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River Conservation: Who is Protecting Western River Watersheds?

River conservation projects throughout the United States are important because our rivers provide vital habitat for endangered fish and wildlife, they serve as centerpieces of our communities, and are preferred places to recreate for boaters, anglers and hikers.

Knowing this, you might wonder, which river conservancy organizations help to protect these precious watersheds? One of those organizations is the Western Rivers Conservancy. The Western Rivers Conservancy helps by using one of the most effective tools for river protection and conservation -- land acquisition. Fish populations that include trout, steelhead, and salmon inhabit these Western river systems and benefit from these land-acquisition conservation measures.

Permanent sanctuaries for fish and wildlife have been created as a result of the Western Rivers Conservancy's projects. Some examples of these river conservancy accomplishments include:

  • Bear River in Utah
  • Smith River in California
  • South Fork Trinity in California
  • Skagit River in Washington
  • Salmon River in Idaho
  • Madison River in Montana
  • Sandy River in Oregon
  • Beaver Creek in Washington
  • Sams River in Washington
  • Fossil Creek in Arizona
  • Elk River in Oregon
  • Willamette River in Oregon
  • Mill Creek in Missouri
  • Greer Spring in Missouri

Beyond these accomplishments, through the organization's largest acquisition ever, the Western Rivers Conservancy is creating a 47,000-acre salmon sanctuary and Tribal forest preserve on the lower Klamath River in California. Wildlife conservation initiatives, such as the Klamath River project, will help ensure recreational opportunities for future generations.

The next time you renew your fishing license, or cast your fly line on a trout stream, remember how these river conservation organizations are helping to protect the fishing experiences you love.


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Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.