Moving forward after the election: Rivers Connect Us

Rivers and clean water can and should be bipartisan issues. But make no mistake: we will stand in strong defense of rivers and clean water when we must.

JD Hascup

After one of the most divisive presidential election campaigns in history, the American people have spoken and Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States.

In a country divided in so many ways, we must strive to remember those things that connect us. Rivers connect us to one another, to nature, to our history, and to future generations. Regardless of political party, we all need clean water and healthy rivers. By uniting around healthy rivers, we can improve public health and safety, ensure reliable water supplies, grow our economy and boost quality of life in communities nationwide.

Today, American Rivers releases A Nation of Rivers: A River Conservation Agenda for the New Administration available at www.AmericanRivers.org/RiverAgenda.

President-elect Trump’s rhetoric about the environment during the campaign was not encouraging, but I hope that, in governing, his administration will continue to recognize that protecting the environment for all Americans is not a partisan issue.

Indeed, some critical American Rivers successes have been launched by leaders of both parties.  For example, the Penobscot Dam removal was jumpstarted by $10 million secured with the invaluable help of the George W. Bush administration and its then-OMB Director, the current Senator from Ohio, Rob Portman.

The program that provides funding for many of our dam removal projects was last authorized in a law passed by a Republican Congress in 2006 and signed by President Bush.

The Yakima Integrated Plan has Republican and Democratic elected officials leading the way. And the legislation that protects the headwaters of the Snake River as Wild and Scenic is named after the late Republican Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming, who fought for its passage.

Rivers and clean water can and should be bipartisan issues. As the new administration takes shape, American Rivers will work with it and Congress where we can to protect and restore rivers and conserve clean water.

But make no mistake: we will stand in strong defense of rivers and clean water when we must. With our quarter-million members and supporters behind us, we will vigorously fight all efforts to weaken environmental protection.

On a more personal note, the campaign brought out some dark and ugly rhetoric about people of color, Muslims, the disabled, immigrants, Native Americans, women, and the LGBT community. Rivers don’t care where you came from or where you’re going, what you believe and what you don’t believe, who you love or who your parents were.

At American Rivers we respect the dignity of every human being who works for us, who works with us, and who we see on the river.

American Rivers’ greatest strength lies in our people – our staff, supporters, activists and volunteers – and the knowledge, experience and passionate commitment to rivers that we bring to our work every day. The election results have not changed that. In fact, as we rise to new challenges and our resolve is renewed, that strength will only grow.

12 responses to “Moving forward after the election: Rivers Connect Us

  1. Keith unfortunately our envirornment is endangered by the politics of the GOP.Please open your eyes before it is too late

  2. This is a wonderful article Bob! I work for a whitewater rafting company and would love to use a quote of yours here “Rivers don’t care where you came from or where you’re going, what you believe and what you don’t believe, who you love or who your parents were.” Mainly for social media posts, but may we use it with a photo? Of course we would credit you: William Robert Irvin – President, American Rivers. Thanks for all you do;)

  3. I find it interesting that no one that I know of has researched the building of dams…and the diversion of cold river waters for farms and cities…as a factor in coastal coral reef death/overheating.

    Surely the reduced cold river water flows to coastal waters is causing coastal waters to overheat….and coastal corals to die via coral bleaching…which is known to be caused by the warming of coastal waters.

    The U.S. and China are now known to have an estimated 80,000 small, medium and large dams EACH.

    Several major rivers around the world no longer even reach the sea anymore….because of dams and river water diversions for farms and cities.

    Australia…where the great Barrier Reef is…has some of the most heavily dammed river systems on earth….and cold river water flows to Australia’s coastal waters have been greatly reduced in the last 50 years…because of these dams….this is likely a powerful factor in coral bleaching there….yet the press rarely explores this concept.

    The Murray River in Australia…I believe is one of those rivers listed…..which no longer reaches the sea anymore….because of dams and river water diversions for farms and cities.

  4. Yes indeed we protect wildlife, water, air…for people. While I was not a Trump supporter I realize today its important to see if it will really be as bad as suggested. Trumps sons hunt. Hunters and fishermen are often the most aware of the natural environmental. Again, its a style thing and would be great to take this as an opportunity to see how much we all have in common as opposed to our differences. White,black,rich,poor,sex whatever we have been defining all seem to be a spirit of division. We all bleed red and we all like fresh air and water. Lets be part of a solution, own up to our pollution and divisive remarks. Act locally think globally. Do one more thing to help nature in your back yard that you have not done before. Pass up on a chance to promote a gender or sexual movement and speak to how we are together. How we are alike. Such small acts collectively speaks volumes.

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  7. I’m not one who typically leaves comments on topics such as this, but felt compelled. As a long time member of TU and American Rivers, I welcomed Bob’s comments and agree with PJ’s reply, supporting Bob’s communication. I found nothing snarky about it, just truthful.

  8. PJ:

    I do not need to be educated about different Acts that protect our environment. I proudly volunteer and contribute to many conservation groups and I would fight vigorously to defend these Acts. Rivers have always had a special place in my heart. I understand that politicians are the ones that pass laws. It is just my opinion, but Bob could have taken one small paragraph out of his article and achieved the exact same goal….but it is his article.

  9. As someone who has supported American Rivers and is actively involved with my Trout Unlimited chapter protecting and improving our rivers, I find your communications often more divisive than helpful. We need as many people as possible invested in protecting our rivers and natural resources. Snarky political comments achieve none of it. I have no idea about the political leanings of my fellow trout unlimited members, I just know they are very passionate about the health of our local rivers. Maybe if American Rivers became less political and more inclusive, you might have a wider base of support. Then, maybe you could enact real change in protecting and improving our treasured resources.

    1. Sorry that you read my call for focusing on things that unite us, such as protecting clean water and healthy rivers, in the wake of a divisive election as too political. It has been a difficult election campaign, but I take heart that we can bridge the political divide by working together to protect and restore rivers and conserve clean water. I hope you will continue to support American Rivers in doing so.

    2. Unfortunately Keith, it is politics that have large impacts on protecting our natural resources. Have you ever heard of the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, or NEPA? I believe that Bob was pointing out the fact that our president elect does not believe in things like Global Warming or the fact that the west is in a serious drought. It sounds like Bob is communicating the opposite of what you are saying. He is trying to point out that major accomplishments can and have been done with bipartisan actions. Even though we elected a president who seems like he does not have some of the same view points as many of us, we should all work together to find common ground in protecting our rivers and streams and everything dependent on them.

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