<span class='large'>Impact</div> <span class='small'>Report 2021</div>


John Haydock, Chair of the Board of Directors (left) and Tom Kiernan, President and CEO
John Haydock, Chair of the Board of Directors (left) and Tom Kiernan, President and CEO (right)
Photo: Steve White

Rivers are the salves we have relied on over the past year to calm our spirits and give us peace. Maybe rivers have given you the same sort of solace and hope. A way to get outside and laugh (as we did while fishing on Crystal Creek in Wyoming). And a lifeline that kept your body healthy. If you’re like us, rivers have also provided you with an avenue to make a positive difference in the well-being of our planet and communities.

As the hardships of the past year have made clear, we need each other in order to achieve our goals. American Rivers is no different.

It takes listening to and learning from frontline communities and Indigenous Peoples. It takes partnering with local leaders, businesses, elected officials, and other conservation groups to notch wins that protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers, and conserve clean water for people and nature. It also takes you, our donors, without whom none of our accomplishments would be possible.

So here are some of the key successes your support of American Rivers helped us achieve in 2021. These are your wins — from rivers we freed from the chokehold of dams, to ground gained in our untiring quest for clean water for all, to enormous leaps toward permanently protecting more river miles than at any other time in history. We couldn’t have achieved any of this without you.

And you have a vital role as we chart the path forward. Because withstanding the major challenges of our time — climate change, inequity, and the biodiversity crisis — will take all of us paddling in rhythm in the same direction. Healthy rivers give us the opportunity to address each of these threats and ensure that our ecosystems, communities and nation are resilient. This is our moment to reach even higher as we drive forward the movement for healthy rivers and clean water.

We invite you to join us as we travel onward, together.

Tom Kiernan
President and CEO
John Haydock
Chair of the Board of Directors


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Clean Water

Dam Removals & River Restoration

River Protection

Photo: Ben Herndon, Northwest Strong

Snake River salmon

Salmon in the Pacific Northwest’s Snake River are teetering on the brink of extinction because of four dams on the lower Snake that have blocked their migration for 50 years. American Rivers is supporting calls from Native American tribes across the region to remove the dams. Over the past year, we’ve seen bipartisan momentum toward our vision of a healthy, free-flowing lower Snake River.
The Grand River runs through the heart of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Clean Water for Communities

Catching rain and cleansing it before it reaches rivers and lakes is the new frontier in managing pollution cities send into our waterways. Being able to afford natural ways to do so is another story. American Rivers water finance expert, Shanyn Viars, explains how an innovative new model will help communities pay to implement river-friendly solutions.

Dams Removed
American Rivers has removed or influenced the removal of 95 percent of the more than 1,700 dams torn down across the country since 1999.
River Miles Protected
American Rivers also lent strategic support to local campaigns to protect rivers in California, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and elsewhere.
1.1 Million
Pounds of trash removed from rivers and streams
Our National River Cleanup® program mobilized 32,149 volunteers in 47 states to clean up 2,918 miles of their hometown rivers.
Fish swimming in river

Your Voice For Rivers

When President Biden took office, American Rivers was ready with a bold blueprint for action that calls on the administration and Congress to make rivers and clean water a priority. Here are important steps taken toward our goals.

Restore Rivers

One of the biggest steps forward for river restoration in the past year was the introduction of the 21st Century Dams Act. American Rivers was instrumental in negotiating this bipartisan legislation that would restore 10,000 miles of rivers by removing 1,000 dams.

Improve Floodplains

In our 2021 Blueprint for Action, American Rivers called on the Biden administration and Congress to require federally funded infrastructure to be built to a higher standard that is safer and more resilient to floods. By executive order, President Biden instated key standards — a step toward improving protection and management of the nation’s floodplains.

Protect Ecosystems

We provided strategic vision, advocacy and outreach support to campaigns to permanently protect 6,700 miles of rivers in Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. All together, the legislation would increase the Wild and Scenic Rivers System by 50 percent.
Yellowstone River, Montana | Photo: Pat Clayton

Your Support

The generosity of our donors added up to more than $19,829,184 in financial support to American Rivers.
2021 Revenue*
  • 34% Individuals & Contribution
  • 29% Foundation Grants
  • 2% Corporations
  • 26% Government
  • 9% Other
2021 Expenses*
  • 75% Program Services
  • 15% Fundraising
  • 10% Management and General
*July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021
Thank you to every individual, corporation, foundation, trust and estate that made a philanthropic gift to American Rivers July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021.