At Wise River, we hope our gear accompanies you on all your adventures. As an outdoor lifestyle brand, we believe it is our responsibility to be stewards of the places that are most important to us. Staying true to one of our founding principles- Preserve What You Love- we wanted to partner with a group that embodies this notion from its core. As proud members of 1% for the Planet, we were able to connect with American Rivers, whose mission is to protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers and conserve clean water for people and nature. From our very first conversation, we knew that this was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. Through our sponsorship of American Rivers, we at Wise River have pledged 1% of all revenue to support the incredible work that AR routinely carries out. As such, with every future purchase of a Wise River product, you are in fact helping to Preserve What You Love.

We wanted to help you learn a little more about American Rivers, the outstanding work that they do, and some of their upcoming projects. As a result, we were able to catch up with Amy Kober, National Communications Director, who let us in on life at AR:

Nick, Founder/ CEO of Wise River: What is it that you love most about being a part of American Rivers?

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Amy Kober, National Communications Director at American Rivers: Having real impact. There’s something powerful about imagining a better future for your river, and working with your neighbors to make it happen. I’m proud that together with our supporters and partners, that American Rivers has created a river renaissance — a revival of fish and wildlife, free-flowing waters and new opportunities for people to enjoy and connect with rivers. We give people a real and impactful way to take action for the rivers that are most important to them. There’s nothing better than that.

WR: Absolutely… I love your use of the word renaissance. It seems that more than ever there is a growing population that is drawn to our nation’s rivers as a source of recreation. With that, can you name a few things that you’d like the general public to know about the work that you do?

AK: Rivers are the cardiovascular system of our country. They are essential to our well-being and continued survival. Too few Americans know that two-thirds of our water comes from rivers — and that 117 million of us depend on small streams for our drinking water. So this work is actually a survival issue. And as the climate crisis intensifies droughts, floods and waterborne diseases, rivers will become more important than ever. 

WR: I certainly hear you there. We too see rivers as the lifeline of our geography, and for us, we knew that we wanted to support groups that fight for their protection. Can you tell us about some recent success stories?

AK: We’ve had a lot to celebrate in the past year! Here are just a few river victories:

·       The most important river protection law in nearly a decade passed in March, permanently safeguarding 620 miles of rivers in Montana, Washington, Connecticut and Massachusetts as Wild and Scenic Rivers. Learn about the hard work that led to this fantastic victory.

·       The new flood plan for California’s Central Valley is a game-changer and has lessons for other river communities nationwide. Instead of relying on traditional approaches, such as building larger and higher levees, to manage increasingly frequent floods, the region adopted a new flood protection plan that will strategically expand floodplains, floodways and flood bypasses to reduce flood risk to people and property, and benefit fish and wildlife habitat.

The first steps in removing the Bloede Dam on Maryland’s Patapsco River

The first steps in removing the Bloede Dam on Maryland’s Patapsco River

·       We lead the national movement to remove obsolete and unsafe dams. Starting with the removal of Edwards Dam on Maine’s Kennebec River in 1999, we made the once radical-sounding idea of returning rivers to their natural, free-flowing condition mainstream. Twenty years later, we’ve freed hundreds of miles of river, from Maine to Washington to North Carolina. Most recently, we tore down Bloede Dam on Maryland’s Patapsco River, and it’s great to see the river flowing freely to the Chesapeake Bay for the first time in a hundred years.

WR: All of this sounds incredible. There is clearly much more than meets the eye about all of the threats that our rivers face. It is definitely refreshing to hear more about successful tactics that you have pioneered, along with your expanding influence. Building on that, are there any upcoming projects you are particularly excited about?

AK: I’m very excited about our work to remove a dam on Washington’s Middle Fork Nooksack River that will help boost salmon populations and benefit the entire web of life, including imperiled orca whales, in Puget Sound.

 I’m also excited about the work we’re doing in cities like Cleveland, where we’re working with partners in the predominantly African American neighborhood of Glenville on a plan to reduce sewer overflows and add green space to the neighborhood.

WR: That’s fantastic, and those two examples right there embody your mission of conserving clean water for people and nature. How do you identify rivers that need our help in fighting for their protection?

AK: We have experts on-the-ground in communities around the country. They have expertise and deep knowledge of their local rivers and are able to work with partners and local decision-makers to mobilize action at the right time for rivers that need our help.

Photo courtesy of American Rivers

Photo courtesy of American Rivers

WR: In addition to your expertise, hopefully increased awareness and an energized population can be a real force for positive impact. Conversely, What are some of the biggest challenges that you’re currently facing?

AK: The climate crisis is the most consequential environmental challenge facing our planet. The last five years have been the hottest on record. Forest fires are growing more destructive, cities are struggling to do more with less water, wildlife populations are fighting to survive and storms are producing more life-threatening floods. Healthy rivers are our best chance against the impacts of climate change. We must unite for the clean water our families and ecosystems need to survive.

WR: Thanks for sharing that, Amy. It certainly shows that while there is so much to be proud of, there is always work to be done. If people wanted to get involved with your cause, what are some good ways to do so?

AK: Sign up to receive action alerts and take action for the rivers you love!

WR: Thanks so much for your time here, Amy! We certainly loved hearing more about the work that American Rivers does, and what’s on the horizon. Before we let you go, any other information that you’d like to share?

AK: Every community deserves clean water and a healthy river. That’s why for 45 years, American Rivers has protected wild rivers, restored damaged rivers and conserved clean water for people and nature. Our work isn’t done, but together, we have the power to build a better future for rivers and each other.

 At Wise River, we’re certainly proud to be involved with a team of rockstars like the fine folks at American Rivers. It goes to show, if there’s something that you’re passionate about, it’s worth the fight to protect it. That’s been engrained in the Wise River mission since our inception. With each future purchase of one of our products, you are helping to protect the ecosystems that are the lifeline of our country.