An American Dipper in a stream.
An American Dipper in a stream.
Our Work

Western Rivers Initiative

River health for water security.
American Dipper. Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies
American Dipper. Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies
Our Work

Western Rivers Initiative

River health for water security.

Water connects us all 

Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah’s environment, communities, and economies depend on healthy, flowing rivers, but increasing demand, climate change, and inflexible management are putting rivers at risk. Many of the birds that depend on them, like the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Bell’s Vireo, are in decline, and the future of the communities and economies surrounding Western rivers is uncertain. Help us as we rise to this historic challenge to create healthier Western rivers for birds, wildlife, and people.

Audubon is making an impact on Western rivers and the birds and people that depend on them. Together we can advocate for bird conservation and water conservation actions that will increase river flow, enhance the health of our environment, and restore valuable wetlands and riparian habitats. Audubon’s Western Rivers Initiative is rooted in finding collaborative water solutions for the environment and people by using science, and allowing science to guide policy and on-the-ground bird conservation efforts.

Science. Science is the keystone of Audubon’s action for rivers and the birds that depend on them. The best available data amplify and direct our education, policy, and on-the-ground work. 

Policy. Policy efforts are guided by science and fulfilled by Audubon’s Western Rivers Action Network (WRAN). WRAN is a grassroots water and river advocacy network operating at local, state, and federal levels. WRAN is built on the foundation of strong state chapters while welcoming all who care about rivers and riparian habitat. Since 2013, WRAN has proven to be an influential water policy leader across the Colorado River Basin. WRAN has significantly grown due to proven policy successes.

On-the-ground Work. The health of each river and wetland contributes to the ecological functioning of the watershed. Audubon Rockies actively supports riparian and wetland restoration projects across Colorado. Targeted riparian and wetland restoration projects attempt to prepare aquatic systems for an uncertain hydrologic future by focusing on restoring ecological functions and environmental resiliency.

Help us as we rise to this historic challenge to create healthier Western rivers for birds, wildlife, and people.

News and Stories

A Colorado Program the Colorado Way
Western Rivers Initiative

A Colorado Program the Colorado Way

The Centennial State is leading the nation in wetland and stream protections.

A confluence of streams, policy and people
Western Rivers Initiative

A confluence of streams, policy and people

An op-ed by Abby Burk in the The Daily Sentinel.

Resilience and Stewardship for Colorado’s Waterways, 2024 Legislative Priorities
Western Rivers Initiative

Resilience and Stewardship for Colorado’s Waterways, 2024 Legislative Priorities

Audubon supports proactive water strategies to benefit birds and people.

Stream Restoration Touches the Ground Through People
Western Rivers Initiative

Stream Restoration Touches the Ground Through People

Translating Colorado’s new stream restoration law for birds and people.

Restoring Rivers, Connecting Communities
Western Rivers Initiative

Restoring Rivers, Connecting Communities

Stream restoration provides benefits for all.

Stream Restoration Legislation Will Benefit Birds and People in Colorado
Western Water Initiative

Stream Restoration Legislation Will Benefit Birds and People in Colorado

New law is a win and a good first step to clarifying stream restoration activities.

Flowing Together: Colorado’s Streams Need Your Help
Western Rivers Initiative

Flowing Together: Colorado’s Streams Need Your Help

Volunteer to help improve critical bird habitat in Colorado.

Colorado’s Proposed Stream Restoration Legislation – Part 2
Western Rivers Initiative

Colorado’s Proposed Stream Restoration Legislation – Part 2

What you need to know from our legislator-focused webinar.

The Role of Water and Fire in Ecological Forest Management
Western Rivers Initiative

The Role of Water and Fire in Ecological Forest Management

Meet Karl Brown, northern Colorado forester and steward.

Colorado’s Proposed Stream Restoration Legislation—Part 1
Western Rivers Initiative

Colorado’s Proposed Stream Restoration Legislation—Part 1

What you need to know from our February 2023 legislator webinar.

Learn about birds and get involved.