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American Whitewater Joins Partnership to Conserve and Restore America’s Rivers

Posted: 04/23/2024
By: Thomas O'Keefe

Today, April 23, 2024, American Whitewater was invited to join the Biden Administration in announcing a new freshwater initiative, “The America the Beautiful Freshwater Challenge: A Partnership to Conserve and Restore America’s Rivers, Lakes, Streams, and Wetlands.”

American Whitewater has joined this partnership recognizing the fundamental role of our nation’s waterways to the health, prosperity, and resiliency of our communities, and recognizing that these resources are held sacred by many Tribal Nations. 

The primary goals of the partnership are to 1) reconnect, restore, and protect 8 million acres of wetlands by 2030; and 2) reconnect, restore, and protect 100,000 miles of our nations’ rivers and streams by 2030. The benefits of these actions are numerous and include maintaining water quality that is healthy and safe for recreation, ensuring that freshwater resources continue to support regional and rural economies including outdoor recreation, protecting our drinking water supplies, and supporting aquatic ecosystem biodiversity.

American Whiteater is committed to realizing the goals of this partnership through the following actions:

  • Building upon our track record as the nation's foremost organization involved in more individual hydropower licensing proceedings than any other. We will continue our work to restore natural flow regimes to rivers affected by hydropower operations and advocate for the removal of dams when their environmental and social justice impacts outweigh any benefits.

  • Protecting thousands of miles of rivers through federal Wild and Scenic Rivers legislation, state administrative processes such as the designation of Outstanding National Resource Waters, and campaigns for National Monument status or other administrative actions that safeguard rivers.

  • Restoring the full protections of the Clean Water Act, including protecting wetlands and headwaters that are vital to the health of downstream waterways. Whitewater paddlers understand the importance of clean and healthy rivers in preserving human health and providing communities with opportunities for outdoor recreation.

  • Promoting interim protections for a robust system of rivers deemed eligible for Wild and Scenic River designation, through much-needed policy clarification.  

  • Marshaling the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other funding sources to purchase and conserve important river corridors.

  • Engaging local communities, investing in recreational access to rivers, and providing education on public safety around rivers will bolster regional and rural economies that rely on outdoor recreation.

We thank the Administration for the important commitments they have made to protect and restore rivers for ecosystem health and community benefits. We stand ready to further our work in partnership with the federal government to realize the benefits health rivers provide for all who use and enjoy them.


Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
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