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AVEDA Ross Park for American Rivers

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BENEFITING: American Rivers

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THE STORY:

American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation's rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of "America's Most Endangered Rivers." Headquartered in Washington, D.C., American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Why Rivers? o Nearly every American lives within one mile of a river or stream o Rivers are our lifelines, providing two-thirds of our drinking water, as well as habitat for fish, birds and wildlife o Rivers give us places to fish, boat and enjoy nature, and local communities reap the economic benefits that these activities brings. o Healthy rivers are essential for the well being of our communities – but they are under tremendous pressure § Too much water is being pumped out § Too much pollution is being dumped in § Too many dams block our rivers § Harmful development is chewing up too many acres of riverside lands § Climate change is bringing more severe and frequent floods and droughts, challenging communities like never before · Dam Removal/River Restoration-we work on many dam removals in the area. o There is no faster way to bring rivers back to life than through dam removal. Reconnecting rivers improves: § Improved water flows important for fish (especially migratory fish) and other aquatic species § Safety by removing structures that are no longer necessary and may be a hazard to people and nature § Access for recreation such as boating and fishing o AR is the national leader in river restoration/dam removal – we have deep implementation expertise and track record from across the country. We have the capability and established relationships and processes to take the lead in the actual project implementation (dam removal) and lead training. o We also typically punch above our weight; lean and effective river restoration leader nationally and in SW PA. Our staff person in the area, Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, is considered one of the regions foremost experts; she frequently speaks at local, regional and national practioner conferences. PA has been the national leader in the number of dams removed for the past 12 years. This is the result of having an enabling environment of effective policies, state funding and capable practicioners leading the projects. o We work with partners on everything we do – we provide technical expertise as part of our goal to build the movement to accelerate and scale dam removal efforts. These types of partnerships are really at the core of who we are at American Rivers. Collaboration is a standard way of working our all of our projects. o Specifically in PA, direct 1x1 assistance is provided to orgs like TNC, Western PA Conservancy, state and federal agencies (USFWS, USFS, Army Corps, NOAA etc.) and other conservation groups that seek our help. In PA, 22 dams were removed in 2015. AR was directly involved in 5 and the overall number is informed by AR’s success at building other organizations capacity to lead such projects. o AR’s goal is to restore and protect priority watersheds in western PA so that rivers in these places can reclaim their status as assets that support recreation, ecosystems, and enhanced quality of life for surrounding communities. § We aim to further improve the health of selected high-quality watersheds that already support critical fish and wildlife habitat and place a select number of the regions most impaired waters on a trajectory for improvement. § We plan to scale our work in SW PA and throughout the state to work in broader partnerships. § We also plan to begin developing floodplain restoration projects in tandem with dam removals and culvert replacement. § Specific dam removals in our pipeline include: · Kingston Dam · McConnell Dam · West Fork dams · National River Cleanup - Volunteer Engagement program o We are celebrating the 25th year of the program in 2016 o Typically we work with a handful of organizers in Pittsburgh and about 15-20 in the state. o Cleanups are a great way to organize an event (we can help) or we can provide a list of events happening that you can share with folks who might be interested. · America’s Most Endangered Rivers campaign o 10 rivers highlighted each year, this year we will be releasing the list on April 12 o Each river has a specific action that individuals can take to help address the threat(s) facing that river · Other program work that we do at American Rivers o River Protection: securing federal designations like those provided by the Wild &Scenic; Rivers act to protect stretches of wild rivers all across the country. The act is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary in 2018, but we are starting to ramp up a celebration starting later this year that will carry us through the anniversary year. § Goal – protect 5,000 new miles of Wild & Scenic rivers and one million acres of riverside land. o Ensuring Clean Water for People and Nature – ensure ample supplies for fish, wildlife, agriculture and communities § Goal – reduce pollution in 100,000 miles of river and improve clean water for one-third of all Americans. o Restore damaged rivers to improve flows, reconnect fish and wildlife habitat and improve public safety § Goal – remove 400 hazardous and outdated dams, restore 10,000 miles of rivers and 1,000 acres of floodplains

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