River Voices: September 2020

Welcome to the September 2020 edition of River Voices. This month, we’re excited to present a new effort to share our history and journey through the lens of our equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) work. You’ll also hear from our staff EDI committee. Plus, save 20% on River Network premium membership through September 30.

Attendees at the 1996 River Leadership Forum, one of the first River Network events to feature an EDI session, and during which the network was first pushed by leaders of color to do more. Photo courtesy Phil Wallin.
Attendees at the 1996 River Leadership Forum, one of the first River Network events to feature an EDI session, and during which the network was first pushed by leaders of color to do more. Photo courtesy Phil Wallin.

As a backbone to the national network of water protectors, River Network has a unique role to play to influence water leaders from coast to coast to become more equitable, our organizations more diverse, and our practices and solutions more inclusive. We also realize that this change must begin from within and that it is not linear.

This month, we humbly share our history and journey, and hope this inspires and encourages others across the network to begin, renew, and accelerate efforts to build a move diverse and inclusive movement for our nation’s waters.

Read more.


“I think we are well past the point that any organization can simply decide to make equity, diversity and inclusion a priority in their next strategic plan over some number of years. That moment for inaction through slow action is gone, and we need to act decisively.”

Meet Brandon Hayes. Brandon provides communications services, strategy consulting, and facilitation support to the conservation movement and spoke with us about how organizations can use effective communication to listen to and support their communities on ALL their needs, from clean water to social justice.

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable man washing his hands in the bathroom at home

The COVID-19 pandemic requires that we all make public health a key priority, but what if you don’t have running water in your house? How do you wash your hands and stay healthy? Over a million Americans lack access to indoor plumbing and many millions more have had their water shut off for late or non-payment. To protect all members of our communities, we need ALL water systems to continue to commit to stop water shutoffs and to restore water service to those whose water is currently shut off. Use our simple form to ask your state to take action or thank them for already doing so.

Take action.


River Network’s continued evolution and current movement from emergency to emergence in the face of the COVID-19 crisis would not be possible without the stalwart support of our donors throughout our organization’s history. People have always been the heart and center of our mission to empower and unite people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain all life. We hope you know the value of your impact as a current supporter and if you’re not currently, would love to count on you to support our expanding work.

Become a sustaining donor today.

Save 20% on River Network Membership for a Limited Time!

For 27 years, River Network membership has been here to serve you with the knowledge, mentorship, peer support, and resources you need to succeed. Become a premium member today to join a community that is more remote, but also more connected, than ever.

Explore the benefits of membership and join or renew today.


As the history above shows, our EDI work has deepened significantly in recent years, on both internal aspects of our organization and external programming. Initially, much of that work happened organically and it was only in December 2019 that we formed an internal EDI staff committee. Read about the committee’s work so far, and what’s next.

Read more.


What do dragonfly collection, snorkeling to observe mussels and bioassessment workshops on Wild and Scenic Rivers have in common? This summer, these activities are part of three of the seven projects selected for funding as part of a new partnership between River Network and the National Park Service.

Read more.

Events & Learning Opportunities

Coffee Roundtables Fall Series – Share Your Wisdom

Thanks to all your great feedback, we’re thrilled to share the topics we’ll be discussing with you all: Workplans and Budgeting During a Pandemic, End of Year Giving in a Pandemic, and Adapting In Person Fundraisers to Virtual Events. We hope these roundtables are interactive spaces where network members can highlight their work. So, if you have experience in any of the following topics, we would welcome the opportunity to highlight your work.

If you are interested in sharing your expertise or experiences, please email bgoggin@rivernetwork.org with the topic on which you’d like to share.

Community Engagement Workshop

Choose October 13 -or- November 10.
Join River Network and Corazón Latino for a 90-minute tailored, highly interactive workshop to support groups looking to increase their capacity to engage communities across cultures, language, and lived experience. We will focus on supporting participants through a specific engagement challenge or opportunity. Registration is limited to ensure adequate time for all questions and to ensure all participants receive hands-on support, leaving with a plan to bring back to their work and organizations.

Learn more and register.

Membership Programs: Leveraging Your Work & Increasing Engagement

Sept. 24, 1-2:15p ET
Join your peers in this discussion to learn about different membership models, how they can be crafted to serve the needs of your organization, and how to leverage your work to develop or bolster your organization’s membership program. This session will include both presentations and opportunities for peer discussion, allowing participants to share their membership successes and challenges and how their programs are shifting in response.

Learn more and register.

Data-Informed Storytelling

Sept. 28, 12-1p ET
Join ANS, River Network, Resource Media and Stroud Center for Water Quality in a lunchtime webinar focused on using water quality data in strategic storytelling. We’ll explore data-informed storytelling through the lens of three key audiences: local elected officials, statewide agency staff, and donors. The webinar will include an overview of available data products and sets, with a focus on using this data in the context of a well-crafted story that points toward a clear action ask.

Save this link to join the Zoom webinar on 9/28.

Member News and Tips

Rivers Lab: The Book Club for River Geeks

Last Thursday of the Month; Nevada City, CA
Rivers Lab is a no pressure environment and a great way to learn more about the ecosystems surrounding us by reading relevant scientific literature and breaking down the prestigious walls of academic papers to learn more about the systems we care for. Encourage your friends to join – the more diversity of thought, the merrier!

Learn more.

Get Funded Through the Business for Water Stewardship Project Bank

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 this work? If the answer is “Yes!” be sure to check out the Business for Water Stewardship Project Bank, an opportunity for premium members of River Network to use a national platform to attract funding.

River Rally 2021: Submit a Workshop or Nominate a River Hero

Do you have practical knowledge and experience related to one of this year’s River Rally themes? Could your knowledge help someone working on similar challenges in another setting, geography, or organization? Does your proposal intersect with diversity, equity, inclusion, and/ justice? If so, we need you.

Submit a proposal by 9/30 or nominate a River Hero by 10/30.

Science Corner!

The latest from our science team. This month: Data Visualization and Storytelling

How do you organize your water data and use it to effectively tell a story about what’s happening in your watershed and community? Data visualization and storytelling is one of the many consulting services we provide to groups across the country. Recently, our Science Manager, Adam Griggs worked with the Musconectong Watershed Association (MWA) in New Jersey to help organize their data into a format where it can easily be translated into charts and graphics. MWA has been collecting data on nutrients and sediment and can now share this information and provide updated information about the impacts of dam removal. Check it out here!

Want to learn more about data visualization and storytelling? Click here and save the link to join our September 28th webinar.

What We’re Reading

Blue River Urban Waters Federal Partnership Story Map – In June 2013, the Blue River in Kansas City, MO, became an EPA Urban Waters Federal Partnership partnership location, setting out to work with the community and local organizations to revitalize the Blue River Watershed. Read more about the Partnership in the UWLN’s most recent story map. And check out their blog post on how the United States Geological Survey (USGS) brings science for decision-making to the San Antonio Urban Waters Federal Partnership.

New Poll Results from the Water Hub at Climate Nexus – Water Hub’s polling found, among other insights, that US voters want the federal government to prioritize water investments that save energy, reduce emissions, and increase climate resilience. Check out the full results for more.

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Series Covering Water Access on the Navajo Nation in Utah – ICYMI, be sure to give this three-part series a read. It covers it looks at water access challenges, midterm indoor plumbing solutions, and long-term solutions for increasing water availability.

The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure – A new economic study from the Value of Water Campaign and the American Society of Civil Engineers finds that cost of water and wastewater failures will be seven times higher in 20 years for American households.

Inclusify – Dr. Stefanie Johnson’s book brings some interesting ideas together and shares intent and tools for building an inclusive culture at companies and organizations.

Superman’s Not Coming – Activist Erin Brockovich’s new book outlines the ways that failing infrastructure and outdated water protection policies in the US have allowed communities all over the country to drink contaminated water.