River Voices: May 2024

Welcome to the May 2024 edition of River Voices. This month, we’re sharing an update on the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program as the program nears its end this year. Plus, meet a water policy analyst in Michigan and get excited for River Rally 2024! 

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, or LIHWAP, is set to end this year. So what happens next? In this month’s update, we explore the past, present, and potential future of LIHWAP, which has helped millions of households maintain access to drinking water and wastewater services.

This is the fifth feature we’ve written about LIHWAP. For more information and context, check out our previous updates!

Photo courtesy Kentucky Waterways Alliance.

River Network and the United States Forest Service are excited to announce the 6th year of funding for stewardship activities on Forest Service administered Wild & Scenic Rivers (WSR) and surrounding lands! There are two types of awards that nonprofits and tribal organizations can apply for: Stewardship Impact Awards and Relationship Building and Planning Awards.

Learn more and apply by May 31, 2024. 


With only two weeks until Rally, we wanted to announce an exciting addition to Rally this year: the Story Lounge!

The first-ever River Rally Story Lounge will be the go-to conference space for deep, interactive story sharing: a new platform to amplify successes from across the national network of water, justice, and river advocates.

Learn more about River Rally.


It’s more than just policy research and analysis – it’s a lot of organizing. It’s a lot of relationship building and maintaining in order to move the needle.”

Read or listen to this month’s conversation with Chrystopher Garzón of Alliance for the Great Lakes as he discusses his regional experiences with SRFs, relationship building, and what it means to make sense of each town, city, and state’s unique water utility landscapes.

Meet Chrys from Alliance for the Great Lakes. 

UPDATE! Our Tapping Into Federal Funding hub now features information on open funding opportunities relevant to the network. Take a look to learn about opportunities for collaborative watershed planning, water supply planning and project design, river restoration, and community support to address environmental and climate justice challenges.

Explore federal funding opportunities for your organization.

We’ve uploaded two recent webinars to our YouTube page! Unlocking Resources: Leveraging Federal Funding Through Nonprofit Municipality Collaboration, plus an info session on Community Change Grants. Check them out in our “Tapping Into Federal Funding” playlist.

Check out this new resource from Erin Kanzig, our Drinking Water Program Director, on types of technical assistance providers who can support the completion of water infrastructure projects.

The Clean Water for All Coalition surveyed coalition members and partner organizations to identify communities who might benefit from EPA technical assistance with water infrastructure projects. Read about their findings in this report.

A heads up for River Rally attendees EPA representatives from Water Technical Assistance (WaterTA) will be tabling at Rally, where they will be available to answer questions!

River Rally 2024!

May 13-16

River Rally 2024 is right around the corner, and we can’t wait to convene in Grand Rapids, MI for a powerful gathering of water, justice, and river advocates! 

If you’re not attending Rally this year, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to tune in to two of our plenaries, which will be livestreamed and publicly accessible: Legacy of Justice on May 14th and Policy from the Ground Up on May 15th.

Learn more about our plenary topics and speakers.

State Policy Showcase: Reducing Exposure to Lead in Schools and Child Care Centers’ Drinking Water

May 22, at 12:00p PT / 3:00p ET

No level of lead in drinking water is safe, especially for growing kids. Join us for our next State Policy Showcase, where presenters will discuss policies in both Colorado and Michigan designed to help protect children from exposure to lead in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities.

Register for the State Policy Showcase.

Redefining “Disadvantaged Communities” in a New Water Infrastructure Era

May 30 at 11:30a PT / 2:30p ET

This webinar is part of a Learning Exchange series hosted by Source Water Collaborative (SWC) to help water stakeholders use the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding for source water protection. Representatives from Utah, Delaware, and North Dakota Drinking Water SRFs will discuss how they approached redefining disadvantaged communities to meet the spirit of the BIL, the role public participation requirements had in modifying their definitions, and the degree to which these approaches have changed their programs.

Register for Redefining “Disadvantaged Communities.”

Member News & Tips

“Designating the Wekiva Wild & Scenic River System: Florida’s First Partnership Wild and Scenic River”

Check out this video from the National Parks Service celebrating the designation of the Wekiva River System in central Florida, the first Partnership Wild and Scenic River (PWSR) in the Southeastern US.

Learn more about the Wekiva River System.

2024 Children’s Environmental Health Voter Guide

The Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) has shared a voter guide outlining six straightforward criteria for all who love children and/or who are former children, to assess local, state, and federal candidates on their respective positions concerning key children’s environmental health issues. This nonpartisan guide is now offered in English and Spanish versions.

The 12th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum

Save the date: the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW) is convening September 26-27 at Wind Creek in Bethlehem, PA! The Forum serves as a fun and meaningful opportunity for Coalition members, legislators, watershed advocates, environmental and community organizations, agencies, foundations and charitable trusts, constituents and residents, businesses, and students to convene and collaborate on protecting the Delaware River Watershed. 

Learn more about the Delaware River Watershed Forum.

America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2024

American Rivers just released their annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® Report. The 2024 report shines a spotlight on threats to clean water nationwide, from South Carolina to Alaska, Connecticut to California.

What We’re Reading and Listening To

This May, we celebrate the legacies, stories, and futures of Asian American, Native Hawai’ian, and Pacific Islander communities.