The Corps and Conservancy are developing and applying new approaches to improve river management today and into the future. Collaborative methods to define environmental flows, cooperative experiments, and new technologies are being used to involve stakeholders in water and ecosystem management at our nation’s rivers. By implementing environmental flows at reservoirs, SRP is connecting science and management to increase the productivity and sustainability of our natural systems.
SRP activities increasingly involve multiple river tributaries and reservoirs in a watershed. The greater complexity of a basin-wide effort is both a challenge and an opportunity. These efforts require extensive coordination and technical support, but at the same time enable holistic management practices that benefit rivers and surrounding communities.
Corps and Conservancy personnel are seeking to extend these types of efforts to existing and future SRP sites. Reservoir re-operations at the watershed level can reconnect and enhance ecosystems along rivers, their tributaries and their floodplains. A nationwide survey of reservoirs is helping accelerate the growth of ecologically sustainable reservoir management at rivers around the country.
These efforts are not confined to rivers in the United States. SRP participants assisted in developing environmental flow recommendations for part of the Yangtze River in China, and lessons learned through SRP have the potential to support ecosystem health worldwide.
SRP activities are inspiring changes within the Corps and with national and international partners. In 1998, the Sustainable Rivers Project was an idea shared between a few innovative Corps and Conservancy staff. A decade later it encompassed eight river basins and 36 dams and now aims to build upon its successes and take on new challenges to improve river management in the United States and beyond.