6 Environmental Organizations Studying and Preserving Bodies of Water

Life as we know it couldn't exist without water, so it's important for us to take care of our rivers, oceans, and other aquatic ecosystems. Pollution, over-fishing, and other forms of exploitation can have disastrous consequences that affect not only marine life, but humans as well. The organizations listed here work to protect these precious resources and keep them pristine for generations to come. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Groups Working To Protect & Preserve Bodies Of Water

Organization Headquarters Location Mission
River Partners Chico, CA Bring life back to rivers by creating wildlife habitat for the benefit of people and the environment
Restore the Delta Stockton, CA Save the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary for children and future generations
Alabama Rivers Alliance Birmingham, AL Protect and restore all of Alabama's water resources through building partnerships, empowering citizens, and advocating for sound water policy and its enforcement
Mid Klamath Watershed Council Orleans, CA Collaboratively plan and implement watershed restoration, coordinate education on land management issues, and promote community vitality by operating a community center and creating sustainable local economic opportunities
Missouri River Relief Columbia, MO Connect people and communities to the Missouri River through river clean-ups, education programs, and recreation opportunities
Farallon Institute Petaluma, CA Understand and preserve healthy marine ecosystems through long-term, multi-species, multi-disciplinary research

Fascinating Facts About Water

  • The only substance that naturally exists in solid, liquid, and gas form at temperatures normally found on Earth
  • Called the "universal solvent" by scientists because it dissolves so many substances
  • Air pressure affects its boiling point
  • Covers nearly three quarters of the earth's surface
  • 97% is found in the oceans
  • Most of the remaining 3% is unavailable to humans: too far underground, trapped in glaciers and ice caps, or too heavily polluted
  • Less than 1% of water on Earth is available fresh water

5 Tips For Responsibly Viewing Marine Wildlife

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  1. Learn about wildlife, viewing sites, and local regulations before you go
  2. Use binoculars and zoom lenses to get a good look without getting too close
  3. Never touch, handle, or ride marine wildlife
  4. Do not feed wildlife or attempt to lure it with decoys, sounds, or light
  5. Never chase or harass wildlife

Where Water Is Found On Earth

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior

Location Percentage of Earth's Water
Oceans 97.2%
Ice caps & glaciers 2.0%
Groundwater 0.62%
Freshwater lakes 0.009%
Inland seas & salt lakes 0.008%
Atmosphere 0.001%
Rivers 0.0001%

The Science Of Water

In Depth

The rhythmic, constant movement of rivers, lakes, and oceans around us is a soothing comfort in a stressful world. But their size and seeming invincibility mask the serious problems they face. Plagued by human interference, climate change, and natural forces, bodies of water need help to counteract all that threatens them. In no particular order, here are six groups working for the protection and restoration of our precious waterways.

At #1 on our list, River Partners seeks to bring life back to waterways in California by rebuilding natural floodplains, creating homes for wildlife, and improving the landscape for the benefit of future generations. With drought and overflowing streams projected to become more severe, riparian ecosystems are expected to bear the brunt of climate extremes. Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Projects to reroute rivers, update outdated levee systems, and plant a variety of native trees and vegetation will save adjacent populated areas that could be devastated by rising waters.

River Partners' work allows riparian areas to be restored to their original purposes: nurseries for young salmon, a habitat for birds, mammals, and pollinators, and a place for people to reconnect with the natural world. Periodic flooding contributes to the recharge of groundwater, and vegetation along the stream filters contaminants to improve water quality. The organization must cooperate with landowners, public agencies, nonprofit organizations, cities, and towns to outline shared goals. If you would like to support the restoration of floodplains, please donate online.

If you would like to support the restoration of floodplains, please donate online.

At #2 on our list, Restore the Delta is a grassroots campaign of residents and groups committed to rehabilitating the riparian area fed by the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers. Located in the Central Valley, freshwater from these streams flows into the San Francisco bay. The delta serves as a vital fish hatchery for the Pacific Northwest seafood industry, as well as providing recreation, resources for farmers, and a habitat for animals. RTD advocates for local stakeholders to ensure that they have a direct impact on water management decisions affecting their communities.

The organization urges residents to learn about issues affecting the area, and redistribute news articles on social media. Supporters can also attend and encourage others to go to waterboard meetings, and contact senators on related legislation to protect the Bay-Delta. The biggest issue facing the region is a proposed tunnel system to divert part of the Sacramento River towards inland users, taking resources away from area farmers and fish hatcheries, and negatively affecting the environment. If you wish to take action, visit their website to download informational handouts, or purchase campaign materials.

At #3, Alabama Rivers Alliance is a network of groups working to protect and restore the state's water resources, through building partnerships, empowering citizens, and advocating for sound policy and its enforcement. The Heart of Dixie has more than 132,000 miles of streams and rivers, with an incredible variety of plants and animals calling those courses home. However, extinction rates among aquatic species are very high. A.R.A. has been serving to better the environment since 1996.

However, extinction rates among aquatic species are very high.

Key issues the organization focuses on include establishing a state water management plan, removing toxic coal ash, dam safety, hazardous fish awareness, and storm-water pollution. The group uses #DefendRivers as a battle cry on social media. Events to bring awareness to, and find solutions for these problems include a public paddle outing, government outreach day, and documentary film distribution. Anyone is welcome to become a member of the alliance to support its efforts.

At #4, the Mid Klamath Watershed Council works to restore the threatened Klamath River in Northern California. It does this through grants, combined with community and stakeholder volunteers, to implement practical, hands-on rehabilitation projects. The river has faced significant challenges due to the depletion of nearby timber resources, and the building of large water projects that block pathways for fish, such as the Iron Gate Dam.

The waterway and its tributaries, including the Salmon and Trinity, have some of the most abundant remaining wild salmon runs in the lower forty-eight states. MKWC operates programs to help the sub-basin, including fisheries, wildlife, native plants, watershed education, and weed management. If you want to get involved, the organization has opportunities for environmental improvements, like invasive plant control and fish habitat enhancement.

The waterway and its tributaries, including the Salmon and Trinity, have some of the most abundant remaining wild salmon runs in the lower forty-eight states.

And coming in at #5 on our list, Missouri River Relief is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to connecting people to The Big Muddy, through trash removal, education events, and stewardship activities. The group organizes clean-ups and conducts instructional programs to better the area, and deepen the community's connection and sense of responsibility for its care. A staggering 940 tons of trash has been pulled out of the river since 2001.

MRR has hosted clean-ups in six states, from St. Louis, Missouri to Yankton, South Dakota. Individuals and groups like scouts, office parties, churches, and friends are encouraged to come to help out for a day. It also promotes aquatic and riparian education through countless outreach projects, such as inquiry-based science and excursions on the water. If you would like to assist the organization in its goals, sign up for its email list or consider donating financially.

At #6 on our list, The Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research is a nonprofit scientific organization, dedicated to the understanding and preservation of a healthy marine environment. It emphasizes long-term, multi-species, multi-disciplinary research into the interdependent aspects of oceanic conditions. F.I. is staffed by core scientists and a large assortment of collaborators. The group's work looks into the effects of climate change, and the broad implications of ocean currents, weather patterns, fishing practices, and coastal development on aquatic food webs and ecological systems.

F.I. is staffed by core scientists and a large assortment of collaborators.

The institute publishes research papers for academia, and briefs for general audiences to communicate their findings, and facilitate best management practices and policy reforms. Scientists work on various projects, such as forage and fisheries management, environment report cards, and seabird field analysis. It also offers internships for undergraduates, and State of the Ocean presentations for the public to understand important issues. You can support oceanic investigations that influence marine policy and management decisions in California, and around the world, by donating to the organization.