River Voices: October 2019

Welcome to the October 2019 edition of River Voices, with a recap of our 2018-2019 Project Rain Barrel season and next steps from the River Rally Idea Exchanges. Meet our new Institutional Relations Director, Katie Murphy along with network member Kevin Jeffery. Plus, the River Rally workshop submission deadline has been extended: you can now submit until October 8!


This summer we wrapped up our 2018-2019 Project Rain Barrel season—thanks to support from the Coca-Cola Foundation. Through programs like this, business partners and sponsors support community-based solutions for cleaner water and healthier rivers, empowering local groups to protect and conserve water in their communities. Between August 2018 and July 2019, 54 workshops connected over 2,000 local volunteers and participants with 37 organizations and communities to retrofit Coca-Cola syrup drums into rain barrel catchment systems. Applications are now open for the 2019-2020 season! Learn more about the program and apply to host a workshop in your area.

“We’re Coca-Cola. We know how to make beverages; we don’t necessarily know how to restore watersheds. We rely on our partners to identify those areas of need, and know what mitigation steps need to be taken to repair them.

-Jon Radtke, Water Sustainability Program Director, Coca-Cola

Meet Katie Murphy, our Institutional Relations Director!

Based in Boulder, CO, Katie has spent her career working to improve the quality of life for the world’s most vulnerable communities through access to energy, clean drinking water, and sanitation solutions. Now, Katie leads our meaningful relationships with funding partners, leveraging these investments to create transformational impact.

Read more about Katie’s work.


One extra week for workshop submissions AND River Hero nominations! Do you have practical knowledge and experience that will help accelerate the pace of progress toward a sustainable and equitable water future? Do you know someone whose efforts to protect and restore their local rivers and waters have been extraordinary in scope, scale, impact and heart? We’ve extended the submission and nomination deadlines an extra week. Get your materials in by October 8!

Submit a proposal or nominate a River Hero.


Section 401 of the Clean Water Act empowers states and tribes to examine the impacts of many types of federally licensed projects proposed within their borders and, if needed, impose limits or stop those with unacceptable impacts to drinking water, recreation, or local economies. In August 2019, the EPA proposed a new rule that would undercut this authority. Join us in contacting EPA by October 21 to tell them that this is the exact opposite of what we need.

Click here to take action.

Diana Toldeo facilitates an Idea Exchange at River Rally 2019.

River Rally Idea Exchanges: Next Steps for Connection and Action

At River Rally 2019, we tried something new: Idea Exchanges. These sessions offered attendees opportunities to connect with each other, and to build their knowledge and network on the specific issues they are facing in their communities. Facilitators from these sessions have been hard at work developing next steps for collaboration, hosting follow-up calls and other meetings, and conducting additional surveys to define priorities around these specific issues. We’re excited to announce the near-term next steps that emerged, with 17 ways to get involved so far!


Kevin, our first Emerging Leader Award recipient, is an urban planner and architectural and landscape designer focusing on waterscape design and green infrastructure. He specializes in innovative urban design technologies that utilize the healing powers of the natural environment.

Click here to meet Kevin.


We are thrilled to welcome Paul Bauman, Ronda Chapman, Scott Miller, and Raj Shukla to our board of directors this month! Learn more about their experience at the links above and hear directly from Raj on why he’s excited to join the board in this video.

Meet the rest of our board here.

Events & Learning Opportunities

River Network Webinar Series: The What, Who, and How of Nonprofit Advocacy Work

If you’ve heard the old adage “nonprofits cannot participate in lobbying,” this series is for you! Featuring one webinar short and two full-length, live webinars, you’ll learn how 501(c)(3)s can get involved in advocacy work, policies and procedures to build strength and protect your org, and the finer points of campaign planning.

Watch now: Advocacy 101 – Yes You Can! Advocacy Basics for Beginners
Register: Advocacy 102 – Boards + Advocacy = A Winning Strategy (10/29, 1pm EDT)
Register: Advocacy 103 – Planning + Resources = An Effective Campaign (11/12, 1pm EST)

Hosted by Brenna Goggin, River Network’s Mid-Atlantic Leadership Development Manager

After the Storm: Equitable Recovery and Resilient Adaptation

October 9th 1:00–2:00 pm EDT.
How do you build resilience after disaster strikes, knowing that the area is prone to the continued effects of climate change and subject to displacement pressures? The third webinar in our series on climate and community resilience will focus on two organizations that work to build resilience as part of recovery and adaptation, while also facing displacement pressures and inequities.

Free webinar. Register.

Recycling Can! Clear Creek Cleanup in Wheat Ridge, Colorado

October 12th 10:00–1:00 pm EDT.
Join the Ball Corporation, River Network, and other community partners for a morning of litter cleanup, recycling, and tree work along Clear Creek and the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt. Together, we are raising awareness of the benefits of recycling while creating opportunities for community members to restore their local waterways.


Dev. Academy for Communities #2: How the Market Decides Future Use

October 18th 1:00–3:00 pm EDT.
If you build it, they might not come. If you dream it, a developer may not be interested. This webinar will cover the basics of real estate market analysis and what drives development. Learn the difference between types of developers, criteria to use when evaluating development teams, and what developers look for. Plus, explore strategies for attracting development in tough markets.

Free EPA webinar. Register.

Imagine a Day Without Water: Get Involved!

October 23rd
Can you imagine a day without water? While many take water for granted, too many communities across the country already know how impossible it is to try to go a day without our most precious resource. Join fellow water champions and over 1,000 organizations in advocating for the value of water for the fifth annual day to raise awareness and educate America about the value of water.

Find out how to participate.

Member News and Tips

Are you planning, designing, or implementing on-the-ground restoration projects that will restore river flows and/or recharge ground water? Would you like the opportunity to share your projects with businesses who may be interested in providing support for your projects? If the answer is “Yes!” be sure to check out the Business for Water Stewardship Project Bank, an opportunity for paid members of River Network to use a national platform to attract funding.

We’re Hiring! (And So Are Network Members)

River Network is looking for a Community Organizing Associate, based in the Great Lakes. Network members like American Rivers, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, and Galveston Bay Foundation are hiring across the country as well. Check out our job board for the latest water-stewardship career opportunities.

Have an open position to post? Submit here.

Up to $100k Available Through Reclamation WaterSMART

The Bureau of Reclamation has released a grant funding opportunity for communities to establish a new watershed group, expand an existing group, or complete restoration planning efforts. Up to $100k is available per group, and the application deadline for 2019 funding is Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

Learn more and apply.

Help Adventure Scientists Fill Data Gaps on Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSRs)

Adventure Scientists is looking for rafters, canoers, kayakers, and hikers to collect water quality data from designated WSRs across the US. Be part of this four-year project to fill data gaps along WSRs, empowering the entities charged with managing these rivers to preserve water resources.

Learn more and sign up to volunteer here.

What We’re Reading

Watered Down Justice Our analysis revealed that communities of color, low-income communities, and communities that lack transportation and/or live under crowded housing conditions had higher rates of drinking water violations than other communities. A new report from NRDC, Environmental Justice Health Alliance, and Coming Clean found a disturbing relationship between sociodemographic characteristics—especially race—and violations under the Safe Drinking Water Act. (En Español.)

Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate – IPCC’s report indicates that, “shrinking cryosphere in the Arctic and high-mountain areas has led to predominantly negative impacts on food security, water resources, water quality, livelihoods, health and well-being, infrastructure, transportation, tourism and recreation, as well as culture of human societies, particularly for Indigenous peoples.”

“Scuttling Science” – This mid-September episode of the podcast Reveal breaks down the Trump administration’s pattern of pushing expert scientists out of policy discussions by speaking with some of those scientists, who share their experiences.

Girl, Stop Apologizing“I believe we can change the world. But first, we’ve got to stop living in fear of being judged for who we are.” An empowering read from Rachel Hollis on building confidence and believing in yourself.

#GivingTuesday Is Just Around the Corner!

It’s officially fall and that means #GivingTuesday is just a few months away. Mark your calendars, or better yet, consider supporting the network of water champions with an automatic monthly gift. This is an easy way to support a future of clean water for all, at any amount that works for your budget, and you’ll be prepared this giving season. Choose to make a recurring gift on our website.