WATERWAYS, Summer 2018
This is the introductory article from our summer 2018 WaterWays newsletter. Download a PDF of the full Newsletter.
Community, Conversations & Taking Action Together
By Raj Shukla
There is no shortage of inspiration at River Alliance of Wisconsin. We exist to protect and restore Wisconsin’s magniﬁcent waters, and for 25 years we’ve had the chance to work with dedicated people from every part of the state. Our community is vibrant and strong and those of us on staff feed off the energy that you and thousands of others put into defending our most valuable resources.
As spring rolled quickly into summer, we focused on events that build community and make space for conversations. Thousands of water advocates recommitted to act on behalf of our waters during two screenings of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. In early June, hundreds of water lovers ﬂoated down the Yahara River to celebrate and raise awareness for our waters during the 8th Annual Fools’ Flotilla.
In more intimate gatherings in La Crosse, Green Bay, Eau Claire, Milwaukee and Madison—dubbed “Community Conversations: the Next 25”—supporters came together to talk about the future, the needs of their communities and how River Alliance can best support local leaders. What we heard might sound familiar to you: the need to guard the beauty of our waters through positive and collective action came through loud and clear. At each event, attendees recognized the value of gathering together to share our knowledge, describe our challenges and map a path to solutions.
“Community” has always been an aspiration at River Alliance of Wisconsin. River Alliance was created by recreational paddlers who joined forces to remove dozens of dams. We went on to help local advocates work with supporters across the state to beat back a proposed mine in Crandon and another in the Penokee Hills. Today, we support local groups who protect their waterways from aquatic invasive species (AIS) and other threats. We’re also working with farmers who practice good water stewardship through our Clear Water Farms program. In each case, our strength is an engaged and active community of people dedicated to our shared mission.
As summer peaks and leads us rapidly to autumn, we’ll continue to build on what we’ve learned and celebrate what we’ve accomplished together. And, we will take a moment to acknowledge those who have gone above and beyond for rivers, lakes and streams during our River Bash celebration on September 27 in Madison. We will honor Water Heroes as well as River Champion award recipients. River Bash will offer another chance to come together, break bread and draw on each other for inspiration to carry us toward a Wisconsin with clean, abundant water available to all. We look forward to engaging with you, and carrying on this important work in the coming months.