Sunday, May 6, 2012

National River Rally 2012 Ramblings - Part I

The largest gathering ever of river advocates convened in Portland Oregon on May 3rd for a 4-day conference. For the first time, River Network partners and Waterkeeper Alliance members jointly sponsored the 2012 National River Rally.

The first 2 days have been quite energizing, with more than 700 'river keepers' from throughout the globe learning, sharing, networking and relaxing at the very 'green' Doubletree Hotel, which even has compost bins!

Here are some of the highlights so far:

~Friday night's opening reception featured US EPA Head Lisa Jackson talking about the importance of clean water for all Americans and the agency's efforts to support green infrastructure.

~Saturday breakfast with River Network's Diana Toledo resulted in great synergy and possible collaboration between the Urban Rivers Institute and their Urban Waters Program.

~Saturday's morning's keynote showcased an energetic talk by Alexandra Cousteau, Jacques granddaughter, talking passionately about her film work to showcase the challenges to drinking water supply worldwide. Her presentation included the screening of her National Geographic Explorer film on the drying up of the Colorado River.

~My one-on-one chat with Charles River Watershed Association Executive Director Robert Zimmerman opened my eyes to new 'grey infrastructure' opportunities (It's the sewers, stupid!) to support urban river restoration.

~WORKSHOP:  Alabama Power's leadership and mission change from consumption to efficiency showcased how the unlikely partners of utilities and river advocates can partner to save water and energy.

~WORKSHOP:  The Wisconsin 'Sweet Water' collaboration shed light on how to create successful regional watershed decision-making that gets things done right.

~The exhibitor hall, silent auction and 'recess' activities helped bring a welcome break from sitting and eating (good healthy food options from the hotel, though). I had an insightful chat with USGS on their new research linking hydraulic fracturing with seimicity and met a Rutgers graduate student who is currently mapping fracking/seismic correlations in Oklahoma and Ohio.

~Saturday's events ended with the Keynote Speech by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, who spoke about his 40 year water warrior efforts to bring clean water to everyone. He emphasized that sound environmental restoration equals economic opportunity and jobs. A sweet video of 93 year old Pete Seeger emotionally told the story of why he, too, is a river keeper.

Two down and two more days to go! Look for my Part II Ramblings. In the meantime, I'm tweeting live @ArroyoLover.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's Time for the National River Rally!

One of this year's most exciting events happens this weekend and the ArroyoLover will be there!

It's the annual National River Rally, the premier gathering of river conservation individuals and organizations in our nation. Co-sponsored by the River Network and Waterkeepers, this year's Rally is in Portland, Oregon, the ideal location as both an urban planner's delight and crossroads of two amazing rivers: the Columbia and the Willamette.

Highlighting the more than 95 workshops and River Heroes banquet are keynote speakers Robert F. Kennedy, Jr and Alexandra Cousteau. We'll even get some paddling time on the river.

ArroyoLover's Urban Rivers Institute is a River Network Partner and this will be our First River Rally, so we are especially excited! The Rally is so popular that it completely sold out on April 2nd.

We will be blogging highlights and will be tweeting @arroyolover from the Pacific Northwest's most sustainable city, so follow our news here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Announcing the Urban Rivers Institute!

Dear Loyal Arroyo Lover Readers,

Yes, we know this blog has been silent for many months. Not for lack of the Arroyo Lover's desire to share her musings of all things river but rather because the Arroyo Lover has been hard at work on her new venture...and today we announce the launch of the Urban Rivers Institute, whose mission is Revitalizing Cities...One River At a Time.

For more than two years, the Arroyo Lover has searched for the unique way she can serve rivers and our urban environment. She's experimented with project ideas and she's consulted with her river mavens in her search for purpose-driven work that will help all of us better understand rivers historically, scientifically, dynamically, artistically, and spirtually.

Why Urban Rivers? Because of all the rivers of the earth, urban rivers pose the most unique and daunting challenges for true restoration and revitalization - competing to flow against the demands of high density land use, local source water supply needs, open space constrictions, developed recreation (think football stadiums), public safety, diverse demographics, and the dynamic tension between private and public property owners.

With more than half of Americans living in cities and the growing international trend towards mega-cities, the stresses on our urban rivers will only continue to increase.

Th Urban Rivers Institute at heart is a collaboration-driven Education Center, focusing on River Storytelling, River Schools, and River's Edge Integrated Environmental Design. The Institute draws upon the Arroyo Lover's academic relationship with Cal Poly's Urban & Regional Planning Department, her video  partnership with Siren Arts Productions, her experiential work on several river restoration projects, and her long-term real estate/land use transaction management.

Just as importantly, YOU are an Urban Rivers Institute collaborator, too, for we count everyone who is working to save, restore and revitalize urban rivers among our friends.

The Arroyo Lover promises her return to timely blog postings. Watch for updates from this year's River Rally in Portland Oregon ~ musings from the Colorado River Tour ~ personal commentary from the Arroyo Seco, Los Angeles River...and beyond.

Visit to learn more about our exciting new vision. Please join our mailing list to keep abreast of our efforts and your possible participation in our upcoming River School, workshops and webinars.