Freshwater ecosystems contain important biodiversity and provide the water essential to people’s social and economic well-being. Unfortunately, poor management practices, coupled with growing water demands, have made freshwater species the most threatened on Earth, with extinction rates 4-6 times higher than their counterparts.

Pressure on freshwater systems comes from removing too much water to grow crops; contamination from economic activities (e.g., discharges from industry), land use practices (e.g., increased sediment in streams due to clearing, etc.), human waste (e.g., inadequate wastewater treatment); and new infrastructure (dams, diversions and levees). Fortunately, a number of opportunities exist to turn this crisis around.

The Nature Conservancy’s mission requires that we understand this context and help move toward a more hopeful future. To do so, we partner with people around the world, using science to equip leaders to make smart choices about how we use rivers and lakes.

 Key Resources