Conservation and Service

We love our canoeing, kayaking, duckying, rafting, and SUPing. We love our rivers and lakes and the environments that support them. We love them from a few hours at the pool or play park to hours, days or weeks of whitewater or scenic tripping through the Rocky Mountains and beyond. And we even find time (and money?) to help protect the resources, to protect access to the resources, and to encourage and assist others in enjoying the same.

This webpage is intended to be a resource to promote both conservation ethics and action. Please contribute your ideas and we’ll add them to the page.

Opportunities for Conservation Service for the Environment

Protect Our Rivers:

Work to protect and preserve natural river ecosystems—through active conservation and education.

Please refer to their website for upcoming events.

Wildlands Restoration Volunteers –

WRV is “a nonprofit organization that provides an opportunity for people to come together, learn about their natural environment, and take direct action to restore and care for the land.”  WRV is the recipient of the RMCC 2019 Otter Award. 

Please refer to their website for upcoming events.

A contender for the 2019 Otter Award

Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust:

Most of Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust work is protecting private land and water rights with voluntary conservation easements. More recently we have branched out and are restoring private and public lands, working on aquifer sustainability, and teaching kids about their home.

A contender for the 2019 Otter Award

Colorado Water Trust:

The Colorado Water Trust works within Colorado’s water allocation system to find creative and sustainable solutions to restore and protect flows on our state’s rivers for a sustainable water future in Colorado. Often, this work is done in partnership with the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s Instream Flow Program.

A contender for the 2019 Otter Award

RiversEdge West:

RiversEdge West restores riparian (riverside) ecosystems through education, collaboration, and technical assistance.

Colorado Canyons Association:

Colorado Canyons Association fosters community stewardship, education, and awareness of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on McInnis Canyons, Dominguez-Escalante, and Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Areas (NCAs) in western Colorado.

A contender for the 2019 Otter Award

Opportunities for Community Service For under-represented communities:

Diversify Whitewater

Diversify Whitewater is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in paddlesports by removing the barriers that may exist for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and allies in kayaking, canoeing, rafting, and stand-up paddleboarding. They had events scheduled in Colorado for 2022.

Please refer to their website for upcoming events.

Team River Runner —

Their mission is  “To provide all veterans and their families an opportunity to find health, healing, community purpose, and new challenges through adventure and adaptive paddle sports!”  In lay terms: They “put butts in boats.”

The Ft. Carson/Colorado Springs chapter contacted RMCC regarding partnering with them in some way (e.g., to help with pool paddling sessions, with invitations to join our flat water or river trips, with planning other events to include their members, etc.). There are other chapters (Denver, Ft. Collins, Grand Junction, Montrose) that might be interested in a partnership if RMCC members are interested, but not willing to travel down to Colorado Springs.

Please refer to their website for more information.

RMCC Service Projects

As RMCC members, we have opportunities to combine our paddling passion with service projects.  If know of projects we should consider, please let me know ( and we can investigate the options and see who else might be interested.

Conservation Policy – Take Action:

These sites present conservation issues and provide a mechanism to take action.

American Whitewater:

The Stewardship News on The Stewardship Page lists a number of ongoing projects and issues including when public comment periods open.  There is also a link to ‘Regional Projects’ page.  Search on “(CO)” to find projects for Colorado. Where comments are requested, they provide an on-line action link as well as talking points and other ways to submit comments.   They recommend personalizing comments.

Outdoor Alliance:

Outdoor Alliance is the only organization in the U.S. that unites the voices of outdoor enthusiasts to conserve public lands. We help ensure those lands are managed in a way that embraces the human-powered experience.

Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance:

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is made up of concerned citizens from Utah and throughout the nation who share the common goal of preserving Utah’s remaining desert wild lands, known collectively as America’s redrock wilderness.  You can sign up to get text message alerts and has an on-line action link to submit comments.

Conservation News:

These sites present conservation related news and information.

Protect Colorado Rivers — Water for Colorado. Colorado Water Plan Grant Projects Map.

This map and associated short videos is an interactive resource that illustrates work happening across Colorado intended to ensure we have ample clean water supplies alongside healthy flowing rivers.

Water Related Conservation

Western Rivers Conservancy:

Western Rivers Conservancy buys land along the West’s finest rivers and streams to conserve habitat for fish and wildlife, protect key sources of cold water and provide public access for all to enjoy.

Their motto: Sometimes to save a river, you have to buy it.

A contender for the 2019 Otter Award

Water for Colorado:

Water for Colorado partner organizations came together in 2015 with a shared objective: to build a coalition to address Colorado’s increasing water scarcity and secure its sustainable water future. The Water for Colorado Coalition’s first goal was to participate in and influence the development of Colorado’s first state water plan to ensure that conservation and the environment were top priorities.

 Colorado Water Plan Grant Projects Map    This map and associated short videos is an interactive resource that illustrates work happening across Colorado intended to ensure we have ample clean water supplies alongside healthy flowing rivers.

Spotlight on Conservation and Service

2019 Otter — RMCC River Conservation Award

RMCC awarded our first Conservation Award – The Otter – to Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. That award focused on river conservation. The awards committee evaluated organizations based on the following criteria:

  • An organization that supports river access, water quality and community involvement.
  • Makes a difference on CO rivers through river cleanups, legislation or other means.
  • The RMCC award will ‘make a difference’ to the Organization or the Event.
  • The organization has a good track record of success.
  • The waterways impacted need ‘support’.
  • The rivers we (RMCC members) paddle are helped.
  • Whether there is a cleanup, event, or project that can be ‘supported by RMCC’.

Sarah Egolf-Tarr, the WRV Development Director, accepted the plaque and $500 check at the 2019 Annual Meeting and Potluck. In accepting the award, Sarah talked about WRV’s restoration work with a focus on their river restoration projects.  For more information on WRV, see their website at   We hope to plan at least one joint RMCC/WRV restoration project each year. 

Thanks to the 2019 Conservation Award Committee members Bill Ashworth, Lindsay Meeks, and G Winter for designing the award selection process and implementing it for us.