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Sustainable Rivers Project Publishes Status Update and Vision

Published Oct. 21, 2011
Graphic of Sustainable Rivers Project Status Brochure cover
Sustainable Rivers Project Status Brochure: Improving the Health and Life of Rivers; Enhancing Economies; Benefiting Rivers, Communities and the Nation.
Graphic of Sustainable Rivers Project Vision Brochure cover
Sustainable Rivers Project Vision Brochure: Understanding the Past

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – October 21, 2011. The Sustainable Rivers Project (SRP), an ongoing partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and The Nature Conservancy (Conservancy), has published communications pieces about the project’s status and vision. Established in 2002, SRP focuses on modifying operations at Corps dams to enhance habitat conditions for the plants and animals that depend on downstream river flows.

The status update describes the purpose, benefits, and status of the project and features the eight rivers currently enrolled as project sites, which are: Green River (Kentucky), Savannah River (Georgia, South Carolina), Bill Williams River (Arizona), Big Cypress Bayou (Texas, Louisiana), Willamette River (Oregon), White River (Arkansas, Missouri), Connecticut River (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont) and Roanoke River (North Carolina, Virginia). Each site presents unique challenges and opportunities to benefit the people, plants and animals that rely on these rivers.

The SRP vision provides an overview of the effort—how it came to be, how it has evolved, why it is important, and where it is headed. The project grew out of a Conservancy/Corps effort in 1998 to develop an operations plan for Green River Dam that could improve conditions for downstream ecosystems while continuing to meet human needs. Ecosystems respond to changes in the patterns of river flows and water quality. Reservoirs can be used as vital tools in the restoration and management of these ecosystems. In the case of the Green River, Corps and Conservancy staff concluded that modifying releases from Green River Dam could benefit the spawning cycles of fish and freshwater mussels while also improving recreation opportunities at the reservoir. The new operations were implemented on an interim basis in 2002 and officially changed after the trial period ended in 2006. In the ten years since 2002, this initial success has expanded SRP efforts, which now include work on 36 reservoirs in eight river basins.

More about the Sustainable Rivers Project

The Sustainable Rivers Project is an ongoing partnership between the Corps and the Conservancy. It seeks to improve the health and life of rivers by changing the operations of reservoirs in ways that help natural systems while continuing to meet human needs. SRP works within the Congressionally authorized purposes of dams to include environmental benefits along with other services. The Corps and Conservancy are developing and applying new approaches to improve river management today and into the future.

IWR’s Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC), the designated Center of Expertise for the Corps in the technical areas of surface and groundwater hydrology, river hydraulics and sediment transport, hydrologic statistics and risk analysis, reservoir system analysis, planning analysis, and real-time water control management, provides its expertise to the SRP team.

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