Atmospheric rivers keeping Western U.S. wet

A Pineapple Express deluges California with wind and rain while abundant snowfall accumulates throughout the upper Colorado River Basin.

Over the last several weeks, a series of atmospheric rivers have battered California. These storms ultimately reach the high country, bringing much-needed snow to mountain peaks. 

Like a river moving water over land, these long, flowing streams of water vapor are transported by atmospheric winds. An important component of the global water cycle, they are typically between 250 and 375 miles wide and more than 1,000 miles long. “Pineapple Express is a specific type of atmospheric river—one that builds up in the Pacific near Hawaii.

These systems of concentrated moisture typically form over tropical regions, where warm temperatures cause ocean water to evaporate and rise into the atmosphere. As the water vapor blows over land, it rises and cools, turning into beneficial rain or snow. Just a few atmospheric rivers each year can contribute up to half of the annual precipitation along the coast.

Because atmospheric rivers can be slow-moving, they can cause heavy flooding and mudslides when stalled over vulnerable watersheds, as is playing out in California this month. On average, these systems transport about 27 times the amount of water flowing through the Mississippi River (Ralph et. al. 2017). However, not all atmospheric rivers cause damage; most are weak and welcome. In fact, they are credited for ending up to 40% of California’s droughts between 1950 and 2010. Whether as snow or rain, these systems are an essential contribution of fresh water.

New year, new goals, right?

We love the fresh feeling a new year can bring. While we believe in being grateful for each day we have, we also understand the importance of goal setting and the sense of accomplishment when achieved. 

Our corporate partnerships manager, Amy, has a lot of goals for 2023. And we mean, a lot. Here are just a few off her long list:

  • Read 23 books
  • Be more active while good health is present
  • Travel to a new place

And, because she’s a river conservation advocate she’s also focused on buying a water-saving toilet, watering plants with vegetable-steamed water (cooled, of course), and planting native vegetation in her yard.

Our executive director, Ann, took her goals in a different direction. She’s enjoying a 23-day yoga challenge and chose the word “enjoy” as her year-long theme versus a long list. She plans to enjoy biking, skiing, and of course recreating on the rivers across the West

Like Amy,  she continues a focus on native plantings. This Native Plants Finder is a great tool.

Putting $150K to Work for Western Rivers

We just approved $150,000 in grant funds to maintain restoration gains on the Dolores, Escalante, Gila, and Verde Rivers this year! These are the first grants awarded from the growing 4Rivers Fund, generously seeded with $1 Million from the Walton Family Foundation. They will support four of our nonprofit partners — RiversEdge West, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, Gila Watershed Partnership, and Friends of the Verde River — as they continue important riverside habitat work to benefit people and wildlife.

Follow along via Instagram and Facebook and help us grow the 4Rivers Fund.

Carlson Vineyards and DeYoung Team Up for Rivers

We are thrilled to announce that once again, Carlson Vineyards and Derek DeYoung Studios are partnering to support healthy rivers. When you purchase a bottle of red or white vintage wine blends that is paired with custom fly fishing art, the proceeds will fuel the Our Rivers campaign, which is working to connect communities to rivers by removing barriers such as racism and socio-economic challenges. Thank you, Carlson Vineyards and Derek DeYoung for designing a delightful wine and for giving back to make this important work happen.

Give Us a Listen!

The second episode of the Our Rivers podcast features Collin Ewing, National Conservation Area manager for the Bureau of Land Management about what it means to recreate responsibly on some of Colorado’s most breathtaking and family-friendly rivers.

Thank you to our sponsor, SOL Paddle Boards.

Listen and subscribe!

$1 Million. Launching a Legacy Fund for Healthy Rivers

Forever Our Rivers is building a legacy fund for the Escalante, Gila, Verde and Dolores Rivers, four important tributaries to the mighty Colorado River. We will leverage an initial $1 million contribution from the Walton Family Foundation to create a $6 million endowment, the 4Rivers Fund, through strategic investments over the next four years. 

We will distribute grants as the fund builds, helping our partners working on these rivers to grow and maintain healthy instream and riverside ecosystems, and to use sound science to make the best decisions for healthy rivers for years to come. 

Hit reply now to talk with our Executive Director, Joe, about your options to contribute to the 4Rivers Fund or learn more here.

Save Rivers with SOL

The Our Rivers fund is growing thanks to SOL Paddle Boards. They have invested to improve access to healthy rivers among communities of color and underserved communities, including people with disabilities, women, and lower-income neighborhoods. 

Learn how you can paddle with SOL here

Wild & Scenic Films for Fish!

Our partners at California Trout are hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival (virtually). The films consist of short and feature-length films from all corners of the globe. All proceeds benefit CalTrout and their work to ensure resilient populations of wild fish in healthy waters for a better California. 

Purchase tickets here. Live screening opens March 4 at 6:30 p.m. PST, films on demand through midnight March 11

Not everyone has equal access to healthy rivers.

Join Forever Our Rivers, Carlson Vineyards, Sarabella Fishing, Map the Xperience, SOL Paddle Boards and others to raise $100,000 for nonprofits working to create equitable access to clean rivers. It will fund projects in underserved communities and communities of color, and those that center women and people with disabilities. Everyone deserves clean water and healthy, unpolluted rivers.

You can help us reach our goal:

We launched a podcast!

The Our Rivers podcast will feature the people making a difference on healthy rivers.In our first episode we hear from two Forever Our Rivers grantees, Brown Folks Fishing and Casting For Recovery, as they partner on the Angling for All Pledge to address racism and inequality in the fishing industry. Thank you to our sponsor, Carlson Vineyards.

We’re Giving Thanks FOR Our Partners

Despite the challenges of this year and this holiday season, we are filled with gratitude for wild spaces, the rivers that sustain them, and the people working to help them thrive.

So many of us turned to the natural world for solace in 2020, making it a point to get our toes muddy, cast a line, or just sit and watch the current run by the banks of our favorite local river. These moments reminded us how important healthy waterways are to every aspect of our well-being and renewed our commitment to help communities across the Southwest connect to their rivers. We’re planning an exciting 2021 campaign to expand our efforts, recruit more leaders from underserved communities, and help more corporate partners target and amplify their environmental giving to rivers. We’ll tell you about it in January.

Our 2020 Grantees and current River Partners are working hard to connect women, black, indigenous and people of color to rivers nationwide. We also focused on introducing kids to rivers in the Southwest while engaging communities to protect their rivers in Colorado and Arizona.

Our Corporate Partners continue to amaze us with their creativity, generosity, and determination to support these innovative projects in a hard year.

Our grantees include: Brown Folks Fishing, Csting for Recovery, Colorado West Land Trust, Four Corners Water Center, Friends of Youth & Nature, Institute for Environmental Solutions, Purgatoire Watershed Partnership, Roaring Fork Conservancy, San Juan Citizens Alliance, and River Science.   Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest on how our grantees are doing! 

We’re wishing you a happy and healthy holiday! 
We hope you can carve out some time to sit by your favorite river.

Forever Our Rivers Grants over $25,000 for River Health

Forever Our Rivers Foundation is proud to announce that we awarded $25,000 in grants to organizations that are connecting people to southwest rivers!   The grant cycle was made possible by our generous Corporate Partners.  Organizations that received funding include: Brown Folks Fishing, Casting for Recovery, Colorado West Land Trust, Four Corners Water Center at Fort Lewis College, Friends of Youth & Nature, Institute for Environmental Solutions, Purgatoire Watershed Partnership, Roaring Fork Conservancy, San Juan Citizens Alliance and River Science. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest on how our grantees are doing! 

Fish Don’t Live in Ugly Places

In a new podcast series, Forever Our Rivers has been talking with community business partners and learning their tips and stories for managing the new world of COVID-19. In the podcast series you’ll hear how maps are becoming masks, listen to a story of adapting to the new work place, be reminded of the therapeutic benefits of fishing, and learn about the interesting intersection between beer and rivers. Thank you to Map the Xperience, Mayfly Outdoors, SaraBella Fishing and Gilded Goat Brewery for spending your time with us!