The election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States — and Kamala Harris as the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first woman of Indian heritage to be elected vice president —  presents a historic opportunity to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and ensure clean water for all.

“We congratulate President-elect Biden on his victory and we look forward to working with his administration to repair the damage done to rivers over the past four years. By uniting around healthy rivers, we can improve public health and safety, create jobs, and improve lives in communities nationwide.” – Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers.

With the advent of a new administration and Congress, we have a historic opportunity to restore our rivers and clean water as we rebuild our nation and economy from the ravages of COVID-19, while also repairing the damage done to rivers and clean water during the past four years. 

  • Millions of people in the U.S. lack access to clean, safe, affordable water.
  • Forty-four percent of assessed waterways in the U.S. are too polluted for fishing and swimming, and forty percent of North America’s freshwater species are at risk of extinction. 
  • Climate change is bringing more severe droughts and floods, putting intense pressure on water resources across the country and disproportionately impacting Black, Latino and Indigenous communities. 

Our moment is now: American Rivers pledges to work with the Biden administration and Congress to enact and implement five ambitious policy initiatives. The five priorities in American Rivers’ 2021 Blueprint for Action are:

1. Invest in rivers and clean water to recover from COVID-19

2. Reverse regulatory rollbacks and restore strong, effective federal protection for rivers and clean water

3. Improve protection and management of the nation’s floodplains

4. Launch a national initiative to prioritize and fund dam removals

5. Increase protection of Wild and Scenic Rivers

Rivers and water can unify us in polarized times, as we saw this election season in Colorado. As Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers says, “Our slogan at American Rivers, Rivers Connect Us, is worth remembering as a newly elected President Biden and Congress tackle the nation’s pressing issues in the next four years. While there is a Republican River that flows through Nebraska and Kansas, and a Democrat Creek in Colorado, support for rivers and clean water should not be a partisan issue.”