We love to talk about our trips! (541) 450-9855

6 River Conservation Groups to Support

From clean drinking water to sustainable economies based on outdoor recreation, rivers provide far more than just a good vacation! Since people protect what they love, our guides work hard to educate guests on the importance of river ecosystems. Our collective goal is to inspire support for conservation efforts.

With the holidays coming up, we want to share some of our favorite PNW river conservation groups and how they fight to preserve rivers for future generations. However you prefer to show support, we hope to spread the river love a little extra this holiday season!

1. American Whitewater

As the primary advocate for the preservation of whitewater rivers in the United States, American Whitewater is dedicated to protecting and restoring rivers nationwide. Taking on projects related to policy & legislation, flow protection & restoration, and access & enjoyment, AW is a frontrunner in the fight for healthy rivers.

American Whitewater hosts a Rogue River rafting trip with us each year
American Whitewater hosts a Rogue River rafting trip with us each year

Emphasizing recreational river usage, they also aim to enhance recreational opportunities for whitewater paddlers. This makes this organization a great match for anyone looking to connect through local chapters or community events!

How to support American Whitewater: Give a gift, Volunteer, Become a Member

2. KS Wild

KS Wild promotes science-based land and water conservation through policy and community action. Specializing in the Klamath-Siskiyou region, they work to protect and preserve the region through four main goals. These goals are: protecting forests, retaining wildlands, preserving clean water, and safeguarding wildlife.

Though we may be biased, we are especially big supporters of their river conservation initiatives. Taking a whole-ecosystem approach, they prioritize projects that advocate for water quality, salmon conservation, and riparian health restoration.

In search of whitewater in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area
In search of whitewater in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area

Currently, they are working with partners across the state of Oregon to pass the River Democracy Act (S. 192). This is a bill that would expand protections to over 4000 miles of rivers and streams in Oregon. Show your support for KS Wild to get this bill moving forward!

How to support KS Wild: Give a gift, Volunteer, Take Action

3. Native Fish Society

Once iconic fish populations in the Pacific Northwest–such as salmon and steelhead–are rapidly declining. This is due to a combination of stressors resulting from climate change, habitat degradation, and historic overfishing.

Native Fish Society actively works to change this present-day crisis by advocating for the recovery of wild, native fish. Working in Pacific Northwest watersheds directly, this nonprofit aims to protect fish populations through science, field work, and advocacy.

Chinook in the Rogue River 1200x669 by Mark Conlin-Alamy Stock
Chinook salmon swim up the Rogue River to Spawn. The lower Rogue tributaries are known for their fishing. (Mark Conlin-Alamy Stock)

By regularly involving local community members in their stewardship program and volunteer opportunities, Native Fish Society has built a network of support that educates and inspires everyone in the fight to keep both fish and rivers wild.

As a personal anecdote, this group is absolutely wonderful to volunteer with! I have helped with invasive plant removal and stream survey projects. Staff are enthusiastic about their work and provide excellent educational materials for new volunteers. Veteran volunteers are always welcoming when adding new numbers to their ranks! However you decide to help, I guarantee this is a great organization to support this holiday season.

How to support Native Fish Society: Give a gift, Volunteer, Take Action

4. Kalmiopsis Audubon Society

With nearly 400 members, the Kalmiopsis Audubon Society is a grassroots organization that advocates for conservation, responsible land use, and stewardship of public lands and wild rivers of southwest Oregon. Their work covers three main areas:

  • Advocacy for Conservation of Bird, Fish, and Wildlife habitat
  • Education and Outreach
  • Community Science
Inflatable Kayaks on the Chetco River
Inflatable Kayaks on the Chetco River

Southwest Oregon and northern California have the largest concentration of National Wild and Scenic Rivers in America, so we have to give a special shoutout to KAS for their work on some of our favorite rivers such as the Rogue, Illinois, and Chetco! They also work on projects related to old-growth forests and coastlines.

Emphasizing local support and public understanding, KAS runs an award winning newsletter, The Storm Petrel. This quarterly newsletter provides the perfect way to stay up to date on issues impacting southern Oregon’s coast.

How to support Kalmiopsis Audubon Society: Give a gift, Volunteer, Become a Member

5. Rogue Riverkeeper

Founded as a program of KS Wild in 2008, Rogue Riverkeeper provides public oversight of Clean Water Act implementation in the Rogue River Basin. They are a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international network of advocates fighting for clean water worldwide.

Amongst their many projects and initiatives, their main priority is to safeguard the health of the Rogue River. They use the Clean Water Act to improve water quality in the Rogue watershed. They also work to protect and restore native fish and healthy communities through advocacy, accountability, and community engagement.

Some other projects they work on revolve around forestry practices, dredge mining, and wastewater pollution.

The view from Inspiration Point on the Rogue River
The view from Inspiration Point on the Rogue River

As avid users of the Rogue River, we highly recommend supporting this group! We love that they involve community members in their work through events and volunteer projects. They also offer an easy-access pollution report form for members of the public to report spills, pollution, algal blooms and other evidence of pollution.

How to support Rogue Riverkeeper: Give a gift, Volunteer, Act Now

6. Kalmiopsis Guides Association

As an association of guides that work in and around the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, the Kalmiopsis Guides Association advocates for the rivers and trails of this wilderness region.

The Kalmiopsis Wilderness is a 179,850 acre wilderness that is home to the Illinois, Chetco, and North Fork of the Smith River. All three of these rivers are designated as National Wild and Scenic Rivers. Still there are multiple rivers in this region–such as Rough and Ready Creek and Josephine Creek–that are eligible for Wild and Scenic designation.

NWRC Guides Exploring Chrome Creek in the South Kalmiopsis
NWRC Guides Exploring Chrome Creek in the South Kalmiopsis

The KGA works to preserve trail systems in the wilderness while also advocating for river conservation initiatives. In 2019, this group sent Northwest Rafting Company guides to Washington D.C. to advocate for protection of rivers. They are currently working towards their goal by writing letters to U.S. Senators and Representatives that describe the values of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

With new projects in the works for 2022 regarding trail access, this group is one to consider for the holidays!

How to support Kalmiopsis Guides Association: Give a gift, Become a Member

Originally Published: | Updated on | Categorized under: River Conservation

Post Author

Madison Montgomery

With a background in ecology and conservation, Maddy has spent the last several years working in various fieldwork roles across the US. Though she is an Indiana native, she is thrilled to be living in the Pacific Northwest where she can hike, camp, and spend time exploring the outdoors with her dog, Kelly.