Throughout the American West, an intense demand for water—for agriculture and other human uses—jeopardizes the health of our rivers, streams, and lakes. Fish and wildlife communities that depend on these water sources are increasingly stressed.
NFWF’s Western Water Program works to acquire water rights from willing sellers to increase water flows in streams, lakes and wetlands. These transactions help to maintain and restore critical freshwater habitats while addressing the needs of farmers and ranchers and the communities in which they live.
In 2002, NFWF and the Bonneville Power Administration joined forces to manage the Columbia River Water Transactions Program. With a wide network of partners, this program has accelerated the pace and expanded the scale of complex flow transactions in the Pacific Northwest. Building on this experience, NFWF was named by Congress in 2009 to oversee the Walker Basin Restoration Program in Nevada. In 2011, NFWF established the Rio Grande Water Transactions Program.
In addition to water transaction initiatives in the Klamath Basin in southern Oregon and northern California, NFWF is currently developing freshwater programs in the Sierra Nevada/Central Valley/Bay-Delta watershed of California; the lower Colorado River Basin; the upper Colorado River Basin, and other bi-national watersheds of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.