White House’s Freshwater Challenge is Historic Commitment to Clean Water, Healthy Rivers

April 23, 2024

Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145 

American Rivers today hailed President Biden for the America the Beautiful Freshwater Challenge, which sets bold new national goals for the protection of freshwater resources. These goals include protecting and restoring 8 million acres of wetlands and 100,000 miles of rivers by 2030. 

The White House announcement comes one week after American Rivers released its annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® report, spotlighting threats to clean water nationwide. The report points to a recent Supreme Court ruling that drastically narrowed federal Clean Water Act protections, leaving millions of miles of streams and wetlands vulnerable to pollution. 

Tom Kiernan, President and CEO of American Rivers, made the following statement: 

“This is a milestone moment. These are the boldest ever goals for clean water and rivers put forth by an administration. With this Freshwater Challenge, which builds on bi-partisan conservation commitments to preserve freshwater including the George H.W. Bush administration’s goal of ‘no net loss’ of wetlands, the Biden administration is underscoring the importance of clean water and rivers to our health, safety, economy, and strength in the face of climate change.” 

“The Biden administration’s goals are a significant step toward achieving the protections our rivers need. There are more than 3 million miles of rivers in the U.S. and American Rivers has set the goal of protecting at least 1 million miles and removing 30,000 outdated dams by 2050.” 

“Clean water is a bipartisan issue that should unite us, not divide us. Whether you’re a parent, a business owner, a hunter or fisherman, a farmer or rancher, clean water is our most fundamental need. Rivers and clean water can bring our communities together around lasting solutions with benefits for all.” 

“We applaud the administration for its vision and its emphasis on collaboration and partnership. American Rivers is committed to working with the administration and galvanizing the nationwide river movement to achieve the action our rivers and communities need.”