ad-vo-cate: verb – To speak, plead or argue in favor of;
noun – One that argues for a cause, a supporter or defender
As the name implies this program is about speaking, acting and occasionally litigating for policies, regulations and permits that will lead to a healthier Russian River today and into the future. This program is founded on the principal that a healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand. The belief that any increase in environmental protection will lead to bad outcomes for our economy is a dangerously false choice. Our goal is to never ignore the economic consequences of different issues but to always incorporate them into our positions while taking a long-term view of each decision or issue. Very often false choices between a healthy environment and a specific project or regulation are sometimes successful because it is easy to put in dollar terms how much money a gravel mining project might yield to the local economy (volume of gravel x cost per ton of gravel), but putting the environmental consequences into dollar terms is much more difficult such as valuing what salmon habitat is worth. We know that restoring habitat or water quality after harm is done is very expensive and often those costs are paid by us, not the people making the money. As tools are developed to calculate the cost of environmental protection or degradation we should avoid making false choices in the future. For now Riverkeeper works to bring these hidden environmental costs of degrading the river to decision-makers attention so it is given equal consideration.
Our advocacy program actively reviews regulatory permits including gravel mining proposals, stormwater pollution control permits, water flow levels and other issues that affect the health of the River. We partner with other local organizations, hire expert scientists and attorneys and engage our members in speaking out and advocating for a healthy Russian River!
To learn more about what we are working on in our Advocacy Program, please click over to our River Issues page!