohio Environmental Council, River Valley Organizing, Environmental Health Project, Breathe Project, signing this petition to OH and PA governors, and/or supporting financially through Beaver County GoFundMe or Clean Air Council fund.

Read the latest from OEC.

Webinar: Enhancing Equity in LSL Replacement Programs

On March 8 at 1p PT / 4p ET, the Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacement Collaborative is hosting a webinar featuring its new step-by-step equity guide. The webinar will lift up examples from across the country of how communities are working to promote equity in their replacement programs – touching on issues including funding, community engagement, and contracting.


What We’re Reading, Watching, and Listening To