SUSTAINABLE RIVERS PROGRAM
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Our History

The Sustainable Rivers Program began in 1998, when personnel from the Nature Conservancy approached the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District to collaboratively develop an operations plan for the Green River Dam.

The Green River features one of the richest and most unique aquatic collections in the nation with more than 70 species of mussels, 150 species of fish, and a host species that live in its connected cave systems.

The dam was built in 1968 to help manage flood risk and provide water supply and recreation. Over time, the water regulating effects of the dam was impacting the health of many of the river’s aquatic species.

Working together, the two developed an operations plan for Green River Dam that could improve conditions for downstream ecosystems while continuing to meet human needs.

Sustainable Rivers Program Timeline

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1998

Conservancy approaches Corps about operations of Green River Dam.

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1999

Alternative management plans developed for Green River Dam.

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2000

Memorandum of Understanding signed by Corps and Conservancy

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2002

  • Sustainable Rivers Project begins.
  • Experimental flows on Green River.
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2003

  • New process for defining environmental flows applied at Savannah River.
  • First joint Corps-Conservancy training course.
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2004

  • Corps staff member assigned to Conservancy.
  • First experimental flows on Savannah River.
  • Second joint training course.
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2005

  • Environmental flows developed for Big Cypress Bayou.
  • Environmental flows developed for Bill Williams River.
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2005

  • First experimental flows on Bill Williams River.
  • Partnered software development begins.
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2006

  • Official operating procedures modified at Green River Dam.
  • Initial public release of partnered software.
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2007

  • Experimental releases on Big Cypress Bayou.
  • Partnered software used at Willamette
  • River environmental flows workshop.
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2008

  • Environmental flows developed for proposed dams on Yangtze River, China.
  • Water managers from Zambezi River in Africa hosted.
  • National reservoir survey initiated by Corps
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2009

  • Stakeholder analysis completed for Connecticut River.
  • National funding for SRP.
  • Environmental flows developed for the McKenzie River (Willamette).
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2010

  • Environmental flows developed for Connecticut River.
  • Flow recommendations revised for Savannah River.
  • National reservoir survey completed.