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A well-managed and operational Conservation Gateway is in our future! Marketing, Conservation, and Science have partnered on a plan to rebuild the Gateway into the organization’s enterprise content management system (AEM), with a planned launch of a minimal viable product in late 2024. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, reach out to for more info!

Mission: Improve the health and life of rivers by changing dam operations to restore and protect ecosystems, while maintaining or enhancing other project benefits.

Goal: Advance, implement, and incorporate e-flow strategies at USACE reservoirs.

E-flows: Management decisions that manipulate water and land-water interactions to achieve ecological or environmental goals.

Current efforts: In short, the SRP focuses on determining unique flow requirements for rivers and then creating operating plans for dams that achieve environmental flows—scientific prescriptions for the timing, quantity and quality of water flow that must occur downstream and upstream of dams in order to revive and sustain critical ecological functions and habitat for species. The SRP currently invests in 5,058 of river miles regulated by the Corps, but the program's expansion could add another 6,319 river miles. The true value of the program, however, is its potential applicability to the more than 600 dams, 403 million acre-feet of water storage and almost 53,000 miles of river impacted by Corps dams.  

Expansion: In 2020, the Sustainable Rivers Program received a substantial boost in funding.  Fourteen new rivers could be added to the program and 6,319 river miles could be added to the program's influence.  The additional funding will also enable the program to broaden the types of environmental actions to achieve the sustainable management of water and ecosystems at reservoirs.  Beyond General dams, work efforts will expand at Locks and Dams, Dry dams and dams with shared management with the Bureau of Reclamation.  Benefits to river habitat will support riparian and aquatic vegetation as well as the fish, wildlife and avian species that thrive in the freshwater diversity of our flowing rivers. 

History: In 2002, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—the largest water manager in the nation—launched a collaborative effort to find more sustainable ways to manage river infrastructure in order to maximize benefits for people and nature. First known as the Sustainable River Project (SRP), TNC and the Corps increased this work to eight rivers at 36 sites across the nation by 2015. In 2017, the Corps recognized the SRP as a line in their budget, and it became a "Program" that included, by 2019, 66 federal dams on 16 rivers in 15 states.