The future of 2.6 million acres of high value public forest lands is at risk. Managed mainly by the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon known as Oregon and California (“O&C”) lands, these forests are home to perhaps the highest concentrations of pristine wild rivers in the United States. Watersheds such as the Rogue, Illinois, Umpqua, and McKenzie support abundant fish and wildlife, including elk, black-tail deer, back bear and the healthiest wild salmon and steelhead runs south of Canada.
American Rivers and partners are working to protect new rivers with Wild and Scenic designation, including rivers in the North Cascades, Olympic Peninsula, and the Rogue. They are outstanding rivers with special fish and wildlife habitat, clean water, and recreation opportunities for future generations.
The Yampa River in northwest Colorado is the last major free-flowing river in the Colorado River Basin. Carving through beautiful canyons and rich with history, the Yampa joins the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. Because of its wild nature, the Yampa and its canyons provide refuge for endangered species and offer unparalleled recreational opportunities.
In December 2012, the Bureau of Reclamation released the Colorado River Basin Study, a comprehensive look at projected water shortages and outdated water management in a basin that the American west has drawn heavily on for decades.
Communities in 19 states, working in partnership with non-profit organizations and state and federal agencies, removed 65 dams in 2012, American Rivers announced today. Outdated or unsafe dams came out of rivers across the nation, restoring 400 miles of streams for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people across the country.
River restoration can be a win-win situation, inviting nature back in to become the centerpiece of a thriving community. In the city of Oakley, river ecology has sparked a community's interest and engagement.
Until 1998, the Colorado River stretched all the way from its source in the Rockies to Sea of Cortez. Now, it dries up in the Sonoran Desert miles before it reaches the sea. The Colorado River is the lifeline of the west, fueling economies in seven states where people use the river's water for their material sustenance; millions more use the river itself for recreation.
The fish ladder on Marsh Creek, upstream from Dutch Slough in the Bay Delta, enables salmon to bypass a 6-foot high dam and access 7 miles of salmon habitat upstream.
With our funding support and planning assistance, the Horse Creek dam in the Sisquoc River basin near Santa Barbara was blown up to make way for steelhead.
We have helped fund a local watershed group to remove numerous poorly designed road crossings that prevented coho salmon and steelhead from reaching large portions of the Mattole River watershed.
The Verde River is an important tributary to the Colorado River and a unique resource in Arizona. One of the few perennially flowing rivers in the Southwest, the Verde sustains lush riverside forest, a large and diverse wildlife population, and provides critical drinking water to many Central Arizona communities. Aboriginal cultures have been present in the area for thousands of years. Cliff dwellings can still be seen in the rocks above the river.
Meadows are critical to the larger watershed because of their unique hydrologic and ecological functions. They store spring floodwaters and release cool flows in late summer; they filter out sediment and pollutants, produce high-quality forage and provide habitat for rare and threatened species. American Rivers is currently working on the critical needs of our Sierra Meadows through several different projects.
Our list of 60 dams that were removed in 2010, benefitting hundreds of miles of rivers nationwide.
We are developing and standardizing methods to assess, prioritize and restore Sierra meadows and guidelines for monitoring post-restoration outcomes.
In California, at least 80% of the historic spawning and rearing habitat historically available to salmon and steelhead has been blocked by barriers. Our California program focuses on removing obsolete dams and other barriers to provide fish migration and restore more natural river conditions
American Rivers is providing funding to California State Parks through our National Partnership with the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program to look at the possibility of dam removal and river restoration to open up over 60 miles of Eel River to salmon. Dam removal would mean there would be no more barriers to salmon on the South Fork of the Eel River. The dam is also a liability and cost to California State Parks and California taxpayers so there would also be financial benefits to removal.
The Klamath River once supported the third-largest salmon run on the West Coast. Today, salmon and steelhead runs are a fraction of their historic abundance, with some near extinction.
Some of California's oldest dams are located on the Yuba river, blocking salmon and steelhead from their historic habitat in the upper Yuba basin.
The West Fork of the Carson River meanders down the Sierra through Hope Valley, a highly visible meadow American Rivers is working to restore with our project partners.
Flood risk is growing in the Central Valley because the current flood conveyance system is insufficient to contain existing or future floods. American Rivers is working to reduce risk, restore ecosystems through flood conveyance and appropriate land usage.
American Rivers is working to protect and restore the Delta for fish, birds, and people, and to provide sufficient water supply for the people of California through habitat restoration, flood management improvements, among other changes in operation.
As exemplified by the Yolo Bypass in California American Rivers is promoting the multiple benefits provided by flood bypasses for risk reduction and habitat restoration.
A bypass in the Lower San Joaquin would provide the only opportunity for expanding conveyance capacity, to protect cities, enhance habitat, and prepare for climate change.
American Rivers is working to integrate sustainable flood management strategies into the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan to protect Californians, restore native habitat, and enhance the reliability of upstream reservoirs.
American Rivers is participating in the first major tidal wetlands restoration on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, restoring over six miles of shoreline and providing recreational opportunities.
The Yolo Bypass flood easement allows California to flood land in for public safety and ecological benefit. To expedite the habitat restoration and native species revival on the bypass American River is advocating for a controlled notch system on the Fremont Weir.
Through the relicensing of the Oroville Dam, American Rivers is helping to restore water flows and temperature, floodplain habitat, habitat for salmon and steelhead, and improve recreational opportunities along the Feather River.
American Rivers installed green infrastructure (raingarden, bioswale, and pervious concrete) to help eliminate runoff pollution before it reaches the Yuba River, spawning grounds for spring run Chinook salmon.
We are exploring how meadow restoration directly impacts private landowners, particularly ranchers, and where meadow restoration on private land can yield multiple economic and conservation benefits.
The Pauley Creek Meadows projects is restoring 440 acres of Sierra meadows, linking three large meadows together and introducing citizen science monitors to this beautiful landscape.
Restoring cultural and ecological integrity to Bear Valley Meadow while integrating climate change predictions into the restoration design
American Rivers' Montana Wild Rivers Campaign aims to protect the state's great, pristine rivers while they are still pristine, safeguarding against climate change and harmful development.
American Rivers is partnering with the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the Environmental Law Institute on a one-year project exploring the links between water efficiency and instream flows in the Colorado River basin.
The Sierra Water Trust project seeks to improve water quality and increase aquatic function and biodiversity in the Sierra Nevada Region through building capacity to use water rights acquisition as a tool for stream restoration, to examine watershed problems in a broader context and to use science to monitor and manage water availability and use in Sierra streams.
Creating a win-win situation for rivers and agriculture in California's San Gregorio watershed.
The Flathead River is one of American Rivers' 2009 Most Endangered Rivers. The river is threatened due to mining and overdevelopment.