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Photo Credit: Don, Adobe Stock

River conservation – restoring the vital arteries of the West


Living rivers are vital to the diversity of life on earth, from the tens of thousands of sandhill cranes that migrate from Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge along the Rio Grande to as far north as southwestern Alberta, Canada, to the human communities whose history is inextricably linked to the ebb and flow of their local waterways. When rivers dry up and vanish, that life vanishes too.

The Wild Rivers Program seeks to revive free-flowing, living rivers in the American West and to achieve a sustainable water future by working to protect clean water, healthy flows, and resilient communities.

Wild Rivers Program Work

WildEarth Guardians is a voice for Western rivers. From the iconic Rio Grande to the Colorado River, we believe in living, dynamic rivers from source to sea. Learn about our vision for the Rio Grande: America’s Great River, the challenges it faces, and how you can help.

Our Vision

Like any living thing, the Rio has a pulse. We strive to restore that pulse—and return life to the river.

The Landscape

The Rio Grande’s flows carve unique geologic features, create a haven for wildlife, and support many human communities.

A Challenged Rio

The Rio faces formidable challenges, from archaic water law to dams, pollution, and climate change.

Living Rivers

Be a Guardian for rivers! Visit our action center to see ways you can help in the effort to revive and restore rivers and all the species that depend on them.


Brave New Wild Blog

Rivers Press

Rio Grande now just a trickle of water in Albuquerque

Albuquerque Journal | Sep 11, 2023

It’s time water managers stop draining the Rio Grande to death and bring the river back to life.

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All Rivers Op-Eds

Major kokanee salmon die-off at Foster Reservoir caused by extreme drawdown at dam

The Register-Guard | Oct 10, 2023

The lower reservoir levels are aimed at helping baby salmon pass through outlets deep on the dams they'd otherwise struggle to locate.

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All Rivers In the News