Two kids paddleboarding.

Slow Rivers

For healthy habitat, clean water, and vibrant communities


We help nature do what it does best.

Follow a river – any river – and you’re likely to discover things like boulders artificially holding riverbanks in place, soggy spots filled in to create dry land, places where trees no longer shade the water, or dug-out ditches that would prefer to be meandering streams. Our approach to conservation gives rivers space to flow freely on undeveloped land, giving nature the freedom of time and space to bring back healthy rivers. Over time, protected rivers rediscover lost bends and curves, and the waters slow so that land can hold more water during times of droughts and floods.

To do this, our signature River Corridor Easements let landowners keep using their land as farms, forests, or wetlands, but they agree to let the river flow across their land. Instead of straightening riverbeds or lining banks with old tires, landowners let rivers run their course. These protected stretches let rivers meander in big, long S-curves, spreading out over the land. As a result, water slows and the land holds more water, decreasing the amount and speed of water crashing into downstream homes and businesses, and storing up groundwater for times of drought. Plus, these seasonally flooded areas create important wetland habitat for animals like wood turtles, heron, and otters – a win-win for landowners, neighbors, and wildlife.

We apply this same approach to protected wetlands and headwater forests – key places where our conserved lands let nature regain its footing. Trees grow deep roots that hold riverbanks in place, and deep spongy soils hold water in wetlands and forest floors – good for wildlife, good for rivers, and good for communities downstream.

Leopard frog

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Interested in protecting land in your community?