An American Dipper in a stream.
An American Dipper in a stream.
Western Rivers Initiative

Western Rivers Initiative

River health for water security
American Dipper. Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies
American Dipper. Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies
Western Rivers Initiative

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 ready for the challenge to make an impact for 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. Find out more about WRAN and become a river advocate

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 and Wyoming. 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. Sign up for a river restoration project

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

River Resources
Western Rivers Initiative

River Resources

Learn more about river and riparian managment from our downloadable fact sheets.

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Become a River Advocate
Western Rivers Initiative

Become a River Advocate

Join Audubon's Western Water Action Network to speak up for responsible river management.

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Watch: Supporting Colorado’s River Restoration
Western Rivers Initiative

Watch: Supporting Colorado’s River Restoration

Learn how all of Colorado benefits from river restoration in our new video.

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News and Stories

Water Milestones in Colorado for Birds and People
Western Rivers Initiative

Water Milestones in Colorado for Birds and People

Let your voice be heard in Colorado’s water planning process.

Beavers Offer Help for Western Waters
Western Rivers Initiative

Beavers Offer Help for Western Waters

Beavers are a key partner in protecting and restoring western streams, watersheds, and habitat.

The West Urgently Needs Federal Funds to Address Drought, Wildfire, and Climate Change
Western Water Initiative

The West Urgently Needs Federal Funds to Address Drought, Wildfire, and Climate Change

With big spending bills on the horizon, Congress needs to prioritize water security for people and birds.

Boosting Water Reliability for Birds and People
Western Rivers Initiative

Boosting Water Reliability for Birds and People

Process-based restoration: restoring natural river processes

Two Wins for Rivers in a Dry Year
Western Rivers Initiative

Two Wins for Rivers in a Dry Year

Audubon secures protections for Colorado rivers.

Kremmling Bird Count Studies How Birds Use Irrigated Agriculture
Western Rivers Initiative

Kremmling Bird Count Studies How Birds Use Irrigated Agriculture

Learn what tradeoffs loom if conserved water leaves fields dry, from The Aspen Times.

Audubon Boosts Water Awareness and Funding for Birds and People
Western Rivers Initiative

Audubon Boosts Water Awareness and Funding for Birds and People

A recap of water in the 2021 Colorado legislative session.

Inspiration to Preservation in Pagosa Springs
Western Rivers Initiative

Inspiration to Preservation in Pagosa Springs

Promoting community-driven wetland conservation with Pagosa Wetland Partners.

Double Threat to Colorado’s Water Quality and Habitats
Western Rivers Initiative

Double Threat to Colorado’s Water Quality and Habitats

The Navigable Water Protections Rule and a change to an antidegradation rule pose serious risks.

How you can help, right now