Wild and Scenic Rivers Stewardship Partners Funding Awards 2022
As we hit the warmest days of the summer, finding a clean, cool river to splash around in provides a welcome break for many. Wild and Scenic Rivers are often a good bet – the National Wild and Scenic River System covers over 13,400 river miles from coast to coast in 41 states and Puerto Rico, helping to preserve their unique values including recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and cultural heritage.
For the fourth year, River Network is excited to work with the USDA Forest Service (Forest Service) to provide local organizations with funding for their work to steward our many, diverse Wild and Scenic Rivers. These designated segments of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System flow throughout the country and help protect some of the nation’s free flowing rivers, providing opportunities and access for recreation, protecting drinking water and helping fuel local economies.
Steve Chesterton, Forest Service Wild & Scenic Rivers National Program Manager says “we’re looking forward to building on the great stewardship work supported over the past three years by continuing this valuable national partnership between River Network and the Forest Service for a fourth consecutive year. Strong local partnerships are critical to protecting and enhancing Wild and Scenic Rivers, including sustained efforts to facilitate opportunities for equitable access to the enjoyment of these incredible natural resources.”
We invited a wide range of stewardship projects, ranging from river clean ups to invasive species management to improving river access. Last year’s projects reflected how groups approached stewardship broadly, including developing plans for multilingual signage to increase access, trail building and community engagement, and environmental education and outreach.
To qualify, projects had to take a shared stewardship approach on rivers administered by the Forest Service. Review criteria included:
- What will be accomplished and how that furthers the values of Wild and Scenic Rivers;
- Support from the District Ranger or Forest Supervisor and project feasibility;
- Ultimately reaching communities new to Wild and Scenic Rivers, and
- Demonstration of community support and engagement, providing benefits to both rivers and people with an emphasis on community members who have historically lacked access.
There were many more strong applications than we could fund reflecting the amazing work of our partners across the country.
We’re excited to announce the following 2022 award recipients and a snapshot of their projects:
- Chattooga Conservancy – will be providing Leave No Trace (LNT) education to recreational users, continuing efforts to eradicate non-native invasive species and engaging the community in trash pick-ups on the southeast’s Chattooga River.
- Curry Watersheds Partnership – in Oregon, Curry Watersheds will be engaging community members of all ages, abilities and cultures to protect the Elk and Chetco Rivers through river clean ups and educational activities.
- Flathead Rivers Alliance – Montana’s relatively new Flathead River Alliance, focusing on the three Forks of the Flathead Wild & Scenic River, is implementing components of the Responsible Recreation Plan to help steward the river and support visitor use.
- Friends of the Verde River – aims to engage young adults and volunteers in the restoration of riparian habitat near a picnic and river access spot through invasive species removal and river clean ups on the Verde River in Arizona.
- Kern River Conservancy – is organizing river clean ups and monitoring water quality along the shores of California’s Kern River.
- Tuolumne River Trust – plans to focus on restoration work along California’s Tuolumne River through invasive species removal and trail restoration.
- Wild Alabama – is working with volunteers on river clean ups, eradication of invasive plants, monitoring water quality and providing leave no trace training on Alabama’s Sipsey Fork Wild and Scenic River.
River Network gives a shout to all of our applicants and to Forest Service for their continued support.