History of Russian Riverkeeper
Protecting the River Since 1993
Russian Riverkeeper has been successfully protecting the River since 1993. Russian Riverkeeper, originally Friends of the Russian River, actively pursued conservation and protection of the River’s mainstem, tributaries and watershed through public education, citizen action, scientific research and expert advocacy. The original founders of Friends of the Russian River were Marty Griffin, David Bolling, Joan Vilms and Albert Slenderbrock who organized to address excessive gravel mining, collapse of our once great salmon and steelhed runs and pollution in the Russian River watershed. Among our early successes include a landmark conference in 1994, “The Russian River in Peril”, attended by 300 people including experts on fisheries, drinking water, and hydrology in addition to representatives from regulatory agencies and elected officials. Out of the conference came the agreement that the Russian River basin needed a comprehensive master plan that would provide a shared vision of restoration and enhancement of the River and its watershed.
In 2001, Russian Riverkeeper was launched, aligning itself with Waterkeeper Alliance, an international grassroots advocacy coalition of nearly 200 Waterkeeper organizations. Riverkeeper adopted the Alliance’s framework of advocacy and enforcement to steward the Russian River. The latter included the hiring of a full time “Riverkeeper” and acquisition of a boat to closely monitor the River.
As an advocacy organization we have taken legal action against polluters when necessary to protect the River. For example,Riverkeeper led the fight to stop toxic discharge into an old riverside gravel pit that leached pollutants into the River, called for mandatory water conservation to respond to our current drought, has pursued enforcement of sediment controls at construction sites and sought increased agency enforcement region-wide. Most recently, Riverkeeper settled one of the largest pollution cases in the watershed after years of inaction by regulators, leading to major investments in pollution controls and a healthier River.
About the Waterkeeper Aliance
Waterkeeper Alliance provides a way for communities to stand up for their right to clean water and for the wise and equitable use of water resources, both locally and globally. The vision of the Waterkeeper movement is for fishable, swimmable and drinkable waterways worldwide. Our belief is that the best way to achieve this vision is through the Waterkeeper method of grassroots advocacy.
About California Coastkeeper Alliance
Founded in 1999, California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA) is a non-profit organization that coordinates, supports and enhances the work of local California Waterkeepers to ensure Californians enjoy clean water and a healthy coast. CCKA and its member Waterkeepers represent the only statewide-local partnership focused on the health of the state’s waters and coastal and marine ecosystems. Coordinating on-the-ground work at the community level with policy work at the statewide level, CCKA protects and expands upon the advances made by place-based Waterkeepers by advocating before state decision-makers on water-related issues important to California’s communities.