Restore Our Rivers

Restore Our Rivers was a RiversEdge West initiative to invest in the long-term sustainability of nine watershed groups restoring six rivers throughout the Southwest. It began in January 2016 and concluded in February 2018.
Investing in Communities and Sustained River Health
Restore Our Rivers, a fundraising and awareness-building campaign, was developed to address the common challenges of over-dependence on public funding, insufficient discretionary funding, undiversified funding portfolios, and a knowledge gap in private fundraising tools among restoration practitioners. As a campaign, Restore our Rivers was designed to both raise funding for the planning, capacity-building and monitoring and maintenance components of restoration work, and empower the participating partnerships to build up their knowledge base in private fundraising so as to grow their relationships with private foundations, individual donors, businesses and local governments. Another key goal of the initiative was to carry out more strategic public outreach so as to increase awareness about the importance of riparian habitat.
The dollars raised through Restore Our Rivers are shown in Table 1. Of the total raised by RiversEdge West, 70% was divided equally among the nine partnerships; each partnership received a total of $74,912.95 to support capacity-building, planning, monitoring, and maintenance activities. The remaining 30% was retained by RiversEdge West to cover the costs associated with administering Restore Our Rivers.
Table 1: Restore Our Rivers Income Earned
Amount Raised
RiversEdge West 
Nine Partnerships


Restore our Rivers was a success on multiple levels but the greatest success was really demonstrated by the increased capacity and fundraising skill-set among the partnerships, as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Restore Our Rivers Partnership Accomplishments


ROR-funded Activities

Acres of Stewardship Activity over 2016/2017*

# of Restoration Jobs Created

Partnership Capacity Increase

Amount of Match Raised

# of New Funder Relationships

Desert Rivers Collaborative – Colorado River, Grand Junction, CO

Developing a plan for community-based river stewardship that will ensure the long-term success of the restoration accomplished to date.

1955 acres

80 people hired

16 new people  engaged in fundraising


$70,708 cash

$54,177 in- kind**

3 foundations

2 businesses

1 NGO***


Dolores River Restoration Partnership – Dolores River, Co and UT

Monitoring and maintaining key stretches of the Colorado River and coordinating projects with the Audubon Society to enhance endangered bird habitat.

3244.9 acres

60 people hired

12 new people engaged in


$89,616 cash

$6,876 in-kind

3 foundations

1 local government

1 business

Escalante River Watershed Partnership – Escalante River, UT

Hiring a Watershed Partnership Coordinator who will help to coordinate and fundraise for this partnership as they transition into a monitoring and maintenance phase.

2627 acres

151 people hired

9 new people engaged in fundraising

$59,326 cash

$11,000 in-kind

1 foundation

Numerous new donors


Middle Colorado Watershed Council – Colorado River, Rifle, CO

Facilitating the completion of its restoration plan, hiring two new positions who have effectively engaged Board and staff in fundraising.

40 acres

2 people hired

11 new people engaged in fundraising

$45,415 cash

$9,345 in-kind

2 foundations

3 businesses


Numerous new donors

Purgatoire Watershed Weed Management Collaborative – Purgatoire River, CO

Developing an innovative cost-share program that will assist landowners with riparian restoration. 

203 acres

1 person hired

1 new person engaged in fundraising

$82,590 cash

$18,966 in-kind

2  foundations


Save Our Bosque Task Force – Middle Rio Grande, Soccoro, NM

Hiring the first paid staff person in 24 years to coordinate programs, train its Board in best practices, improve community outreach and fundraise.

400 acres

3 people hired

6 new people engaged in fundraising

$37,075 cash

$25,509 in-kind

3 foundations


1 business

Numerous new donors


Southeast Utah Riparian Partnership – Colorado River, Moab, UT

Paying for coordination capacity to facilitate the restoration plan update, partner engagement and fundraising.

1000 acres

16 people hired

8 new people engaged in fundraising

$43,000 cash

$8,218 in-kind

1 donor

1 local government



Lower Virgin River Watershed Implementation Planning Group – Lower Virgin River, AZ and NV

Establishing coordination capacity and hiring a facilitator to lead convene key stakeholders and lead critical integrated watershed management planning process.

0 acres

2 people hired

8 people engaged in fundraising

$47,499 cash

$23,345 in-kind

2 local governments


Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition – Verde River, AZ

Building up the capacity and expertise of the partnership by hiring a Communications Director and Executive Director.

1963 acres

34 people hired

6 new people engaged fundraising

$121,468 cash

$64,486 in-kind

3 foundations

3 NGOs

* Acreage reflected in this column is an aggregate of all the restoration activities that took place during the two year period of the campaign: multiple treatments of woody invasive control, secondary weed control, re-sprouts, planting, seeding, and monitored acres, and therefore counts the same acres more than once.

**In-kind refers to staff time, overhead, and travel costs that were covered by the participating partners.

***NGO refers to non-governmental organizations that donated to the partnership.

Thank you to our Supporters!
Restore Our RIvers would not have been the success it was without our supporters. 
Table 3: Restore Our Rivers Donors ($250 and more)
Nick & Carol Brown
Walton Family Foundation
Colorado Community First Foundation
Gates Family Foundation
Big Agnes, Inc.
David Bonderman
Miriam Blozvich
Lawrence T &Janet T Dee Foundation
Alpine Bank
McCarthy Family Foundation
Amara Susan G
Black Hills Corporation Foundation
Ann & Dave Brach
Xcel Energy
Barb Chamberlin
Chip Norton
Elizabeth Jewkes
Mountain Island Ranch
Fruita Rotary Club
Third Sector Innovations, Inc.
Grand Junction Subaru
Kannah Creek Brewing Company
Kim & Sam Williams
Peter & Susan Culp
Ninon Tantet
Sara Ransford, The Arches Foundation
Steven F. Otis
Cindy & Earl Rhodes
Josh Stewart
Adrian Ogelsby
Tim Carlson
Black Hills Energy - Colorado Gas
Evan Ela
Grand Junction Lion's Club & Bob Richardson
Hoskin Farina & Kampf
Jake & Jennifer Aubert
Laura Boyle
Mary and Hugh Wise, The Flunison Fund
Scott Marsh
Patricia Gelatt
Shelly Simmons
Stacy Beaugh
Thomas Ryan
Fire on the Mountain
Tom Burke
Jay Wilcox
Daniel Bramlett
Jim & Kim Cagney
Kristen Jespersen
Neil & Amara, Jane Simister
Meredith Williams Foundaton
Rob & Ann Hanson
Pete Firmin
Todd & Angela Hegstrom
Roy Jespersen
Xcel Energy Foundation

RiversEdge West's

mission is to advance the restoration of riparian lands through collaboration, education, and technical assistance.



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