The integrity of rivers depends on the ecological health of the entire surrounding landscape and, in turn, healthy rivers benefit the lands they drain. This relationship between land management activities and the health of rivers underlies all of PRC's work. Land management practices including forest road management, commercial timber harvest, forest thinning, and post-fire logging have impacts beyond just their local impacts in the uplands; these activities can alter the entire watershed and cause harmful downslope impacts to the ecological health of rivers.
PRC works to protect and restore rivers, their watersheds, and the native species that depend on them. Native aquatic species face serious threats to their viability. Freshwater species are undergoing widespread and accelerated population declines and extinctions. Rivers, streams, wetlands, and lakes have lost a greater proportion of their species and habitat than any other ecosystem on land or in the oceans. And of all the earth's major ecosystems, they have suffered the most calamitous declines. Causes of decline include multiple threats from freshwater and land-based sources, including logging, road building, mining, dams, diversions, and grazing.
Pacific Rivers Council firmly believes that sound stewardship of freshwater ecosystems benefits the economy. Arguments that pit environmental protection against jobs and economics are misleading. In fact, environmental and economic health go hand in hand.
Pacific Rivers Council is embarking on an ambitious program to identify, build support for, and gain permanent protection for some of our nation's healthiest rivers and watersheds. We call these our Legacy Rivers because they are worthy of recognition, celebration, protection and restoration as part of our freshwater heritage.