Watershed Blog

Photo by Mike Curiak

When You Can’t Paddle Enough Take Action for Rivers

By Evan Stafford, American Whitewater,

With the declaration of a global health emergency by the World Health Organization it’s become clear that everyone on the planet will be deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, including American Whitewater and our incredible supporting community. In uncertain times many of us take refuge on the water, but losing ourselves in the flow of a familiar river simply will not be available to most of us for a little while. One thing you can do though is stand with American Whitewater as we continue to work for all our favorite rivers. We need your continued engagement to give our voice the strength of our community. Action for rivers now so we can enjoy them in the future.

We anticipate that some of our members will suffer financially during these challenging times. It’s important that we keep our community together and engaged with our river stewardship work despite economic hardships. To assist with that effort we have started a new program to extend complimentary basic memberships to our members who have lost their jobs or are suffering financial hardship as a result of the novel Coronavirus.

Rivers, regardless of if we’re paddling them or not, need sufficient flows and protections from pollutants and other threats in order to thrive. We’ll keep working on that. Our stewardship work has a long history of supporting the necessary instream flow regimes that keep rivers clean, healthy, and functioning properly on both an ecological and biological level. Bad actors that threaten rivers aren’t quitting their efforts (in some cases their doubling down) and therefore neither can we. We plan to remain vigilant in our efforts to push back on bad policy, stop poor development plans that threaten rivers, and rally our community to support our program to protect, restore and ensure our access to rivers across the country.

Here’s a handful of actions you can take right now as a part of our current stewardship work:

You can also help us spread the word in the paddling community to, “Keep it in Your Zip-Code.” Our guidelines on how to figure out if, when, and where paddling is a good idea right now.

American Whitewater is well positioned to stay the course with our river stewardship program. We pride ourselves on running a tight financial ship–we received our tenth 4-star rating (highest possible) from Charity Navigator for our financial practices and transparency in 2019, and we have a small, but very efficient and dedicated staff. If you’re in a position where you still can financially support our work, there’s no better time than now to help us continue with our mission.

Your support and engagement plays a lead role in our ability to continue our river stewardship work, even while our community has to remain on the river bank. The team at AW is looking forward to better days ahead, when we can all catch eddies together and bask in the healing power of rivers. Keep on looking downstream.