Our History And Accomplishments

Since American Rivers was founded in 1973, we have had many incredible accomplishments that have resulted in restored and protected rivers, revived wildlife and revitalized local economies.

Following are just some of our selected accomplishments:

Rivers And Global Warming

  • Raising awareness of how global warming impacts river health, clean water and water supplies.
  • Promoting 21st century green infrastructure solutions that enhance health, safety and quality of life.
  • Securing $1.2 billion in federal funding for projects that incorporate innovative green infrastructure approaches and water and energy efficient technologies.

Restoring Rivers

  • Restoration of White Salmon River and the Elwha River (including world’s tallest dam removal at Glines Canyon Dam)
  • Negotiating the world’s largest dam removal on the Klamath River in California and Oregon.
  • Advocating for the removal of the 160-year-old Edwards Dam on Maine’s Kennebec River, which triggered the resurgence of large numbers of striped bass, salmon, sturgeon, and alewife and revitalized a local recreational economy.
  • Leading the way on removing 147 outdated dams on rivers across the country and secured the planned removal of more than 100 dams on some 55 rivers in the next five years.
  • Leading a victory over the disastrous Yazoo Pumps project that would have drained and damaged 200,000 acres of some of the South’s most vital wetlands and wasted $220 million federal taxpayer dollars.
  • Founding and leading the Hydropower Reform Coalition which has restored flows in thousands of river miles and protected thousands of acres of riverside ecosystems.
  • Hosting more than 800,000 volunteers through our National River CleanupProgram at river cleanups across the country, cleaning more than 100,000 river and stream miles and removing more than 1,000 tons of trash.

Protecting Rivers

  • Spearheading the campaign to pass the second largest Wild and Scenic package in history to safeguard more than 1,000 miles of rivers in Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Vermont, and Massachusetts and include important protections for more than 350,000 acres of riparian land along 86 new Wild and Scenic Rivers.
  • Establishing the creation of the Waccamaw Blue Trail in South Carolina as a model for capitalizing on working with land trusts to educate landowners about the importance of healthy rivers and protecting key landscapes.
  • Working with more than 400 local, state, and regional conservation groups for more than two decades to list America’s Most Endangered Rivers, spotlighting the threats to their rivers in local and national media and providing clear actions for the public to take to help save these important rivers.

Clean Water

  • Leading the battle to reinstate the Clean Water Act’s ability to protect the nation’s small water streams and wetlands.
  • Working with state legislators to implement an innovative stormwater law that requires “environmental site design,” which incorporates green infrastructure practices to ensure that water is managed on site as much as possible.

Water Supply

  • Issuing a landmark report on water efficiency solutions in the Southeast that outlines 9 proven, timely and cost-effective steps that save water and help ensure rivers remain valuable community assets.
  • Negotiating with irrigators to craft a landmark water management agreement that protects stream flows on the Columbia River.