Stopping Water Pollution
American Rivers’ Clean Water program works on the local, state, and federal level to promote green infrastructure by advocating for innovative policies and demonstrating effective conservation practices.
American Rivers’ advocates for a new approach to water management that values the clean water benefits provided by natural landscapes and innovative stormwater management techniques. Our goal is to ensure enough clean water for communities and ecosystems by implementing green infrastructure solutions and protecting small streams and wetlands.
American Rivers is working to ensure that we use our infrastructure funding more wisely by encouraging smart, 21st century approaches that will more effectively protect clean and safe water into the future. We advocate for sustainable approaches like green infrastructure, water efficiency, and reuse to complement and extend the life of traditional infrastructure. These approaches often require less money while providing greater environmental and community benefits, including green jobs, reduced flooding, temperatures and energy costs, and community beautification.
American Rivers hosted the workshop "Solutions for Municipalities Managing Stormwater" at Swarthmore College in January 2009. The workshop was conducted to present sound stormwater management to municipalities and their engineers, citizen-based watershed groups, and civic leadership.
American Rives has put together a stormwater messaging project designed to figure out how to talk about green infrastructure solutions to stormwater in a way to make decision makers understand and listen. The stormwater messaging tutorial provides an overview of communications planning, the results of our research, and some information about word choice.
American Rivers helped secure important water infrastructure funding for green infrastructure and water efficiency as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Benefits from these projects have included clean water, reduced flooding and energy use, and cooler temperatures.
American Rivers is working to restore DarbyCcreek and use green infrastructure to mimic the way water would naturally flow over the land. The Darby Creek restoration project will restore habitat and stream function by removing four barriers within the creek. At the same time, American Rivers’ Clean Water program has partnered with several local agencies and groups to install rain barrels at homes and foster community based solutions to stormwater management.
American Rivers completed retrofitting over 12 acres of impervious surface in the Wilson Park Creek Subwatershed.
An economic stimulus package has passed that a portion of spending is being allocated to wastewater and drinking water infrastructure and ecosystem restoration. Projects that can apply for funding include habitat restoration projects, flood management projects, stormwater mitigation projects, habitat restroation, and water infrastructure projects.
American Rivers is working at the local level to review current codes and ordinances to provide sound recommendations to Planning Commissions and legislative bodies to reduce hard surfaces, create incentives to implement low impact development techniques such as rain gardens, bioretention, and green roofs, and protect buffers. These local changes will reduce polluted stormwater runoff and flooding and increase greenspace.
For the first time in years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its intention to tackle this issue through new national stormwater regulations slated for proposal in September 2011 and finalized by November 2012.
American Rivers is working to reverse the threats to public health and the environment posed by increased sewage in our rivers and streams. We are seeking significant increases in funding for stormwater and wastewater infrastructure improvements through legislative change and in the federal budget. American Rivers advocates for green infrastructure stormwater solutions (such as permeable pavement, green roofs, and rain gardens) that reduce stormwater runoff that flows into sewer systems and triggers sewer overflows.
American Rivers is promoting green infrastructure solutions within state urban stormwater permits. Green infrastructure is a proven solution that is easily implemented in urban areas.
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.
American Rivers and the Garden District Neighborhood Association recently received a grant through Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Program. The funding is helping transform an area on Milwaukee’s Southside into a sustainable showcase for urban community gardens across the country.
American Rivers was recently recognized for their work with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee. Over the past year we helped the Housing Authority secure $225,000 from the Fund for Lake Michigan of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation for bioswales in a reconstruction project of Wisconsin's largest public housing cluster on Milwaukee's northwest side.