The mission of American Rivers is to protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers and conserve clean water for people and nature.

Organization scope



Ted Illston
(202) 347-7550

Resources from American RiversAll resources

Comments › Laws, court cases, and filings   7/2/2021

Felt Dam Draft License Application Comment

Videos   1/1/2013

Hydropower Reform Can Save Rivers

Comments › Laws, court cases, and filings   4/23/2021

Office of Public Participation Comment

Videos   9/2/2011

River of the Year

Videos   1/1/2012

Save the Skykomish River


News and updates from American RiversAll news


New Web Project Traces Every Waterway in Contiguous U.S.

Calling all river-lovers and map enthusiasts! A new web project called River Runner, created by data analyst Sam Learner, allows you to follow the path of a raindrop anywhere in the contiguous United States. Using data from the United States Geological Survey, Learner mapped the flow of water throughout all 48 adjoining states. Just click […]


“Supercharging” river restoration: a landmark bill to boost dam removal nationwide

This blog was written by Ted Illston and Brian Graber. The impacts of climate change — felt first and hardest on rivers and water resources in the form of floods and droughts — threaten fragile ecosystems, public health and safety, cultural heritage, our economy and our future. It’s why restoring healthy, free-flowing rivers must be a top priority for Congress and the Biden […]


Salmon and Orca Summit a historic milestone, opportunity for action

Salmon and orca are facing extinction as dams block river habitat and climate change heats up Northwest streams. That’s why the Salmon and Orca Summit on July 7 and 8, hosted by the Nez Perce Tribe and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, is so timely. The summit, which will take place on the traditional homelands of the Squaxin Island Tribe, represents hope, opportunity, and […]


River Democracy Act: Protecting Headwater Streams Protects Rivers

As our collective understanding of the value of healthy watersheds has grown, so too has our appreciation of the critically important role of source water and intermittent streams — those that flow only part of the year — play in providing clean water, habitat and recreation. Across Oregon we have many examples of intermittent and […]


Bloede Dam Removal Receives Engineering Accolades

On June 17, 2021, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) honored the Patapsco Interceptor Relocation and Bloede Dam Removal, Catonsville, Maryland, at its 2021 Engineering Excellence Awards. This is a national juried competition that evaluates projects from around the world on their excellence in technical savvy, innovation and overall social impact. Projects are rated […]


Introducing a new Water Justice Toolkit for Frontline Communities

The Clean Water Act. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The Freedom of Information Act. Environmental laws in the United States are meant to protect the natural environment and create equitable and just outcomes for communities. While the U.S. is a leader in environmental regulations and safety, there is a long history of Black […]


Watauga River Free Flowing Again

The unused hydro dam stretched across the Watauga River in mountains of North Carolina, obstructing free river flow and movement of animals.  Today, it is gone. Today the river again flows freely, reconnecting with 140 miles of waterways. Today the Watauga is a better home for native brook trout, freshwater mussels, and hellbender salamanders.  Removing […]


Science & the Sacred: the Duty of Water in the West

The multitude of studies and reports about the impacts of climate change on western water and the Colorado River Basin increasingly come to parallel, if not precisely the same, conclusions: the future will be warmer and drier, with less water. The studies also show that the process of warming and aridification is happening faster than […]


When Predicting Less Leaves Room for More

When the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) released their standard 24-month study in April 2021, the reaction from media was swift: this is bad news. These regular forecasts project factors of water management—like inflow, releases, power generation and storage levels—for the Colorado basin, and the forecast’s “most probably” model predicts two back-to-back years of 7.48-million-acre-feet releases […]


Protecting the Olympic Peninsula: The Future of the Wild Olympics Act

When anyone asks me my favorite color, I simply say ‘Hoh River Blue’ and show them this photo: Hoh River, WA | Photo by Colin Wiseman The jaw dropping Hoh River on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula is just one of the 19 rivers and their tributaries that are proposed to receive federal protection under the […]