Collaboration and Coalition Building

Collaboration leads to results and American Whitewater has a long history of collaboration and coalition building. We are proud to play a strong leadership role in two coalitions addressing hydropower reform, and a supporting role in several other coalitions. The benefits of collaboration and coalition building are vast but include workload sharing, institutional knowledge sharing, brainstorming creative solutions, combining advocacy power, professional relationship building, and reducing interference and duplication among likeminded organizations and most importantly consensus among diverse groups. The drawbacks of collaboration and coalition building can include increased time investment, drawn out decision-making processes, reduced flexibility and efficiency. Strong leadership, and explicit goals and work load distribution can reduce any drawbacks and capitalize on the significant benefits to working with others. Volunteers working on river stewardship issues are encouraged to openly collaborate with other agencies and organizations. Volunteers seeking to formally sign American Whitewater onto a coalition should first contact the appropriate American Whitewater staff for approval.

Hydropower Reform Coalition (HRC) and the California HRC

American Whitewater is a member of the steering committee of the HRC and a founding member of the CHRC. The HRC and CHRC exist as forums for members to collaborate, network, and share information regarding the complex field of hydro relicensing. These two organizations offer excellent opportunities for volunteers to network with other members and to learn from others’ experiences. We encourage anyone interested in volunteering or otherwise working on hydro issues to check out the HRC and CHRC websites, and to use these organizations as a source of learning and expertise.

The Hydropower Reform Coalition is a consortium of national, state, and local conservation and recreation organizations working to achieve river conservation and restoration through improved operation of hydropower dams.

Formed in 1992, the Coalition is dedicated to improving the quality of rivers, ensuring continued public access to rivers, and reforming the relicensing process to ensure river protection in every FERC licensing. To achieve these goals, Coalition members intervene in relicensings across the country.

Through the relicensing process, the Hydropower Reform Coalition has made progress in restoring rivers impacted by hydropower dams, and has made FERC take seriously its legal obligation to give equal consideration to power and non-power river resources (such as fish, wildlife and recreation) when reviewing hydropower applications. Specifically, the Coalition advocates for:

  • Improved instream flows

  • Restoration of flows to de-watered bypass reaches

  • Fish passage facilities, where necessary

  • Public access to the river for recreation

  • Protection of riparian habitat

  • Environmental restoration and mitigation trust funds

  • Planning for long-term dam maintenance or retirement

  • River-wide planning and cumulative analysis

The Coalition coordinates efforts to strengthen members' individual advocacy efforts; develops legal and strategic guidance documents for use in individual proceedings; and works with natural resource agencies on the state and federal level to improve their involvement in individual proceedings.

The Coalition also advocates policy and practice improvements at FERC and resource agencies and meets regularly with the hydropower industry to educate them to our issues and improve relationships in individual proceedings. More information on the HRC can be found at:

The California Hydropower Reform Coalition (CHRC) is a diverse group of river advocates working to: protect, enhance, and restore California rivers adversely affected by hydropower expand stakeholder and public support for hydropower reform effectively leverage the coalition’s collective resources

The CHRC is uniquely situated to work with agencies and dam owners to craft creative solutions that reflect the public’s demand for healthy, vibrant rivers that support fish, wildlife, and recreation, as well as clean and renewable electrical power. The CHRC will continue to create and seize such opportunities and help bring about a new paradigm for California hydropower. More information on the CHRC can be found at:

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!