Central Valley, CA
California’s dairy industry is incredibly important for global milk production, as well as local revenue and jobs. Over 90% of the state’s dairies are located in the agriculturally-rich Central Valley, a region suffering from poor groundwater quality and increasingly uncertain water supplies.
Near Salt Lake City, UT
Chalk Creek is an important tributary to Utah’s Weber River. This river drains the Wasatch Mountains directly west of Salt Lake City and eventually flows through Ogden, Utah, before joining the Ogden River and emptying into the Great Salt Lake. BEF partnered with Trout Unlimited to support this WRC project and restore water to a critically dewatered reach of the Chalk Creek watershed.
Gunnison River Basin, CO
Colorado’s Cimarron River originates in the Uncompahgre Wilderness—one of the state’s marquee wilderness areas containing multiple 14,000’ peaks. The headwater streams of the Cimarron River descend long glacially-carved valleys that are traversed by an extensive trail network, and ultimately the Cimarron drains into the iconic Gunnison River in an area renown for fly-fishing, the Gunnison Gorge and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Historically, important tributaries and sections of the upper Rio Grande River in Colorado flowed at critically low levels during the winter months. With water stored in upstream reservoirs, depleted winter flows reduced groundwater recharge and adversely affected habitat for trout and other aquatic species. By leasing water, exchanging water at critical times, and shifting the timing of water delivery, project partners have been able to increase habitat for fish and provide important economic and community benefits for residents in the region.
Spring Creek, GA
The Flint River is part of the Apalachicola River system that drains areas of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. The River is home to some of the greatest aquatic biodiversity in North America and also provides water and farmland for some of the region’s most productive farms. Much of the river overlies the Floridan aquifer, where continued overdraft of groundwater from the Flint River Basin puts at risk both natural ecosystems and local economies that depend on clean and plentiful water supplies to achieve food and water security.
Near Winter Park, CO
The amount of water flowing in Colorado’s Fraser River has long been a topic of concern. The river flows through a popular ski town and provides recreation and irrigation benefits to thousands of residents and tourists. However, during summer, the legal rights to divert water from the Fraser River diminish flows to a point that water quality, recreation and trout fisheries are compromised.
Grant County, NM
This first-of-its-kind pilot project in New Mexico will restore water to a chronically depleted section of the upper Gila River during low flow periods. The project sets an important policy precedent by utilizing New Mexico’s Water Conservation Program to demonstrate that diverting water back to a dewatered river is both logistically feasible and financially viable.
Near Lemhi Valley, ID
A mile of Jesse Creek was dewatered when water was diverted away from the natural stream channel and into an artificial channel over 60 years ago. This limited fish passage and reduced the total habitat available to support Yellowstone cutthroat trout and other key species of concern.
San Joaquin River Basin, CA
The lower Kings River Basin faces significant water management challenges including groundwater overdraft and nitrate contamination of groundwater. Groundwater pumping here is occurring at an unsustainable rate, with annual pumping exceeding natural recharge by over 40 billion gallons per year. This overdraft has ironically been compounded by the widespread adoption of water conservation technologies.
Camp Verde, AZ
The West Clear Creek Irrigation Efficiency Project converts inefficient flood irrigation systems into increasingly efficient drip, micro jet, or sprinkler systems to reduce on-farm use of water at properties irrigated with water diverted from West Clear Creek. By reducing on-farm application of water through increasingly efficient application of water, this project reduces the amount of surface water diverted from West Clear Creek.
The Middle Deschutes is defined as the 35-mile section of the Deschutes River between the city of Bend and Lake Billy Chinook, Oregon. Thanks to the Deschutes River Conservancy and local irrigation districts, over 115 cubic feet per second flowed in the Middle Deschutes during the summer months of a recent irrigation season, helping foster a healthy ecosystem for people, plants and wildlife. A number of fly-fishing guides who regularly fish this area have already reported improved fish populations.
Near Albuquerque, NM
The Middle Rio Grande Flow Restoration Project partners with the New Mexico state office of the National Audubon Society to implement a first of its kind project that includes a unique partnership with Native American Pueblos and water agencies to convey and deliver much needed flows to chronically depleted areas of the Middle Rio Grande River in New Mexico. The project demonstrates a new strategy and pathway to lease, donate, and deliver water where it’s needed to benefit the river and protect and restore habitats for imperiled species.
Near Monterey Bay, CA
The Pajaro River Valley, spanning the Santa Cruz-Monterey County line, drains into Monterey Bay, which is home to hundreds of species of fish and birds in addition to sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters. The valley also boasts some of the most productive farmland in the nation.
Near Helena, MT
Montana’s Prickly Pear Creek flows from the Elkhorn Mountains north to the Helena Valley before entering Lake Helena. BEF and the Montana Water Trust are restoring enough water for Prickly Pear Creek to maintain connectivity throughout the irrigation season for the first time in many years, supporting approximately two river miles of additional useable habitat for fish and wildlife.
Near Springfield, OR
Studies have shown that the upper Willamette River is critically lacking in side-channel habitat for native fish rearing and that reconnecting and restoring flow to side channels is critical to improving over-wintering habitat for imperiled native fish species. This project, led by The Nature Conservancy, focuses on restoring a natural, historic side channel complex along the Middle Fork Willamette river and allowing natural river flow to access the side channel area for the first time in decades.
Near Aspen, CO
For decades, large water diversions have reduced the amount of water flowing in Colorado’s upper Roaring Fork River to the point that only a fraction of the river’s natural flow actually flows through the City of Aspen. According to the Colorado Water Trust, at times, more than ninety percent of the Roaring Fork’s flow is diverted from the river and piped under the Rocky Mountains to serve water users located on the opposite (east) side of the continental divide.
Near Sacramento, CA
This project partners with The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Bird Returns Program and local rice farmers to keep fields flooded to sustain critical wetland habitat in California’s Central Valley.
San Joaquin Valley, CA
The San Joaquin Basin in California faces significant water management challenges including groundwater overdraft and nitrate contamination of groundwater. Groundwater pumping is occurring at an unsustainable rate, with annual pumping exceeding natural recharge. A proposed portfolio of projects coordinated by our partner NGO, Sustainable Conservation, is being developed collaboratively with local farmers to capture surface waters during wet years and replenish groundwater reserves for use during dry years. This set of projects serves as a cutting edge solution, poised to demonstrate that homegrown, local solutions can solve regional water challenges.
Sonora, Mexico (Colorado River Delta)
In 2012, a water sharing agreement was reached between the U.S and Mexico that paved the way for restoring flows to the lower Colorado River and its delta. Through this agreement, there is an historic opportunity to restore water to the desiccated lower Colorado River Delta with the promise that restored flows may someday support thousands of acres of wetland and river habitat.
Sonora, Mexico (Colorado River Delta)
Once one of North America's great desert ecosystems, the Colorado River Delta at one time provided millions of acres of freshwater, wetland, tidal and brackish habitat supporting hundreds of fish and wildlife species. This dynamic and diverse ecosystem supported indigenous human populations for thousands of years, and today it still provides critical habitat for over 350 species of birds.
Sonora, Mexico (Colorado River Delta)
In 2015 BEF’s Water Restoration Program provided critical funding to restore water and habitat in the depleted Colorado River delta. BEF’s support for the project will result in nearly one billion gallons of restored water and will provide both base flows and small pulse flows necessary to help create riverside habitat that benefits myriad birds and wildlife species.
The San Pedro River is the last major free-flowing river in the American Southwest and is of major ecological importance as it hosts two-thirds of the bird diversity in the United States, providing critical habitat for over 300 species of migrating birds. Despite its great ecological importance, the San Pedro River suffers from chronic low flows that result in part from extensive over pumping and use of groundwater.
Klamath River Basin, Southern OR and Northern CA
The Klamath River Basin, covering more than 12,000 square miles in southern Oregon and northern California, is considered one the most important waterfowl areas in North America, home to six National Wildlife Refuges and supporting more than 430 species of wildlife. WRCs will restore approximately 1.2 billion gallons of water per year to this critical and previously dewatered stream system.
Near Quincy, CA
In partnership with the nonprofit Plumas Corporation, BEF’s Water Restoration Certificate program is providing funding that will help restore water within a 253-acre critically dewatered meadow ecosystem in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. The project is located in the upper Feather River Basin, the keystone watershed for California’s State Water Project.
The Oak Creek Irrigation Modernization Project upgrades and replaces aging and inefficient water infrastructure located on irrigation ditch systems that divert water from Oak Creek between the town of Sedona and the confluence with the Verde River.
Near Camp Verde, AZ
Arizona’s only designated Wild and Scenic River, the Verde River delivers 40% of the surface water for the Phoenix metro area and is a critical Colorado River tributary providing diverse ecological benefits for myriad native desert fish and wildlife species. However, like many rivers in the West, the Verde River suffers from the existence of so many dams and diversions that, in places, the river’s flow is inadequate to fully support native fish, wildlife and recreation.
Camp Verde, AZ
Arizona’s Verde River delivers 40% of the surface water for the Phoenix metro area and provides vital aquatic habitat for myriad desert fish and wildlife species. However, like many rivers in the West, the Verde River suffers from extensive water diversion. As a result, during certain times of the year, the river’s flow is inadequate to fully support native fish, wildlife, and recreation.
Verde River Valley, AZ
The Verde River is treasured by Arizona communities that rely on it for drinking water, food production, and recreation. Its flowing waters and green, living corridor provide a unique and lush oasis in the high desert. In the arid Southwest, many of the once flowing rivers and streams now only see flowing water during periods of extreme rain. In Arizona, 35% of the river miles that once flowed freely year-round no longer do.
Camp Verde, AZ
This project will replace inefficient flood irrigation systems with modernized drip irrigation that will precisely apply water to meet specific crop demands. The project achieves food and water security benefits by reducing on-farm water use and decreasing the amount of water diverted out of the Verde River.
Yavapai County, AZ
West Clear Creek is an iconic Arizona stream that drains a rugged mountain wilderness area before flowing into Arizona’s Verde River valley. It is one of the few cold and clear streams draining into central Arizona, and it provides some of the most intact aquatic habitat in the region.
In late summer when stream flows drop and demand for irrigation water is high, numerous water diversions from Willow Creek reduce flows and have the potential to completely dry up the creek near its confluence with the Colorado River. Previously, water rights holders were hesitant to take any steps to reduce diversions, conserve water, or enhance flows in the creek because they would have risked losing valuable water rights under the “use it or lose it” provision of western water law. As a result, water rights holders lacked the ability to share water with the creek in times of drought or other environmental stress.
Near Steamboat Springs, CO
BEF partnered with the Colorado Water Trust and National Geographic to support a WRC project that restored significant flow to the Yampa River during the critical summer period, staving off another recreation closure and protecting the native and sport fisheries.