Topic: Watersheds

News & Insights

World Water Day 2024: Peacebuilding through Dam Removal

This Friday, March 22, is World Water Day. Each year, the United Nations marks the day, March 22, by highlighting the importance of freshwater and the need for more collaborative and sustainable water management. The theme for this year’s global observance is “Water for Peace.” That plea seems apt. Around the world, we see ample evidence that water scarcity creates and prolongs conflict, while cooperative and equitable approaches to water management can foster peace - building prosperity and resilience for all. In the American West, water use has been a source of conflict for well over a century – the…

News & Insights

Documentary Spotlights Dam Removal Partnerships

To celebrate its first five years of work, Open Rivers Fund—a program of Resources Legacy Fund, launched in November 2016 with a 10-year, $50-million investment from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation—worked with film director Jason Jaacks to produce a documentary highlighting several dynamic dam removal projects and partnerships that are reshaping waterways across the American West. The 15-minute documentary, “Restoring Our Rivers: Communities Taking Action,” premiered on Thursday, March 23 at the Washington, DC Environmental Film Festival. The film takes a look at aging dams and the problems they cause, answering a question made increasingly urgent by climate change: How…

Programs

Wildfire Strategies Program

Our Wildfire Strategies program aims to achieve a more wildfire-resilient California and Western United States by 2030 through better policy and significantly increased funding for forest management, community resilience and home hardening, Tribal leadership on forest stewardship and fire management, and public health measures that protect people from the impacts of smoke. The program supports research, coalition-building, budget advocacy, and tests innovative proofs of concept for broader adoption. Related News: We need federal leadership on wildfire and smoke safety, by Laura Tam and Jennee Kuang, July 19, 2023

Programs

Open Rivers Fund

The Open Rivers Fund supports local community efforts to remove obsolete dams, modernize water infrastructure, and restore rivers across the American West. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation supported the Fund’s launch in 2016 with a 10-year, $50 million grant aimed at removing barriers that impair river function and pose challenges, costs, or risks to communities. In addition to creating significant environmental and economic benefits, the Fund also seeks to build technical knowledge, organizational wherewithal, and public awareness in order to enable future projects. More information at openriversfund.org Related News: World Water Day 2024: peacebuilding through dam removal, by Briana…

Programs

Land-Sea Connection

The Land-Sea Connection (LSC) program, launched in 2017, works  to advance the long-term health and resilience of California watersheds by promoting more effective local and state policies and conservation programs; supporting high-value, on-the-ground conservation efforts; and helping secure equitable and sustained public funding to support community needs. The LSC program, funded by the Campbell Foundation, seeks to improve stewardship and reduce impacts to watershed health across a range of issues, with focused investments related to cannabis cultivation, agricultural practices, and urban runoff/stormwater. Related News: Climate Change Necessitates Stronger Safety Net for Farmworkers, by Liz Parissenti and Laura Tam, March 31,…

News & Insights

Partnership and Vision Restoring Abundance to Tomorrow’s Rivers

In the last few years, we’ve witnessed what is becoming a profound change across the American West. Obsolete dams are coming down. Streams are being restored. Tribes are reconnecting with the fish runs of their ancestors. Irrigation diversions are easier to manage. And water is cleaner.   If one follows the water through our nation’s rivers, the removal of these dams might look like isolated incidents. But the individual acts are adding up to a significant whole, and momentum is growing. Change like this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes careful planning, prudent investment, smart partnerships, and effective tools.   Thanks to…

News & Insights

Pandemic Spotlights Importance of Local Farms to Food Security

COVID-19 has hit our economy like a wrecking ball. While news headlines have been filled with stories about bars re-closing and shuttered hair salons, even the most fundamentally essential of industries, farming, has been hard hit. Now, as wildfires rage across more than a million acres of California, dense smoke fills the air, further compromising the health and well-being of those working to put fresh food on our tables. Just as the first spring crops of asparagus and strawberries were beginning to show up at California farmers markets in March, schools and restaurants throughout the nation abruptly closed and entire…