Resources & Case Studies

This database provides resources to help you build a Blue Trail or conservation minded water or paddle trail in your community. It includes information on a number of different things, including helpful case studies, reports from American Rivers and our partners, recorded webinars, as well as information on safety, liability, and public and private access.

HOW TO USE THE DATABASE

There are two ways to search the database – by category or keywords.
Search by category: Click on the category that best describes your project and click “search.” You will be brought to a page with the resources related to that category.
Search by keywords: Type in the keywords that best describe your project (e.g. “recreation” or “recreation and habitat”) and click “search.”
Search by category and keywords: To further refine your search, you can combine the two options. First select your category and then search by keywords (e.g. your category is “Colorado” and your keyword is “recreation and habitat”).

Category: Plan

  • Show Detail

    A Guide to Sustainable River Recreation Management Planning

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life.
    wendy mcdermott, nooksack river

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life. Most Americans live within a mile of a river or stream, and much of our drinking water comes directly or indirectly from rivers and streams. Beyond providing all these useful services, rivers are also just plain fun. River recreation is not only fun, but it also boosts local economies and creates more than 800,000 valuable and sustainable jobs across the US. In fact, the OIA research also stated that outdoor recreation participants spend $86 billion annually on watersports alone, the second highest revenue stream behind camping (at $142 billion).

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    There is little doubt that enjoyment of our natural resources is valuable. However, there are challenges such as over-crowding, pollution, and resource degradation that arise when outdoor recreation is not properly managed. Not only is the river at risk, but users may also experience dangerous situations if river health and recreational amenities are not managed properly. For example, when river hazards, such as low-head dams and other potential diversions, are not well marked, kayakers or tubers who are unfamiliar with the river could go over the dam and get caught in a recirculating pool at the bottom of the rapid. Too many users on a river at one time could lead to water quality issues if trash or human waste is not properly managed.

    Additionally, conflicts between diverse user groups, such as anglers and paddlers, could pose unique challenges to the management approach. Conflicts may occur when paddlers or tubers disrupt the fishing activity of anglers by overcrowding sections of river, moving into eddy’s and other areas where fish naturally hide.  Wildlife watchers could also be negatively impacted when other user groups like campers along the river or other river users make noise that scares away birds or wildlife. Lastly, the recreation experience is further diminished by conflicts created by illegal activities such as trespassing, littering, or illegal dredging occur along rivers.

    While rivers are resilient, like any natural resource there comes a tipping point. River recreation management helps strike a balance between encouraging recreation and protecting our communities’ most valuable natural resources. A framework for designing recreation improvements and managing ongoing use has emerged from collaboration with public land management agencies and local jurisdictions.

    The process of creating a river recreation management plan provides an opportunity to engage people around their rivers, educate community members about rivers in general and build support for their long-term protection. It also provides an opportunity for individuals already actively engaged around their local rivers to share their knowledge with others in the community.

    The goal of this guide is to provide a framework for local governments, planners, non-profit organizations, and others to develop an effective river recreation management plan that has strong community support. It will provide resources and case studies that shine a spotlight on communities that have navigated the recreation management planning process and developed and implemented successful river recreation management plans. The guide is organized in the following steps:

    1. Gather Information
    2. Solicit Input and Build Community Support
    3. Set Management Priorities
    4. Develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
    5. Fund Your Plan

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    The creation of a river recreation management plan will help communities enhance recreational and economic opportunities, preserve the outstanding values that make local rivers and their connection to the local community special, and leave a legacy of healthy rivers for generations to come.

     

    Photo Credit: Nooksack River, WA; Wendy McDermott

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Using Sustainable Tourism to Create Support for River Conservation

    [embed]https://www.

    Watch our webinar led by Chris Seek the president and CEO of Solimar International, as he describes how communities can use sustainable tourism to build support for river conservation through a case study in the Verde Valley of Arizona.

    As one of Arizona’s last perennial rivers, the Verde River is one of the state’s most unique and threatened natural resources. Its watershed and riparian habitats are critical local ecology for human, animal, and plant life. To preserve and restore this valuable resource, Solimar International and National Geographic Maps implemented a sustainable tourism program in the Verde Valley region to bring together 6 communities and hundreds of tourism businesses and conservation organizations to increase the value and importance of the river as a vital economic asset.

    Participants will learn:
    – Using tourism as a catalyst for public engagement for tourism development and river conservation;
    – Ways to generate awareness of and interest in visits to the region;
    – How to create powerful tools for the promotion of river communities as sustainable tourism destinations.

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    Public Access Guide for Landowners and Water Trails & River Managers

    Provided by our partners at the River Management Society, this is an easy-to-understand guide on a serious topic that often draws questions from water trails directors, managers and volunteers.
    LWCF funded boat ramp on the Missouri River_Mike Fiebig

    Provided by our partners at the River Management Society, this is an easy-to-understand guide on a serious topic that often draws questions from water trails directors, managers and volunteers. It is written in plain English and offered in two formats.

    Public Access Guide for Landowners and Water Trails & River Managers Report

    Public Access Guide for Landowners and Water Trails & River Managers Slideshow Presentation

     

     

    RMS is enthusiastically appreciative of the effort by many on this project, particularly RMS intern Jack Henderson, and both Corita Waters and Lelia Mellen, National Park Service. Additional acknowledgements are noted in the documents.

     

    Photo Credit: Mike Fiebig, Missouri River

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    Webinar: Utilizing Codes and Ordinances to Protect Rivers and Clean Water

    Learn more about working with your community to use codes and ordinances to protect rivers and clean water.

    Learn more about working with your community to use codes and ordinances to protect rivers and clean water.

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    Codes and Ordinances to Protect Rivers and Clean Water

    Local governments have an important role to evaluate their own codes and ordinances to ensure they are protecting our communities and our waterways.

    Local Codes and Ordinances

    Local governments have an important role to evaluate their own codes and ordinances to ensure they are protecting our communities and our waterways. Through Blue Trails, or conservation focused water trails, we can reconnect people to their rivers through outdoor activities and to build support for protecting areas along the river from unwise development by strengthening codes and ordinances.

    Codes and ordinances can be developed to protect clean water and healthy rivers in a number of different ways, including green infrastructure and protecting critical riverside lands. Across the country, communities have worked to incorporate low impact development practices into existing zoning code such as integrating rain gardens and bioretention (green infrastructure approaches) into landscaping requirements and removing barriers to using permeable pavement in parking lots. Communities have also worked to protect critical riverside land habitat by implementing tree ordinances to protect riverside trees, restrict redevelopment after timber harvesting, and use natural systems instead of expensive man-made structures to filter and store stormwater, resulting in improved water quality, preserved wildlife habitat, and prevented soil erosion. Other communities have worked to pass an ordinance requiring a 25-foot buffer along the river as part of its Land Use Regulations.

    Changing Local Ordinances in Your Community

    Most communities have a legislative body elected by the public, such as a city council, county board, or village board, to make changes to existing ordinances or pass new ordinances. In addition to the local legislative body, your community likely has a Planning Commission or similar subcommittee that specializes in land use issues. Although the Planning Commission does not have authority to pass laws, they can give powerful recommendations to the legislative body and once an ordinance is enacted, the Commission is typically given the responsibility of implementing its requirements. Once you become familiar with the structure of your local government, start researching existing zoning codes and building and subdivision regulations to see where opportunity exists to make change.

    Resources

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    Webinar: Community Benefits of Open Space and Recreation

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities.

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities. Toby Sprunk with the Eagle County Open Space in Eagle County, Colorado will discuss more about how their work to protect land and improve recreation has positively impacted the communities along the Eagle and upper Colorado rivers.

    Interested in learning more about ways to connect with partners and manage conflict? Participate in our online community forum – post your experiences and share your social media successes and challenges with other members of our community.

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    Webinar: Making the Most out of Community Partnerships

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

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    Webinar: Simple Steps to Building a Successful Sponsorship Program

    Are you looking for new tools for developing a new or making more out of your corporate sponsorship program?

    Are you looking for new tools for developing a new or making more out of your corporate sponsorship program? Watch this webinar where you’ll learn the best practices for getting the most out of a corporate program and cultivating potential supporters.
    Read more…

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    Webinar: New tools available to improve recreation and conserve rivers

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river.

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river. These tools include an online inventory of federal funding programs, an online community forum where you can connect with and learn from others doing similar work, and more! See questions and answers from this webinar in the community forum.

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    Assessing Community Values on Conservation, Waccamaw River Blue Trail Polling

    In 2009, American Rivers, the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and the Pee Dee Land Trust began working with communities along the Waccamaw River in South Carolina to create a Blue Trail with the goals of enhancing recreational opportunities, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.
    Case Study 2 - Scott Bosse

    In 2009, American Rivers, the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and the Pee Dee Land Trust began working with communities along the Waccamaw River in South Carolina to create a Blue Trail with the goals of enhancing recreational opportunities, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.

    When we began our work on the Blue Trail, we wanted to know more about how communities along the Waccamaw feel about it as a community resource as well as efforts to improve recreational opportunities and protect it for future generations. We hired a professional polling firm to help us. Read more…

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    Developing Effective Partnerships, Waccamaw River Blue Trail

    American Rivers, and our partners the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and Pee Dee Land Trust, began working to establish the Waccamaw River Blue Trail in South Carolina in May 2009 with the goals of enhancing recreation, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.
    Kayaking on the Rad River

    American Rivers, and our partners the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and Pee Dee Land Trust, began working to establish the Waccamaw River Blue Trail in South Carolina in May 2009 with the goals of enhancing recreation, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.

    A key component of our success is the strength of our local partnerships. Within the first months of beginning our work on the Blue Trail, we convened the first meeting of the Upper Waccamaw Task Force, a coalition of stakeholders that includes many land protection leaders in South and North Carolina including The Nature Conservancy, the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, city and county planners, Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER®, Pee Dee Land Trust, Ducks Unlimited, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The focus of the Task Force is the protection of lands along the Upper Waccamaw corridor, an area facing an increasing number of threats from poorly planned development. Read more…

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    Conservation Benefits, Hitchcock Creek Blue Trail

    American Rivers helped to transform Hitchcock Creek in Rockingham, North Carolina into a destination for fishing, boating, and other family-friendly recreation.

    American Rivers helped to transform Hitchcock Creek in Rockingham, North Carolina into a destination for fishing, boating, and other family-friendly recreation. Until 2009, the Steeles Mill dam degraded Hitchcock Creek, blocking migrating fish and preventing the community from safely enjoying the river through recreation. American Rivers and our partners removed the dam, and created a 14 mile Blue Trail. Read more…

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    Conservation Benefits, Waccamaw River Blue Trail

    In 2009, American Rivers, the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and the Pee Dee Land Trust began working with communities along the Waccamaw River in South Carolina to create a Blue Trail.

    In 2009, American Rivers, the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and the Pee Dee Land Trust began working with communities along the Waccamaw River in South Carolina to create a Blue Trail. Our goals were to enhance recreational opportunities, connect communities to their hometown river, and protect clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.

    Thanks to a diverse and effective partnership with conservation organizations, cities and counties, chambers of commerce, local businesses and others we have made great progress in improving recreational opportunities and protecting the Waccamaw for future generations. Read more…

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    Meeting In A Box

    This tool was developed by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy to help organize productive and enjoyable meetings when trying to gain public support for your project.

    This tool was developed by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy to help organize productive and enjoyable meetings when trying to gain public support for your project. Read more…

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    Access and Navigability

    Public access to rivers is a complex issue.
    Ridgway CO | Stephen Mankowski

    Public access to rivers is a complex issue. Accounting for navigability laws, the rights of the public versus landowners, and the role river management agencies play can be a difficult and confusing task. Does a paddler have the right to walk on private land in order to portage around an obstruction in the river? Who owns the riverbed? What determines if a river is suitable for recreation? As rivers are used more and more, the answers to these questions are becoming increasingly important.

    Given the lack of federal guidance for this issue, each state assumes the primary role for setting the policies and regulations that govern public access to rivers. As such, river access and navigability laws differ greatly from state to state.

    American Whitewater’s Navigability Toolbox  clarifies the access and navigability rights of the public and provides detailed information concerning the policies of every states and Puerto Rico. It is a helpful tool for anyone interested in creating a Blue Trail.

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    Liability

    Liability can be a concern among landowners.

    Liability can be a concern among landowners. The fear of a lawsuit may keep private landowners from opening their land to blue trail users even though they would like to share their land with the public. Public land managers also deal with the issue of liability. Fortunately, most states have enacted laws that, to varying degrees, limit private and public landowner liability. These laws can be useful to you in developing your trail.

    For private lands, these laws are called Recreational Use Statutes. For public lands, the governing law is usually the state’s Governmental Immunity Act or State Tort Claims Act. These laws are important because they can place the burden of responsibility on blue trail users and keep users from shifting that responsibility to private landowners and public land managers. Read more…

Category: New Mexico

Category: Recreation

  • Show Detail

    Ecotourism Benefits through River Conservation

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies.
    duluth 2 - hansi

     

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies. Communities have learned how to promote their natural amenities, and as a result have created “destinations,” resulting in evolving recreation and tourism opportunities.

     

     

    Read Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation

    To illustrate the benefits communities have discovered by protecting and restoring local rivers, American Rivers developed Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation, a series of case studies highlighting gateway communities and how they have benefited from local river and land conservation. These towns frequently find visitors entering the communities to access parks and other recreation areas — staying in campgrounds and hotels, eating meals in town, purchasing supplies, and exploring the area’s natural and cultural resources.

    Each gateway community we present is unique, experiencing their own set of opportunities and challenges. These gateway communities have discovered local treasures — often hidden right before their eyes, and have embraced the evolution from an extraction-based economy to one that celebrates and sustains it’s livelihood through a recreation/tourism based existence.

    Gateway Community Case Studies:

    The following collection of case studies illustrates examples of communities developing and promoting and ecotourism ethic across the country:

    · Blackfoot River Valley, Montana — Blackfoot River

    · Conway, South Carolina — Waccamaw River

    · Duluth, Minnesota — St. Louis River

    · Eagle, Colorado — Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers

    · Jackson County, Oregon — Rogue River

    · Rockingham, North Carolina — Hitchcock Creek

    Photo Credit: St. Louis River, Duluth, MN; Hansi Johnson

  • Show Detail

    A Guide to Sustainable River Recreation Management Planning

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life.
    wendy mcdermott, nooksack river

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life. Most Americans live within a mile of a river or stream, and much of our drinking water comes directly or indirectly from rivers and streams. Beyond providing all these useful services, rivers are also just plain fun. River recreation is not only fun, but it also boosts local economies and creates more than 800,000 valuable and sustainable jobs across the US. In fact, the OIA research also stated that outdoor recreation participants spend $86 billion annually on watersports alone, the second highest revenue stream behind camping (at $142 billion).

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    There is little doubt that enjoyment of our natural resources is valuable. However, there are challenges such as over-crowding, pollution, and resource degradation that arise when outdoor recreation is not properly managed. Not only is the river at risk, but users may also experience dangerous situations if river health and recreational amenities are not managed properly. For example, when river hazards, such as low-head dams and other potential diversions, are not well marked, kayakers or tubers who are unfamiliar with the river could go over the dam and get caught in a recirculating pool at the bottom of the rapid. Too many users on a river at one time could lead to water quality issues if trash or human waste is not properly managed.

    Additionally, conflicts between diverse user groups, such as anglers and paddlers, could pose unique challenges to the management approach. Conflicts may occur when paddlers or tubers disrupt the fishing activity of anglers by overcrowding sections of river, moving into eddy’s and other areas where fish naturally hide.  Wildlife watchers could also be negatively impacted when other user groups like campers along the river or other river users make noise that scares away birds or wildlife. Lastly, the recreation experience is further diminished by conflicts created by illegal activities such as trespassing, littering, or illegal dredging occur along rivers.

    While rivers are resilient, like any natural resource there comes a tipping point. River recreation management helps strike a balance between encouraging recreation and protecting our communities’ most valuable natural resources. A framework for designing recreation improvements and managing ongoing use has emerged from collaboration with public land management agencies and local jurisdictions.

    The process of creating a river recreation management plan provides an opportunity to engage people around their rivers, educate community members about rivers in general and build support for their long-term protection. It also provides an opportunity for individuals already actively engaged around their local rivers to share their knowledge with others in the community.

    The goal of this guide is to provide a framework for local governments, planners, non-profit organizations, and others to develop an effective river recreation management plan that has strong community support. It will provide resources and case studies that shine a spotlight on communities that have navigated the recreation management planning process and developed and implemented successful river recreation management plans. The guide is organized in the following steps:

    1. Gather Information
    2. Solicit Input and Build Community Support
    3. Set Management Priorities
    4. Develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
    5. Fund Your Plan

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    The creation of a river recreation management plan will help communities enhance recreational and economic opportunities, preserve the outstanding values that make local rivers and their connection to the local community special, and leave a legacy of healthy rivers for generations to come.

     

    Photo Credit: Nooksack River, WA; Wendy McDermott

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Using Sustainable Tourism to Create Support for River Conservation

    [embed]https://www.

    Watch our webinar led by Chris Seek the president and CEO of Solimar International, as he describes how communities can use sustainable tourism to build support for river conservation through a case study in the Verde Valley of Arizona.

    As one of Arizona’s last perennial rivers, the Verde River is one of the state’s most unique and threatened natural resources. Its watershed and riparian habitats are critical local ecology for human, animal, and plant life. To preserve and restore this valuable resource, Solimar International and National Geographic Maps implemented a sustainable tourism program in the Verde Valley region to bring together 6 communities and hundreds of tourism businesses and conservation organizations to increase the value and importance of the river as a vital economic asset.

    Participants will learn:
    – Using tourism as a catalyst for public engagement for tourism development and river conservation;
    – Ways to generate awareness of and interest in visits to the region;
    – How to create powerful tools for the promotion of river communities as sustainable tourism destinations.

Category: South Carolina

  • Show Detail

    Ashley River Blue Trail Maps

    The Ashley River provides an amazing connection between a historically significant river and diverse natural resource in South Carolina in a relatively undisturbed tidal ecosystem.
    Ashley Scenic River | Credit: South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources

     

    The Ashley River provides an amazing connection between a historically significant river and diverse natural resource in South Carolina in a relatively undisturbed tidal ecosystem. Are you interested in planning your next trip to the Ashely River, or getting out to explore your hometown river? Check out our Ashley River Blue Trail map to learn where to access the river, find historic features and explore this Lowcountry gem. As a reminder the Ashely River Blue Trail flows from north to south.

     

    Ashley River Blue Trail (North – start of Blue Trail)

    Ashley River Blue Trail (South – end of Blue Trail)

     

Category: Wyoming

Category: Webinars

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    Webinar: Community Stewardship through Experiential Education

    [embed]https://www.

     

    Watch our webinar, Community Stewardship through Experiential Education. Learn how communities can implement a community-based approach to watershed conservation using experiential education as a primary tool. During this free 30 minute webinar, River Restoration Adventures for Tomorrow’s Executive Director Dan Omasta will highlight the multi-faceted, community-based approach to watershed conservation they have implemented, including a series of methods that can be used by communities across the country to bolster projects along local rivers. Much of the dialogue is focused on a series of trips that empowered a wide range of river runners – high schools students to civilians with disabilities – to better appreciate and protect the ecosystem on the Gunnison River near Delta, Colorado.

    Participants will learn:
    1. How and why it is important to Incorporate service into experiential education
    2. The three legs of sustainability (environmental, economic, social) as core principles of experiential education & the model RRAFT has developed
    3. The successes and challenges of collaboration and stakeholder development as it relates to experiential education and RRAFT’s work in the Gunnison River watershed.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Using Sustainable Tourism to Create Support for River Conservation

    [embed]https://www.

    Watch our webinar led by Chris Seek the president and CEO of Solimar International, as he describes how communities can use sustainable tourism to build support for river conservation through a case study in the Verde Valley of Arizona.

    As one of Arizona’s last perennial rivers, the Verde River is one of the state’s most unique and threatened natural resources. Its watershed and riparian habitats are critical local ecology for human, animal, and plant life. To preserve and restore this valuable resource, Solimar International and National Geographic Maps implemented a sustainable tourism program in the Verde Valley region to bring together 6 communities and hundreds of tourism businesses and conservation organizations to increase the value and importance of the river as a vital economic asset.

    Participants will learn:
    – Using tourism as a catalyst for public engagement for tourism development and river conservation;
    – Ways to generate awareness of and interest in visits to the region;
    – How to create powerful tools for the promotion of river communities as sustainable tourism destinations.

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    Webinar: How to Activate Your Constituency to Identify Community Led Water Supply Solutions

    [embed]https://www.

    Watch the November monthly webinar with Jennifer Schoonen of the Blackfoot Challenge describes how she has worked with local stakeholders to identify community-led water supply solutions in Western Montana. Stakeholders in Western Montana’s Blackfoot Watershed have developed voluntary conservation solutions in a time of increasing natural resource challenges – particularly drought. The Blackfoot Drought Response Program has brought together anglers and ranchers, fisheries biologists and hydrologists to collaborate on reducing the social, economic and ecological impacts of water shortages during drought. But it is a program in transition, with changes in water rights and long-term climate patterns among the many influences now leading to a new era of drought resiliency planning.

    Tune in to learn:
    – How the Blackfoot’s community-based drought response program began and has been adapted over the course of the last 20 years.
    – How additional watershed stewardship programs – including irrigation efficiency and stream restoration – have played a critical role in supporting drought response.
    – How to adapt programs like this to a new normal of climate and water supply and the changing economic needs of rural communities and build additional resiliency.

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    Webinar: How to Improve Community Engagement with Innovative Planning Tools

    [embed]https://youtu.

    Did you miss our October webinar, How to Improve Community Engagement with Innovative Planning Tools? We recorded it, and it is available to view today here! Teva Dawson with The Des Moines Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) led us through the innovative techniques for outreach and community engagement that they used for their recently completed 18-month planning effort to protect 150 miles of urban streams.

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    Webinar: How can maps help you? Utilizing Maps to Prioritize Recreation and Conservation

    [embed]https://youtu.

    Tune in today and learn how to utilize mapping tools like GIS and Google Earth to prioritize recreation and conservation initiatives along your river. Laila Johnston of American Rivers led a 30 minute webinar describing how maps can help inform conservation and recreation. She described the different types of mapping tools that are available, and dove deeper into a case study example on the Waccamaw River and how she has gathered and utilized a variety of data sources to help create informative maps for conservation and recreation.

    Tune in and learn:

    • How to identify, gather, and utilize existing data sources to help create layers for maps including recreation access points, property ownership and conservation opportunities;
    • Suggestions on best practices for using GIS and other mapping tools to create maps and planning documents; and
    • Additional mapping tools, other than traditional GIS, that are available to prioritize initiatives along your river
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    Webinar: Making the Case for Recreation and Conservation – The Upper Nooksack River Recreation Plan

    [embed]https://www.

    Are you interested in learning about the collaborative efforts to create recreation and conservation plans? This webinar describes the process taken to create the Upper Nooksack River Recreation Plan. Stemming from efforts to protect the Upper Nooksack through Wild & Scenic River designation, the plan provides recommendations for non-motorized recreation and protection of its natural and cultural values. Webinar participants will learn to how initiate multi-stakeholder, cross-jurisdictional collaborative planning; the basics of Wild & Scenic River designation and perceptions about their management; and methods of fostering community engagement in recreation management.

    Flowing west from the peaks of the North Cascades to the salty waters of the Salish Sea, the Nooksack is one of the few remaining river systems in Washington that supports populations of all five species of Pacific salmon, as well as steelhead, bull trout, and cutthroat trout. Bald eagles, black bears, cougars, and elk are among the native wildlife inhabitants. It is also a world-class, outdoor recreation haven, providing local residents and area visitors with fishing opportunities, trails, riverside campsites, whitewater boating, and winter sports.

    Tune in and learn:
    – Learn how to initiate and coordinate a multi-stakeholder, cross-jurisdictional collaborative planning process
    – Understand the basics of Wild and Scenic Rivers and perceptions about Wild & Scenic River management
    – Hear about the importance of community engagement with planning and resource management

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    Webinar: Building Support for Conservation Funding Initiatives

    [embed]https://www.

     

    Are you interested in learning more about creative funding initiatives for river protection, restoration and improved recreation? Watch our webinar, Building Support for Conservation Funding Initiatives, featuring Kate Thorpe, Deputy Director at Conservation Voters for Idaho and the Treasurer of Boise for Clean Water and Open Space. She discussed how she worked with the local community to organize and pass a two-year override levy to protect the rivers and lands around Boise. She will talk more about how this effort came to fruition and the key milestones that occurred along the way.

    On November 3, 2015, a resounding 74% of voters in the City of Boise voted to approve a levy to establish a fund for $10 million to protect clean water and open space. The temporary, two-year override levy will preserve and protect water quality, wildlife and native plant habitat, and open space for recreation in the city’s foothills and along the Boise River corridor. Efforts to pass this levy were community wide and built upon a strong conservation and open space legacy in the City of Boise. Conservation Voters for Idaho lead the Boise for Clean Water and Open Space campaign, the effort to educate voters on the levy and generate support to pass it. 

    Tune in and learn the answers to these questions:
    • What are key ways to build initial support?
    • What are examples of successfully engaging the community to build support?
    • What are tips and suggestions for passing a levy or bond in your community?
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    Webinar: Build Support For Your Cause Through Storytelling

    [embed]https://youtu.

    Earlier this spring, we hosted part one of our webinar series on creative communications. Please join us for the second installment in the series, a free 30 minute webinar on “Building support for your cause through storytelling.” It’s proven that people remember stories, not facts alone. This is an opportunity for you to learn how to tell your story in a way that builds support for your cause.
    Watch today and learn the answers to these questions:
    • What should you consider when developing creative messaging?
    • What are key ideas that will help you determine what story you will tell?
    • What are the best ways to share your story with your audience?
    Presenter: Sinjin Eberle, American Rivers
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    Webinar: Planning for Recreation and Conservation with Diverse Stakeholder Groups

    [embed]https://www.

    Diverse stakeholder groups are critical when planning for recreation and conservation. Watch this webinar featuring Tahnee Robertson and Andi Rogers of Southwest Decision Resources as they discuss ways to improve collaboration and coordination in stakeholder groups. 

    Tune in and learn:
    – Tips for working with stakeholder groups
    – Benefits of diverse stakeholder groups
    – Case study examples from around the country

    Unfortunately we experienced some technical difficulties during this webinar. You can find the slides associated with the presentation here and follow along.

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    Webinar: Marketing Eco-Tourism in Your Community

    [embed]https://youtu.

    Natalie Warren of Wild River Academy led this 30 minute webinar where she discussed the benefits of eco-tourism and ways to improve marketing and amenities in your community. This webinar will touch on the economic benefits of water trails and the importance of paddler amenities in increasing paddlesports tourism in your community. However, providing amenities isn’t enough to put you on the map. Communities need to market those opportunities to reach a broader audience and attract more visitors to the area.

    Tune in and learn:
    – How river recreation and paddlesports help local communities
    – The benefits of eco-tourism and strategies to market and attract new visitors
    – Case study examples from around the country

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Building a River’s Identity to Attract New Users and Advocates

    Watch "Building a River's Identity to Attract New Users and Advocates" to learn different ways to create a unique identity for your river and attract new users and advocates in a sustainable way.

    Watch “Building a River’s Identity to Attract New Users and Advocates” to learn different ways to create a unique identity for your river and attract new users and advocates in a sustainable way.

    This 30 minute webinar was led by Mimi Wagner of Iowa State University. Rivers are often the most dynamic and visible landscape system in a region. And river recreation trails, as one of the primary ways people experience rivers and their surrounding lands, have enormous potential to build knowledge and advocacy among many different groups in a region. From paddlers to hikers, photographers and history buffs, Mimi will provide information and details on methods and publicly-available tools to collect and synthesize information useful in creating connections between a river and the residents of its region. Examples are included from recent projects associated with Iowa DNR State Water Trail planning.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Effective Stewardship for Supporters

    This month we were joined by Mandy Hughes of American Rivers, who presented on the importance of actively engaging members of your community and supporters of your organization.

    This month we were joined by Mandy Hughes of American Rivers, who presented on the importance of actively engaging members of your community and supporters of your organization. Effective stewardship of supporters and donors is key to raising support and funds needed to achieve the ambitious conservation and recreation goals of your organization. We learned how your team of staff and supporters can work together to engage and inspire corporate, foundation and individual donors so they continue and increase their support and donation to the work of your organization.

     

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Making the Economic Case for Water Trails

    This month, we were joined by Natalie Warren who, working with River Management Society and National Park Service, recently authored the report Making an Economic Case for Water Trails.

    This month, we were joined by Natalie Warren who, working with River Management Society and National Park Service, recently authored the report Making an Economic Case for Water Trails. This report conducts a review of public studies conducted to measure the economic impact of river based recreation. Watch the recorded webinar to learn more about the benefits of river based recreation for communities.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Creative Funding Sources

    This presentation discusses different opportunities for finding funding from private and public grants to more innovative partnerships and events.
    This presentation discusses different opportunities for finding funding from private and public grants to more innovative partnerships and events. Laila Johnston of American Rivers leads a 30 minute webinar presentation on how to think creatively about funding recreation and conservation work in your community. You will have the opportunity to hear about creative funding solutions  from local groups across the country – including what has worked and what hasn’t.

    Read more…

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Connecting Communities to Rivers Grant Program

    View this webinar for an overview of the Connecting Communities to Rivers grant program.

    View this webinar for an overview of the Connecting Communities to Rivers grant program. We discuss the application, common questions and address additional needs you may have. For additional questions you may have, please reach out to Connecting@AmericanRivers.org.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Prepare to Launch!

    This presentation will dive into Prepare to Launch!

    This presentation will dive into Prepare to Launch! Guidelines for Assessing, Designing, and Building Launch Sites for Carry-in Watercraft. Corita Waters and Lelia Mellen with the National Park Service will lead a 30 minute engaging presentation.  This presentation provides the opportunity to become familiar with the tools and resources available. Participants will also have the opportunity to evaluate the good the bad and the ugly as we continue to evolve the best practices for the development of launch sites.

     

     

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Revitalizing Communities through Recreation and River Protection

    Learn more from Monty Crump, City Manager of Rockingham, NC, as he describes the process and great success they’ve had in reconnecting Rockingham to the local Hitchcock Creek.

    Learn more from Monty Crump, City Manager of Rockingham, NC, as he describes the process and great success they’ve had in reconnecting Rockingham to the local Hitchcock Creek. The once forgotten creek is now a community treasure and has created a number of new local businesses as well as promoting healthy living and a renewed sense of stewardship for Hitchcock Creek.

    Watch the webinar today – and connect with us – how has your community benefited from recreation and protection along your local river or stream?

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Utilizing Codes and Ordinances to Protect Rivers and Clean Water

    Learn more about working with your community to use codes and ordinances to protect rivers and clean water.

    Learn more about working with your community to use codes and ordinances to protect rivers and clean water.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Making the Link Between Recreation and Conservation

    This webinar highlights a case study illustrating how intrinsic values communities place on river and land recreation have spurred conservation initiatives in Montana.

    This webinar highlights a case study illustrating how intrinsic values communities place on river and land recreation have spurred conservation initiatives in Montana.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Engaging Communities and Landowners with Riverside Land Restoration

    Learn about the importance of landowner relationships in restoring and maintaining riverside lands, including removal of invasive species.

    Learn about the importance of landowner relationships in restoring and maintaining riverside lands, including removal of invasive species. This 30 minute webinar includes a presentation by Chip Norton of Friends of the Verde River Greenway. He provides insight, tips and suggestions about how their work to restore riparian land and improve habitat has positively impacted the communities along the Verde River.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Community Benefits of Open Space and Recreation

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities.

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities. Toby Sprunk with the Eagle County Open Space in Eagle County, Colorado will discuss more about how their work to protect land and improve recreation has positively impacted the communities along the Eagle and upper Colorado rivers.

    Interested in learning more about ways to connect with partners and manage conflict? Participate in our online community forum – post your experiences and share your social media successes and challenges with other members of our community.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Engaging Youth with Rivers through Experiential Education

    Learn tips, successful programs and ways to activate youth in your community!

    Learn tips, successful programs and ways to activate youth in your community! Pete Wadden with Walking Mountains will share his experience of engaging youth with local rivers throughout Eagle County, Colorado, specifically through water quality monitoring. Join us to learn about and innovative high school internship program in partnership with the US Forest service encouraging youth to become stewards of our rivers. Read more…

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Increasing Private Land Protection through Recreation

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Managing Conflict in stakeholder groups

    Learn new tips and suggestions for managing conflict and conflict resolution in within your partner and stakeholder group.

    Learn new tips and suggestions for managing conflict and conflict resolution in within your partner and stakeholder group.

    Interested in learning more about ways to connect with partners and manage conflict? Participate in our online community forum – post your experiences and share your social media successes and challenges with other members of our community.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Using Social Media to Promote Recreation and Conservation

    Learn how social media can fit into your communications plan to help you achieve your conservation goals, while gaining an overview of the major social media channels and how you can use their differences to best promote your work.

    Learn how social media can fit into your communications plan to help you achieve your conservation goals, while gaining an overview of the major social media channels and how you can use their differences to best promote your work. Join our community forum to get your questions answered about the best ways to engage people with your trail through social media.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Making the Most out of Community Partnerships

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Simple Steps to Building a Successful Sponsorship Program

    Are you looking for new tools for developing a new or making more out of your corporate sponsorship program?

    Are you looking for new tools for developing a new or making more out of your corporate sponsorship program? Watch this webinar where you’ll learn the best practices for getting the most out of a corporate program and cultivating potential supporters.
    Read more…

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: New tools available to improve recreation and conserve rivers

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river.

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river. These tools include an online inventory of federal funding programs, an online community forum where you can connect with and learn from others doing similar work, and more! See questions and answers from this webinar in the community forum.

Category: Arizona

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Using Sustainable Tourism to Create Support for River Conservation

    [embed]https://www.

    Watch our webinar led by Chris Seek the president and CEO of Solimar International, as he describes how communities can use sustainable tourism to build support for river conservation through a case study in the Verde Valley of Arizona.

    As one of Arizona’s last perennial rivers, the Verde River is one of the state’s most unique and threatened natural resources. Its watershed and riparian habitats are critical local ecology for human, animal, and plant life. To preserve and restore this valuable resource, Solimar International and National Geographic Maps implemented a sustainable tourism program in the Verde Valley region to bring together 6 communities and hundreds of tourism businesses and conservation organizations to increase the value and importance of the river as a vital economic asset.

    Participants will learn:
    – Using tourism as a catalyst for public engagement for tourism development and river conservation;
    – Ways to generate awareness of and interest in visits to the region;
    – How to create powerful tools for the promotion of river communities as sustainable tourism destinations.

Category: Montana

Category: Communities

  • Show Detail

    Ecotourism Benefits through River Conservation

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies.
    duluth 2 - hansi

     

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies. Communities have learned how to promote their natural amenities, and as a result have created “destinations,” resulting in evolving recreation and tourism opportunities.

     

     

    Read Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation

    To illustrate the benefits communities have discovered by protecting and restoring local rivers, American Rivers developed Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation, a series of case studies highlighting gateway communities and how they have benefited from local river and land conservation. These towns frequently find visitors entering the communities to access parks and other recreation areas — staying in campgrounds and hotels, eating meals in town, purchasing supplies, and exploring the area’s natural and cultural resources.

    Each gateway community we present is unique, experiencing their own set of opportunities and challenges. These gateway communities have discovered local treasures — often hidden right before their eyes, and have embraced the evolution from an extraction-based economy to one that celebrates and sustains it’s livelihood through a recreation/tourism based existence.

    Gateway Community Case Studies:

    The following collection of case studies illustrates examples of communities developing and promoting and ecotourism ethic across the country:

    · Blackfoot River Valley, Montana — Blackfoot River

    · Conway, South Carolina — Waccamaw River

    · Duluth, Minnesota — St. Louis River

    · Eagle, Colorado — Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers

    · Jackson County, Oregon — Rogue River

    · Rockingham, North Carolina — Hitchcock Creek

    Photo Credit: St. Louis River, Duluth, MN; Hansi Johnson

  • Show Detail

    A Guide to Sustainable River Recreation Management Planning

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life.
    wendy mcdermott, nooksack river

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life. Most Americans live within a mile of a river or stream, and much of our drinking water comes directly or indirectly from rivers and streams. Beyond providing all these useful services, rivers are also just plain fun. River recreation is not only fun, but it also boosts local economies and creates more than 800,000 valuable and sustainable jobs across the US. In fact, the OIA research also stated that outdoor recreation participants spend $86 billion annually on watersports alone, the second highest revenue stream behind camping (at $142 billion).

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    There is little doubt that enjoyment of our natural resources is valuable. However, there are challenges such as over-crowding, pollution, and resource degradation that arise when outdoor recreation is not properly managed. Not only is the river at risk, but users may also experience dangerous situations if river health and recreational amenities are not managed properly. For example, when river hazards, such as low-head dams and other potential diversions, are not well marked, kayakers or tubers who are unfamiliar with the river could go over the dam and get caught in a recirculating pool at the bottom of the rapid. Too many users on a river at one time could lead to water quality issues if trash or human waste is not properly managed.

    Additionally, conflicts between diverse user groups, such as anglers and paddlers, could pose unique challenges to the management approach. Conflicts may occur when paddlers or tubers disrupt the fishing activity of anglers by overcrowding sections of river, moving into eddy’s and other areas where fish naturally hide.  Wildlife watchers could also be negatively impacted when other user groups like campers along the river or other river users make noise that scares away birds or wildlife. Lastly, the recreation experience is further diminished by conflicts created by illegal activities such as trespassing, littering, or illegal dredging occur along rivers.

    While rivers are resilient, like any natural resource there comes a tipping point. River recreation management helps strike a balance between encouraging recreation and protecting our communities’ most valuable natural resources. A framework for designing recreation improvements and managing ongoing use has emerged from collaboration with public land management agencies and local jurisdictions.

    The process of creating a river recreation management plan provides an opportunity to engage people around their rivers, educate community members about rivers in general and build support for their long-term protection. It also provides an opportunity for individuals already actively engaged around their local rivers to share their knowledge with others in the community.

    The goal of this guide is to provide a framework for local governments, planners, non-profit organizations, and others to develop an effective river recreation management plan that has strong community support. It will provide resources and case studies that shine a spotlight on communities that have navigated the recreation management planning process and developed and implemented successful river recreation management plans. The guide is organized in the following steps:

    1. Gather Information
    2. Solicit Input and Build Community Support
    3. Set Management Priorities
    4. Develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
    5. Fund Your Plan

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    The creation of a river recreation management plan will help communities enhance recreational and economic opportunities, preserve the outstanding values that make local rivers and their connection to the local community special, and leave a legacy of healthy rivers for generations to come.

     

    Photo Credit: Nooksack River, WA; Wendy McDermott

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Using Sustainable Tourism to Create Support for River Conservation

    [embed]https://www.

    Watch our webinar led by Chris Seek the president and CEO of Solimar International, as he describes how communities can use sustainable tourism to build support for river conservation through a case study in the Verde Valley of Arizona.

    As one of Arizona’s last perennial rivers, the Verde River is one of the state’s most unique and threatened natural resources. Its watershed and riparian habitats are critical local ecology for human, animal, and plant life. To preserve and restore this valuable resource, Solimar International and National Geographic Maps implemented a sustainable tourism program in the Verde Valley region to bring together 6 communities and hundreds of tourism businesses and conservation organizations to increase the value and importance of the river as a vital economic asset.

    Participants will learn:
    – Using tourism as a catalyst for public engagement for tourism development and river conservation;
    – Ways to generate awareness of and interest in visits to the region;
    – How to create powerful tools for the promotion of river communities as sustainable tourism destinations.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Connecting Communities to Rivers Grant Program

    View this webinar for an overview of the Connecting Communities to Rivers grant program.

    View this webinar for an overview of the Connecting Communities to Rivers grant program. We discuss the application, common questions and address additional needs you may have. For additional questions you may have, please reach out to Connecting@AmericanRivers.org.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Making the Link Between Recreation and Conservation

    This webinar highlights a case study illustrating how intrinsic values communities place on river and land recreation have spurred conservation initiatives in Montana.

    This webinar highlights a case study illustrating how intrinsic values communities place on river and land recreation have spurred conservation initiatives in Montana.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Engaging Communities and Landowners with Riverside Land Restoration

    Learn about the importance of landowner relationships in restoring and maintaining riverside lands, including removal of invasive species.

    Learn about the importance of landowner relationships in restoring and maintaining riverside lands, including removal of invasive species. This 30 minute webinar includes a presentation by Chip Norton of Friends of the Verde River Greenway. He provides insight, tips and suggestions about how their work to restore riparian land and improve habitat has positively impacted the communities along the Verde River.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Community Benefits of Open Space and Recreation

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities.

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities. Toby Sprunk with the Eagle County Open Space in Eagle County, Colorado will discuss more about how their work to protect land and improve recreation has positively impacted the communities along the Eagle and upper Colorado rivers.

    Interested in learning more about ways to connect with partners and manage conflict? Participate in our online community forum – post your experiences and share your social media successes and challenges with other members of our community.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Making the Most out of Community Partnerships

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

  • Show Detail

    Developing Effective Partnerships, Waccamaw River Blue Trail

    American Rivers, and our partners the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and Pee Dee Land Trust, began working to establish the Waccamaw River Blue Trail in South Carolina in May 2009 with the goals of enhancing recreation, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.
    Kayaking on the Rad River

    American Rivers, and our partners the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and Pee Dee Land Trust, began working to establish the Waccamaw River Blue Trail in South Carolina in May 2009 with the goals of enhancing recreation, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.

    A key component of our success is the strength of our local partnerships. Within the first months of beginning our work on the Blue Trail, we convened the first meeting of the Upper Waccamaw Task Force, a coalition of stakeholders that includes many land protection leaders in South and North Carolina including The Nature Conservancy, the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, city and county planners, Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER®, Pee Dee Land Trust, Ducks Unlimited, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The focus of the Task Force is the protection of lands along the Upper Waccamaw corridor, an area facing an increasing number of threats from poorly planned development. Read more…

Category: Colorado

Category: Ecological

  • Show Detail

    Ecotourism Benefits through River Conservation

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies.
    duluth 2 - hansi

     

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies. Communities have learned how to promote their natural amenities, and as a result have created “destinations,” resulting in evolving recreation and tourism opportunities.

     

     

    Read Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation

    To illustrate the benefits communities have discovered by protecting and restoring local rivers, American Rivers developed Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation, a series of case studies highlighting gateway communities and how they have benefited from local river and land conservation. These towns frequently find visitors entering the communities to access parks and other recreation areas — staying in campgrounds and hotels, eating meals in town, purchasing supplies, and exploring the area’s natural and cultural resources.

    Each gateway community we present is unique, experiencing their own set of opportunities and challenges. These gateway communities have discovered local treasures — often hidden right before their eyes, and have embraced the evolution from an extraction-based economy to one that celebrates and sustains it’s livelihood through a recreation/tourism based existence.

    Gateway Community Case Studies:

    The following collection of case studies illustrates examples of communities developing and promoting and ecotourism ethic across the country:

    · Blackfoot River Valley, Montana — Blackfoot River

    · Conway, South Carolina — Waccamaw River

    · Duluth, Minnesota — St. Louis River

    · Eagle, Colorado — Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers

    · Jackson County, Oregon — Rogue River

    · Rockingham, North Carolina — Hitchcock Creek

    Photo Credit: St. Louis River, Duluth, MN; Hansi Johnson

  • Show Detail

    A Guide to Sustainable River Recreation Management Planning

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life.
    wendy mcdermott, nooksack river

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life. Most Americans live within a mile of a river or stream, and much of our drinking water comes directly or indirectly from rivers and streams. Beyond providing all these useful services, rivers are also just plain fun. River recreation is not only fun, but it also boosts local economies and creates more than 800,000 valuable and sustainable jobs across the US. In fact, the OIA research also stated that outdoor recreation participants spend $86 billion annually on watersports alone, the second highest revenue stream behind camping (at $142 billion).

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    There is little doubt that enjoyment of our natural resources is valuable. However, there are challenges such as over-crowding, pollution, and resource degradation that arise when outdoor recreation is not properly managed. Not only is the river at risk, but users may also experience dangerous situations if river health and recreational amenities are not managed properly. For example, when river hazards, such as low-head dams and other potential diversions, are not well marked, kayakers or tubers who are unfamiliar with the river could go over the dam and get caught in a recirculating pool at the bottom of the rapid. Too many users on a river at one time could lead to water quality issues if trash or human waste is not properly managed.

    Additionally, conflicts between diverse user groups, such as anglers and paddlers, could pose unique challenges to the management approach. Conflicts may occur when paddlers or tubers disrupt the fishing activity of anglers by overcrowding sections of river, moving into eddy’s and other areas where fish naturally hide.  Wildlife watchers could also be negatively impacted when other user groups like campers along the river or other river users make noise that scares away birds or wildlife. Lastly, the recreation experience is further diminished by conflicts created by illegal activities such as trespassing, littering, or illegal dredging occur along rivers.

    While rivers are resilient, like any natural resource there comes a tipping point. River recreation management helps strike a balance between encouraging recreation and protecting our communities’ most valuable natural resources. A framework for designing recreation improvements and managing ongoing use has emerged from collaboration with public land management agencies and local jurisdictions.

    The process of creating a river recreation management plan provides an opportunity to engage people around their rivers, educate community members about rivers in general and build support for their long-term protection. It also provides an opportunity for individuals already actively engaged around their local rivers to share their knowledge with others in the community.

    The goal of this guide is to provide a framework for local governments, planners, non-profit organizations, and others to develop an effective river recreation management plan that has strong community support. It will provide resources and case studies that shine a spotlight on communities that have navigated the recreation management planning process and developed and implemented successful river recreation management plans. The guide is organized in the following steps:

    1. Gather Information
    2. Solicit Input and Build Community Support
    3. Set Management Priorities
    4. Develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
    5. Fund Your Plan

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    The creation of a river recreation management plan will help communities enhance recreational and economic opportunities, preserve the outstanding values that make local rivers and their connection to the local community special, and leave a legacy of healthy rivers for generations to come.

     

    Photo Credit: Nooksack River, WA; Wendy McDermott

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Engaging Communities and Landowners with Riverside Land Restoration

    Learn about the importance of landowner relationships in restoring and maintaining riverside lands, including removal of invasive species.

    Learn about the importance of landowner relationships in restoring and maintaining riverside lands, including removal of invasive species. This 30 minute webinar includes a presentation by Chip Norton of Friends of the Verde River Greenway. He provides insight, tips and suggestions about how their work to restore riparian land and improve habitat has positively impacted the communities along the Verde River.

Category: Economic

  • Show Detail

    Ecotourism Benefits through River Conservation

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies.
    duluth 2 - hansi

     

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies. Communities have learned how to promote their natural amenities, and as a result have created “destinations,” resulting in evolving recreation and tourism opportunities.

     

     

    Read Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation

    To illustrate the benefits communities have discovered by protecting and restoring local rivers, American Rivers developed Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation, a series of case studies highlighting gateway communities and how they have benefited from local river and land conservation. These towns frequently find visitors entering the communities to access parks and other recreation areas — staying in campgrounds and hotels, eating meals in town, purchasing supplies, and exploring the area’s natural and cultural resources.

    Each gateway community we present is unique, experiencing their own set of opportunities and challenges. These gateway communities have discovered local treasures — often hidden right before their eyes, and have embraced the evolution from an extraction-based economy to one that celebrates and sustains it’s livelihood through a recreation/tourism based existence.

    Gateway Community Case Studies:

    The following collection of case studies illustrates examples of communities developing and promoting and ecotourism ethic across the country:

    · Blackfoot River Valley, Montana — Blackfoot River

    · Conway, South Carolina — Waccamaw River

    · Duluth, Minnesota — St. Louis River

    · Eagle, Colorado — Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers

    · Jackson County, Oregon — Rogue River

    · Rockingham, North Carolina — Hitchcock Creek

    Photo Credit: St. Louis River, Duluth, MN; Hansi Johnson

  • Show Detail

    A Guide to Sustainable River Recreation Management Planning

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life.
    wendy mcdermott, nooksack river

    Clean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to our health, safety, and quality of life. Most Americans live within a mile of a river or stream, and much of our drinking water comes directly or indirectly from rivers and streams. Beyond providing all these useful services, rivers are also just plain fun. River recreation is not only fun, but it also boosts local economies and creates more than 800,000 valuable and sustainable jobs across the US. In fact, the OIA research also stated that outdoor recreation participants spend $86 billion annually on watersports alone, the second highest revenue stream behind camping (at $142 billion).

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    There is little doubt that enjoyment of our natural resources is valuable. However, there are challenges such as over-crowding, pollution, and resource degradation that arise when outdoor recreation is not properly managed. Not only is the river at risk, but users may also experience dangerous situations if river health and recreational amenities are not managed properly. For example, when river hazards, such as low-head dams and other potential diversions, are not well marked, kayakers or tubers who are unfamiliar with the river could go over the dam and get caught in a recirculating pool at the bottom of the rapid. Too many users on a river at one time could lead to water quality issues if trash or human waste is not properly managed.

    Additionally, conflicts between diverse user groups, such as anglers and paddlers, could pose unique challenges to the management approach. Conflicts may occur when paddlers or tubers disrupt the fishing activity of anglers by overcrowding sections of river, moving into eddy’s and other areas where fish naturally hide.  Wildlife watchers could also be negatively impacted when other user groups like campers along the river or other river users make noise that scares away birds or wildlife. Lastly, the recreation experience is further diminished by conflicts created by illegal activities such as trespassing, littering, or illegal dredging occur along rivers.

    While rivers are resilient, like any natural resource there comes a tipping point. River recreation management helps strike a balance between encouraging recreation and protecting our communities’ most valuable natural resources. A framework for designing recreation improvements and managing ongoing use has emerged from collaboration with public land management agencies and local jurisdictions.

    The process of creating a river recreation management plan provides an opportunity to engage people around their rivers, educate community members about rivers in general and build support for their long-term protection. It also provides an opportunity for individuals already actively engaged around their local rivers to share their knowledge with others in the community.

    The goal of this guide is to provide a framework for local governments, planners, non-profit organizations, and others to develop an effective river recreation management plan that has strong community support. It will provide resources and case studies that shine a spotlight on communities that have navigated the recreation management planning process and developed and implemented successful river recreation management plans. The guide is organized in the following steps:

    1. Gather Information
    2. Solicit Input and Build Community Support
    3. Set Management Priorities
    4. Develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
    5. Fund Your Plan

    Download A Guide to Sustainable Recreation Management Planning Report

    The creation of a river recreation management plan will help communities enhance recreational and economic opportunities, preserve the outstanding values that make local rivers and their connection to the local community special, and leave a legacy of healthy rivers for generations to come.

     

    Photo Credit: Nooksack River, WA; Wendy McDermott

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Using Sustainable Tourism to Create Support for River Conservation

    [embed]https://www.

    Watch our webinar led by Chris Seek the president and CEO of Solimar International, as he describes how communities can use sustainable tourism to build support for river conservation through a case study in the Verde Valley of Arizona.

    As one of Arizona’s last perennial rivers, the Verde River is one of the state’s most unique and threatened natural resources. Its watershed and riparian habitats are critical local ecology for human, animal, and plant life. To preserve and restore this valuable resource, Solimar International and National Geographic Maps implemented a sustainable tourism program in the Verde Valley region to bring together 6 communities and hundreds of tourism businesses and conservation organizations to increase the value and importance of the river as a vital economic asset.

    Participants will learn:
    – Using tourism as a catalyst for public engagement for tourism development and river conservation;
    – Ways to generate awareness of and interest in visits to the region;
    – How to create powerful tools for the promotion of river communities as sustainable tourism destinations.

  • Show Detail

    Making an Economic Case for Water Trails

    In 2015, the River Management Society conducted a review of public studies conducted to measure the economic impact of water trails.
    Congaree-National-Park

    In 2015, the River Management Society conducted a review of public studies conducted to measure the economic impact of water trails. Their report, Making an Economic Case for Water Trails, summarizes notable findings from three economic impact studies produced by experts using data specific to the particular water trail, measured and reported using accepted analytical methods. Surveys and analysis of collected data specific to the economic benefits of water trails are brought to life by success story commentaries.

     

    The Making an Economic Case for Water Trails report is here.

    This video presentation summarizes the review of economic studies conducted for watertrails. Presented by Natalie Warren, RMS intern, describes her findings at the 2015 National Water Trails Forum.   The following documents are referenced in the summary.

     

    Photo Credit: Congaree National Park

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    Webinar: Utilizing Codes and Ordinances to Protect Rivers and Clean Water

    Learn more about working with your community to use codes and ordinances to protect rivers and clean water.

    Learn more about working with your community to use codes and ordinances to protect rivers and clean water.

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    Webinar: Community Benefits of Open Space and Recreation

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities.

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities. Toby Sprunk with the Eagle County Open Space in Eagle County, Colorado will discuss more about how their work to protect land and improve recreation has positively impacted the communities along the Eagle and upper Colorado rivers.

    Interested in learning more about ways to connect with partners and manage conflict? Participate in our online community forum – post your experiences and share your social media successes and challenges with other members of our community.

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    Developing Effective Partnerships, Waccamaw River Blue Trail

    American Rivers, and our partners the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and Pee Dee Land Trust, began working to establish the Waccamaw River Blue Trail in South Carolina in May 2009 with the goals of enhancing recreation, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.
    Kayaking on the Rad River

    American Rivers, and our partners the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and Pee Dee Land Trust, began working to establish the Waccamaw River Blue Trail in South Carolina in May 2009 with the goals of enhancing recreation, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.

    A key component of our success is the strength of our local partnerships. Within the first months of beginning our work on the Blue Trail, we convened the first meeting of the Upper Waccamaw Task Force, a coalition of stakeholders that includes many land protection leaders in South and North Carolina including The Nature Conservancy, the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, city and county planners, Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER®, Pee Dee Land Trust, Ducks Unlimited, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The focus of the Task Force is the protection of lands along the Upper Waccamaw corridor, an area facing an increasing number of threats from poorly planned development. Read more…

Category: Idaho

Category: Funding

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    Webinar: Creative Funding Sources

    This presentation discusses different opportunities for finding funding from private and public grants to more innovative partnerships and events.
    This presentation discusses different opportunities for finding funding from private and public grants to more innovative partnerships and events. Laila Johnston of American Rivers leads a 30 minute webinar presentation on how to think creatively about funding recreation and conservation work in your community. You will have the opportunity to hear about creative funding solutions  from local groups across the country – including what has worked and what hasn’t.

    Read more…

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    Webinar: Connecting Communities to Rivers Grant Program

    View this webinar for an overview of the Connecting Communities to Rivers grant program.

    View this webinar for an overview of the Connecting Communities to Rivers grant program. We discuss the application, common questions and address additional needs you may have. For additional questions you may have, please reach out to Connecting@AmericanRivers.org.

Category: Build

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    Webinar: Community Benefits of Open Space and Recreation

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities.

    This 30 minute webinar will provide you with tips and suggestions on ways you can increase open space and recreation in your community, discussing the economic, recreational and quality of life benefits that open space and river recreation bring to communities. Toby Sprunk with the Eagle County Open Space in Eagle County, Colorado will discuss more about how their work to protect land and improve recreation has positively impacted the communities along the Eagle and upper Colorado rivers.

    Interested in learning more about ways to connect with partners and manage conflict? Participate in our online community forum – post your experiences and share your social media successes and challenges with other members of our community.

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    Webinar: Making the Most out of Community Partnerships

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

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    Webinar: Simple Steps to Building a Successful Sponsorship Program

    Are you looking for new tools for developing a new or making more out of your corporate sponsorship program?

    Are you looking for new tools for developing a new or making more out of your corporate sponsorship program? Watch this webinar where you’ll learn the best practices for getting the most out of a corporate program and cultivating potential supporters.
    Read more…

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    Webinar: New tools available to improve recreation and conserve rivers

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river.

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river. These tools include an online inventory of federal funding programs, an online community forum where you can connect with and learn from others doing similar work, and more! See questions and answers from this webinar in the community forum.

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    Developing Effective Partnerships, Waccamaw River Blue Trail

    American Rivers, and our partners the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and Pee Dee Land Trust, began working to establish the Waccamaw River Blue Trail in South Carolina in May 2009 with the goals of enhancing recreation, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.
    Kayaking on the Rad River

    American Rivers, and our partners the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and Pee Dee Land Trust, began working to establish the Waccamaw River Blue Trail in South Carolina in May 2009 with the goals of enhancing recreation, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.

    A key component of our success is the strength of our local partnerships. Within the first months of beginning our work on the Blue Trail, we convened the first meeting of the Upper Waccamaw Task Force, a coalition of stakeholders that includes many land protection leaders in South and North Carolina including The Nature Conservancy, the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, city and county planners, Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER®, Pee Dee Land Trust, Ducks Unlimited, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The focus of the Task Force is the protection of lands along the Upper Waccamaw corridor, an area facing an increasing number of threats from poorly planned development. Read more…

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    Conservation Benefits, Hitchcock Creek Blue Trail

    American Rivers helped to transform Hitchcock Creek in Rockingham, North Carolina into a destination for fishing, boating, and other family-friendly recreation.

    American Rivers helped to transform Hitchcock Creek in Rockingham, North Carolina into a destination for fishing, boating, and other family-friendly recreation. Until 2009, the Steeles Mill dam degraded Hitchcock Creek, blocking migrating fish and preventing the community from safely enjoying the river through recreation. American Rivers and our partners removed the dam, and created a 14 mile Blue Trail. Read more…

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    Conservation Benefits, Waccamaw River Blue Trail

    In 2009, American Rivers, the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and the Pee Dee Land Trust began working with communities along the Waccamaw River in South Carolina to create a Blue Trail.

    In 2009, American Rivers, the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® and the Pee Dee Land Trust began working with communities along the Waccamaw River in South Carolina to create a Blue Trail. Our goals were to enhance recreational opportunities, connect communities to their hometown river, and protect clean drinking water and riverside lands from poorly planned development.

    Thanks to a diverse and effective partnership with conservation organizations, cities and counties, chambers of commerce, local businesses and others we have made great progress in improving recreational opportunities and protecting the Waccamaw for future generations. Read more…

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    Access and Navigability

    Public access to rivers is a complex issue.
    Ridgway CO | Stephen Mankowski

    Public access to rivers is a complex issue. Accounting for navigability laws, the rights of the public versus landowners, and the role river management agencies play can be a difficult and confusing task. Does a paddler have the right to walk on private land in order to portage around an obstruction in the river? Who owns the riverbed? What determines if a river is suitable for recreation? As rivers are used more and more, the answers to these questions are becoming increasingly important.

    Given the lack of federal guidance for this issue, each state assumes the primary role for setting the policies and regulations that govern public access to rivers. As such, river access and navigability laws differ greatly from state to state.

    American Whitewater’s Navigability Toolbox  clarifies the access and navigability rights of the public and provides detailed information concerning the policies of every states and Puerto Rico. It is a helpful tool for anyone interested in creating a Blue Trail.

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    Liability

    Liability can be a concern among landowners.

    Liability can be a concern among landowners. The fear of a lawsuit may keep private landowners from opening their land to blue trail users even though they would like to share their land with the public. Public land managers also deal with the issue of liability. Fortunately, most states have enacted laws that, to varying degrees, limit private and public landowner liability. These laws can be useful to you in developing your trail.

    For private lands, these laws are called Recreational Use Statutes. For public lands, the governing law is usually the state’s Governmental Immunity Act or State Tort Claims Act. These laws are important because they can place the burden of responsibility on blue trail users and keep users from shifting that responsibility to private landowners and public land managers. Read more…

Category: Manage

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    Public Access Guide for Landowners and Water Trails & River Managers

    Provided by our partners at the River Management Society, this is an easy-to-understand guide on a serious topic that often draws questions from water trails directors, managers and volunteers.
    LWCF funded boat ramp on the Missouri River_Mike Fiebig

    Provided by our partners at the River Management Society, this is an easy-to-understand guide on a serious topic that often draws questions from water trails directors, managers and volunteers. It is written in plain English and offered in two formats.

    Public Access Guide for Landowners and Water Trails & River Managers Report

    Public Access Guide for Landowners and Water Trails & River Managers Slideshow Presentation

     

     

    RMS is enthusiastically appreciative of the effort by many on this project, particularly RMS intern Jack Henderson, and both Corita Waters and Lelia Mellen, National Park Service. Additional acknowledgements are noted in the documents.

     

    Photo Credit: Mike Fiebig, Missouri River

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    Webinar: Utilizing Codes and Ordinances to Protect Rivers and Clean Water

    Learn more about working with your community to use codes and ordinances to protect rivers and clean water.

    Learn more about working with your community to use codes and ordinances to protect rivers and clean water.

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    Codes and Ordinances to Protect Rivers and Clean Water

    Local governments have an important role to evaluate their own codes and ordinances to ensure they are protecting our communities and our waterways.

    Local Codes and Ordinances

    Local governments have an important role to evaluate their own codes and ordinances to ensure they are protecting our communities and our waterways. Through Blue Trails, or conservation focused water trails, we can reconnect people to their rivers through outdoor activities and to build support for protecting areas along the river from unwise development by strengthening codes and ordinances.

    Codes and ordinances can be developed to protect clean water and healthy rivers in a number of different ways, including green infrastructure and protecting critical riverside lands. Across the country, communities have worked to incorporate low impact development practices into existing zoning code such as integrating rain gardens and bioretention (green infrastructure approaches) into landscaping requirements and removing barriers to using permeable pavement in parking lots. Communities have also worked to protect critical riverside land habitat by implementing tree ordinances to protect riverside trees, restrict redevelopment after timber harvesting, and use natural systems instead of expensive man-made structures to filter and store stormwater, resulting in improved water quality, preserved wildlife habitat, and prevented soil erosion. Other communities have worked to pass an ordinance requiring a 25-foot buffer along the river as part of its Land Use Regulations.

    Changing Local Ordinances in Your Community

    Most communities have a legislative body elected by the public, such as a city council, county board, or village board, to make changes to existing ordinances or pass new ordinances. In addition to the local legislative body, your community likely has a Planning Commission or similar subcommittee that specializes in land use issues. Although the Planning Commission does not have authority to pass laws, they can give powerful recommendations to the legislative body and once an ordinance is enacted, the Commission is typically given the responsibility of implementing its requirements. Once you become familiar with the structure of your local government, start researching existing zoning codes and building and subdivision regulations to see where opportunity exists to make change.

    Resources

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    Webinar: Managing Conflict in stakeholder groups

    Learn new tips and suggestions for managing conflict and conflict resolution in within your partner and stakeholder group.

    Learn new tips and suggestions for managing conflict and conflict resolution in within your partner and stakeholder group.

    Interested in learning more about ways to connect with partners and manage conflict? Participate in our online community forum – post your experiences and share your social media successes and challenges with other members of our community.

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    Webinar: Using Social Media to Promote Recreation and Conservation

    Learn how social media can fit into your communications plan to help you achieve your conservation goals, while gaining an overview of the major social media channels and how you can use their differences to best promote your work.

    Learn how social media can fit into your communications plan to help you achieve your conservation goals, while gaining an overview of the major social media channels and how you can use their differences to best promote your work. Join our community forum to get your questions answered about the best ways to engage people with your trail through social media.

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    Webinar: Making the Most out of Community Partnerships

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

    Learn ways to increase participation in your stakeholder group, while having engaging and meaningful conversations to further recreation and river conservation along your local river.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: Simple Steps to Building a Successful Sponsorship Program

    Are you looking for new tools for developing a new or making more out of your corporate sponsorship program?

    Are you looking for new tools for developing a new or making more out of your corporate sponsorship program? Watch this webinar where you’ll learn the best practices for getting the most out of a corporate program and cultivating potential supporters.
    Read more…

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: New tools available to improve recreation and conserve rivers

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river.

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river. These tools include an online inventory of federal funding programs, an online community forum where you can connect with and learn from others doing similar work, and more! See questions and answers from this webinar in the community forum.

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    Waccamaw River Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program

    The Waccamaw River Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program is a strong example of a partnership with local governments whose funding is largely driven by local stormwater permit requirements.

    The Waccamaw River Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program is a strong example of a partnership with local governments whose funding is largely driven by local stormwater permit requirements.

    The Waccamaw River is an outstanding example of a southern blackwater stream. Starting in North Carolina, the river flows southeast into South Carolina and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean. Still largely healthy, the watershed is home to rare, threatened and endangered species of plants and diverse wildlife species, including American Black Bears and several endemic plants and animals. A diverse coalition of partners created the Waccamaw River Blue Trail in 2009, with the goal of improving recreational opportunities, connecting communities to their hometown river, and protecting the river for future generations. Challenges facing the Waccamaw River include bacterial contamination, fish consumption advisories for mercury, wetlands losses, and issues related to increased development. Read more…

Category: Safety

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    How to Understand Classes of Whitewater Rapids

    Knowing how to understand whitewater rapids is critical for running a river.
    Verde River, AZ - Doug Von Gausig

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Knowing how to understand whitewater rapids is critical for running a river.

    When planning a river trip, it is essential to pay attention to the level of difficulty that is associated with the reach of the river you are floating. Rapids are classified on river maps according to degree of difficulty (from Class I to VI).  In addition to paying attention to the class of rapid, it is also critical to pay attention to the flow rate of the river. Higher flows generally require more decisive and demanding maneuvers. Use extra caution at high flows when fast currents require shorter response times. The International Whitewater Scale rates rapids in the following ways.

    Before you get out on the river, know where you are going and what level of expertise you and your river crew are capable of.

    • Class I Very Easy. Moving water with a few ripples and small waves. Few or no obstructions.
    • Class II Easy. Easy rapids with waves up to three feet and wide clear channels visible without scouting. Some maneuvering required.
    • Class III Medium Difficulty. Rapids with high irregular waves capable of swamping an open canoe. Narrow passages often requiring complex maneuvering and scouting from shore.
    • Class IV Difficult. Long difficult rapids with constricted passages often requiring precise maneuvering in very turbulent waters. Scouting from shore is often necessary; conditions make rescue difficult. Not runnable in open canoes.
    • Class V Very Difficult. Extremely difficult, long and very violent rapids with highly congested routes nearly always requiring scouting from shore. Rescue conditions are difficult. Significant hazards to life in event of a mishap. Ability to conduct a kayak roll is essential.
    • Class VI Extremely Dangerous. Nearly impossible to run and very dangerous.

     

     Photo Credit: Verde River, AZ – Doug Von Gausig

     

     

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    Boating Safety: Know Before You Go

    Floating rivers are an incredibly thrilling and enjoyable time and are generally safe; however, river running and camping have inherent risks.
    Upper Colorado | Jamie Mierau

     

     

    Floating rivers are an incredibly thrilling and enjoyable time and are generally safe; however, river running and camping have inherent risks.

     

     

     

     

    Remember these safety hints

    • Be sure to pack the correct gear for your .
    • When in Doubt, Scout it Out. Identify a stretch of river appropriate for your group and plan your route ahead of time. How to Understand Whitewater
    • When in Trouble, Be Active – when you find yourself in a difficult situation always keep trying to help yourself
    • Dress for Success; Wear Your Personal Floatation Device (PFD/Life Jacket)
    • Watch Your Step – river sandals offer the best traction on wet rocks from slips
    • Most Accidents Happen in the Home – on a river trip, your campsite is your home. Make sure you set up a camp where you have little risk from flash floods and give wildlife plenty of space.
    • Think Before You Drink – boil, filter, or chemically treat all drinking, cooking and dishwashing water
    • Be sure to follow the specific guidelines for the stretch of river you are using. Depending on the ecosystem and the amount of use, there may be special requirements for overnight trips. Often along the Eagle Blue Trail, fire pans and portable toilet systems are required for overnight camping along the river.

     

    River Etiquette and Minimal Impact Use

    Once you have an understanding of the importance of safety in running rivers, it’s also important to understand the etiquette and social rules of the river. Just like any community, river runners have a certain etiquette and understanding with each other about responsible behaviors when on the river. Not only do we care about minimizing impact to the river by cleaning up and packing out, but we also want to show respect and care to one another. Click to learn more about how you can participate in positive river culture and protect our rivers for the future.

     You affect this river canyon when you pass through it. River users come to their local rivers and streams for many reasons, but none of them come expecting to find vegetation hacked, beached and banks scarred with fire rings or fouled with human waste and scattered litter. The following tips help visitors be more caring and responsible members of the river community:

    • At boat ramps – wait your turn and unload quickly to avoid “ramp rage”
    • Please be respectful of private lands, floating across private land is legal as long as the river bottom or banks are not touched.
    • Avoid the railroad tracks for your safety
    • Be respectful of other users on the river, spread out and avoid unpleasant encounters
    • When choosing a campsite, try to leave larger sites for larger groups if your group is small
    • It is recommended to use a fire pan and carry out ash and other unburned fire residue with other garbage when using dispersed campsites.
    • It is highly recommended to pack out all solid human and pet waste from the river corridor. Use developed toilets whenever possible. Please set up an approved portable toilet as soon as practical upon arriving at the campsite.
    • Current Leave No Trace practices recommend discarding urine and waste water in the river

     

    Additional Resources on Safety from our Partners:
    American Canoe Association

    American Whitewater

     

    Photo Credit: Upper Colorado River, Jamie Mierau

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    Exploring the Eagle Blue Trail from its Banks

    There are many great ways to enjoy the Eagle Blue Trail from the bank.
    Photo by Matt Stern

     

    There are many great ways to enjoy the Eagle Blue Trail from the bank. ECO Trails was created in 1996 to finance mass transit improvements in Eagle County. Part of this program is the Eagle Valley Trail which is a paved path running from east to west through Eagle County, connecting to spur trails and backcountry trails along the way. Much of the Eagle Valley Trail runs along the Eagle River, providing appropriate access points at strategic locations.

     

    While enjoying the river from its banks, it’s important to understand ways to minimize your footprint and take care of the spaces you love. Riparian habitats along the river corridor are home to many local plants and animals and are very sensitive to human impacts. You can protect these important ecosystems and yourself by following a few simple guidelines for safety and etiquette in the riparian zone.

    •  Always use appropriate access points to avoid trampling sensitive riparian plants. Appropriate access points are labeled and selected for safe access to the river.
    • Use binoculars or other devices to view wildlife from a safe distance. Never approach wildlife, as wild animals are unpredictable and may become dangerous if they feel threatened. Keep wildlife wild – never feed wildlife. Human food can make wildlife sick and create a dangerous situation when wildlife associates humans with food.
    • Follow the Leave No Trace 7 Principles to reduce your impact and be good stewards of the land.
    • Plan your trip and be prepared with appropriate clothing, food and water. The sun is more intense at high altitudes, be sure to protect your skin and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

     

    For more information about land based recreation along the Eagle Blue Trail, check out these resources:

    ECO Trails Cycling Rules and Etiquette

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Trails

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Learn To Camp

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Ethical Wildlife Viewing Tips

    Colorado Adventure Center Bike Path Etiquette & Rules

     

    Photo Credit: Miller Ranch River Easement and trail, Matt Stern

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    Fishing on the Eagle Blue Trail

    Fishing the Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers as a part of the Eagle Blue Trail is one of the most popular recreation activities.
    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

     

     

    Fishing the Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers as a part of the Eagle Blue Trail is one of the most popular recreation activities. Whether you are fishing from the banks on a public access point or casting a line from a boat, there are many opportunities to catch a whole lot of fish!

     

     

    Colorado Fishing Rules and Regulations:

    After purchasing your fishing license, check the fishing laws and regulations that apply in your area. Anglers are required to follow both statewide and waterway specific rules so that fish populations are protected now and into the future. Always check for fishing regulation updates prior to each fishing trip.

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife Fishing Rules and Regulations

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Total Licensing System

     

    Ethical Fishing Best Practices:

    Fishing ethics and proper fishing etiquette are responsibilities of all anglers. These ethics and etiquette can be distilled down to a “golden rule” – treat others the way you want to be treated. Be respectful of others and be responsible for the area you are fishing. If you are new to the sport, some of these practices may not be as obvious as others.

    Take Me Fishing Ethical Fishing Practices

    Remember, as long as you have a valid fishing license, fishing ethics are not in place to restrict you. Fishing ethics are in place to help build a positive angling community.

     

    For more information about fishing in Colorado, check out these resources:

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife Fishing Page

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife Fishing Brochure

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife Boating Statutes and Regulations

    BLM Fishing Information

     

    Photo Credit: Upper Colorado River, Jessica Foulis

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    Boating on the Eagle Blue Trail

    There are a number of amazing day and multi-day trips along the Eagle Blue Trail on both the Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers.
    021015--SE-raft-UpCo

     

    There are a number of amazing day and multi-day trips along the Eagle Blue Trail on both the Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers. There is a fit for every level of paddler as well as great access for fishing, hiking and biking along these terrific reaches of river. Whether you live in Eagle County or are just visiting and taking in the beauty, make sure you prioritize an afternoon with the river!

     

     

    For more information about floating on the Eagle Blue Trail, check out these resources:

    BLM Upper Colorado River Guide

    BLM Eagle River Recreation Area

    BLM Water Recreation

    BLM Guide to Planning a Private River Trip

     
    Photo Credit: Upper Colorado River, Jamie Mierau

Category: Promote

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    Ecotourism Benefits through River Conservation

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies.
    duluth 2 - hansi

     

    While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies. Communities have learned how to promote their natural amenities, and as a result have created “destinations,” resulting in evolving recreation and tourism opportunities.

     

     

    Read Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation

    To illustrate the benefits communities have discovered by protecting and restoring local rivers, American Rivers developed Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation, a series of case studies highlighting gateway communities and how they have benefited from local river and land conservation. These towns frequently find visitors entering the communities to access parks and other recreation areas — staying in campgrounds and hotels, eating meals in town, purchasing supplies, and exploring the area’s natural and cultural resources.

    Each gateway community we present is unique, experiencing their own set of opportunities and challenges. These gateway communities have discovered local treasures — often hidden right before their eyes, and have embraced the evolution from an extraction-based economy to one that celebrates and sustains it’s livelihood through a recreation/tourism based existence.

    Gateway Community Case Studies:

    The following collection of case studies illustrates examples of communities developing and promoting and ecotourism ethic across the country:

    · Blackfoot River Valley, Montana — Blackfoot River

    · Conway, South Carolina — Waccamaw River

    · Duluth, Minnesota — St. Louis River

    · Eagle, Colorado — Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers

    · Jackson County, Oregon — Rogue River

    · Rockingham, North Carolina — Hitchcock Creek

    Photo Credit: St. Louis River, Duluth, MN; Hansi Johnson

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    Webinar: Using Social Media to Promote Recreation and Conservation

    Learn how social media can fit into your communications plan to help you achieve your conservation goals, while gaining an overview of the major social media channels and how you can use their differences to best promote your work.

    Learn how social media can fit into your communications plan to help you achieve your conservation goals, while gaining an overview of the major social media channels and how you can use their differences to best promote your work. Join our community forum to get your questions answered about the best ways to engage people with your trail through social media.

  • Show Detail

    Webinar: New tools available to improve recreation and conserve rivers

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river.

    Learn about new tools to help you improve recreational opportunities and conserve your hometown river. These tools include an online inventory of federal funding programs, an online community forum where you can connect with and learn from others doing similar work, and more! See questions and answers from this webinar in the community forum.