Wild and Scenic Rivers Stewardship Partnership Funding Awards 2021
For the third consecutive year, River Network is working 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 for recreation, protecting drinking water, and helping fuel local economies.
Steve Chesterton, Forest Service Wild & Scenic Rivers National Program Manager says, “we’re continuing this partnership between River Network and the Forest Service for a third year, with an increased emphasis on seeking to improve access for underserved communities whose members historically lack adequate opportunities to participate in outdoor education, river-related recreation, and stewardship projects. These partnerships are important for both the long-term stewardship of Wild and Scenic Rivers and promoting equitable access to the enjoyment of these incredible natural resources.”
We invited a wide variety of stewardship projects, ranging from river clean ups to invasive species management to improving river access, with continued support for any needed flexibility to adjust for safety related to COVID-19. Last year’s projects reflected how groups approached stewardship in creative ways through the pandemic, and we look forward to seeing this next round of collaborative community projects roll forward.
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 2021 award recipients and a snapshot of their projects:
- California Wilderness Coalition – is working to expand equitable access to the Merced Wild and Scenic River in California by pursuing data collection, outreach, and planning efforts to increase multi lingual river signage and other materials.
- Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – in Oregon, HSUS will be convening the Bear Safe Rogue project to engage diverse stakeholders to develop a plan to manage bear-human conflicts along the Rogue Wild and Scenic River.
- Love in Motion Foundation – is launching volunteer trail maintenance, environmental education, and leave no trace training around Puerto Rico’s Rio Mameyes Wild and Scenic River, helping connect the community to the river.
- Salmon Valley Stewardship – is building on their youth environmental education program on river ecology, cultural connectivity, science and recreation by getting kids out on Idaho’s Salmon Wild and Scenic River.
- Tin Mountain Conservation Center – will partner with a local elementary school and local land trust to engage students in field science on New Hampshire’s Wildcat Wild and Scenic River.
- Umpqua Watersheds – is building capacity for shared stewardship of fire-impacted public lands by providing service learning opportunities for local students and volunteers related to riparian habitat restoration on the North Umpqua Wild and Scenic River in Oregon.
- Wild Alabama – is working with volunteers on river clean ups, eradication of invasive plants, monitoring water quality, and providing leave no trace training on the Sipsey Fork Wild and Scenic River.
River Network gives a shout to all of our applicants – and a big thanks to Forest Service for their support and continued partnership, and to American Whitewater for participating on our review team!