See Our Network’s Future in Four Key Issues

For 30 years, River Network has served as a backbone for groups working at the local level across the United States, connecting them to each other and to the resources and knowledge they need to succeed. Thirty years ago, that network included a few hundred groups. Today, the network includes nearly six thousand community and watershed groups, government agencies, water utilities (or managers) and tens of thousands of individuals engaged in protecting and restoring rivers and safeguarding clean water across the United States.

During the past year, we have asked our network—including local NGOs and organizations, supporters, and partners—what can we do to align our network for greater impact and influence. With growing numbers of Americans at risk of losing affordable drinking water as well as increasing social and economic insecurity due to floods and droughts, and more than half of our rivers in poor health, today’s water crisis informs River Network’s vision and path forward.

With insights developed during this strategic planning process, a set of key issues emerged. These four focus areas are crucial to addressing today’s water crisis in all regions of the country; relate to work we are already pursuing; and intersect with considerations of equity, inclusion, and diversity:

  1. Safe, clean and affordable drinking water
  2. Resilient cities and communities
  3. Healthy rivers in agricultural landscapes
  4. Robust and effective water laws and policies

We believe that to move beyond crisis, our network of water-focused groups, individuals, agencies, and businesses must work together across sectors (agriculture, municipal, industry, energy, recreation, and conservation) to define a new path forward. Our approach to each of the key issues is intentionally collaborative and focuses on innovation. A more complete description of each key issue can be found in our strategic plan.

Over the next five years, River Network plans to grow connectivity, leverage voices from across our network, and strengthen the network’s influence by aligning and empowering collective action on these key issues.  We will create momentum by working with all of you, leveraging the efforts of the network on these key issues while continuing to build strong organizations and coalitions, support community watershed science, and increase civic engagement.

We appreciate all of the important input we got from you, our water champion community, as we developed this plan. As we move into this new territory, we hope that you will remain engaged on these topics and how these key issues relate to your work and aspirations. Together we can increase the network’s understanding of key issues and step forward in our work.

We are excited about where we are heading and hope you are, too. The collective power of our network is massive. To explore what we can accomplish together on these key issues, you are warmly invited to attend one of three upcoming conversations for the NGO community:

Additional calls and discussions are being held with supporters and the national NGO community. We also invite you to share your insights via this short five-minute survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XQT7NBT.