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 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

Important Things Ahead for Colorado Water Policy in 2023
Western Water Initiative

Important Things Ahead for Colorado Water Policy in 2023

Audubon supports proactive water resilience strategies for 2023 Colorado legislation.

Colorado’s New Riparian Hero
Western Rivers Initiative

Colorado’s New Riparian Hero

Abby Burk has been named a 2022 Riparian Hero by the Colorado Riparian Association.

Meeting the Moment for Bird and River Conservation
Western Rivers Initiative

Meeting the Moment for Bird and River Conservation

Colorado Water Plan public comment period closes September 30.

Protecting Colorado’s Streams for Birds and People
Western Rivers Initiative

Protecting Colorado’s Streams for Birds and People

More than 520 miles of streams protected in southwest Colorado.

Nuevo Plan Para Agua: Trazando el Futuro Resiliente al Agua de Colorado para Aves y Personas
Western Rivers Initiative

Nuevo Plan Para Agua: Trazando el Futuro Resiliente al Agua de Colorado para Aves y Personas

Explicación de la actualización del Plan Para Agua de Colorado y próximo compromiso de Audubon.

New Water Plan: Charting Colorado's Water-resilient Future for Birds and People
Western Rivers Initiative

New Water Plan: Charting Colorado's Water-resilient Future for Birds and People

Colorado Water Plan Update Explainer and Coming Audubon Engagement

Goodbye Turf Grass, Hello Birds and Water
Habitat Hero

Goodbye Turf Grass, Hello Birds and Water

How one Habitat Hero helped his HOA save 15 million gallons of water a year.

Help Shape Colorado’s Water Planning Process
Western Rivers Initiative

Help Shape Colorado’s Water Planning Process

Public comment for the Colorado Water Plan update begins June 30, 2022.

A Confluence of Funding for Water, Watersheds, and Capacity
Western Rivers Initiative

A Confluence of Funding for Water, Watersheds, and Capacity

Learn about beneficial bills passed during the 2022 Colorado legislative session.

A Big Year for Colorado Water
Western Rivers Initiative

A Big Year for Colorado Water

What you need to know from our second Colorado legislator webinar: Milestones for Colorado Water in 2022.

How you can help, right now