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From “Freeways For Fish” to “Working Waters”

river aerialIn 2015, Geos Institute’s Freeways for Fish program surpassed its long-term goal of restoring native fish access to over 1,200 river miles in the Rogue River Basin. By healing damaged habitat, removing outdated infrastructure, and restoring natural water flow patterns, the Rogue River Basin and its salmon are now better prepared for the impacts of climate change.

Surpassing this restoration goal also marked an inflection point for us. As we helped recover native fish habitat over the past thirteen years, we discovered that towns and water utilities were also reaping the benefits of cleaner water as a result of our projects.

Drinking water supplies continue to be impacted by climate change, and towns are looking for innovative ways to meet these challenges. Protecting and enhancing water at its source is a first line of defense in meeting the basic needs of people and nature, especially as climate conditions change. So, in 2015, we are wrapping up our final projects under the Freeways for Fish program and formally launching our Working Waters initiative to help restore water quality for communities, as well as fish.

While our program name has changed, our sights remain set on the big picture: shift the paradigm within the water management sector from a primary focus on built, “gray” solutions to that of enhancing the natural capacity of fresh water ecosystems to provide clean, reliable supplies of freshwater. We are building on our years of restoration success in the Rogue Basin to help managers of public drinking water systems throughout the Pacific Northwest. Upcoming projects will help protect watersheds region-wide as a key strategy for adapting to the uncertainties of a changing climate. 

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