Willamette River Initiative awards $1.3 million to address systemic river issues

This year, WRI funded projects included a regional communications campaign to reduce water pollution and a youth development program that connects watershed councils with underserved students, plus several other worthwhile efforts to improve river health.

Meyer’s Willamette River Initiative (WRI) this fall awarded 24 grants totaling $1.3 million to support a wide range of efforts to improve the health of the Willamette River system and the communities it touches.

Through the initiative’s Basin-wide Impact Fund, WRI awarded $996,000 to support efforts with the potential to broadly benefit river and watershed health. Among this year’s 14 funded projects: a youth development program that connects watershed councils with underserved students, the creation of a streamlined monitoring framework to track progress in restoring the Willamette River floodplain, development of the business case for water resource protection in the North Santiam watershed, and several other ambitious, interconnected efforts to improve our river.

As part of the Healthy Environment Portfolio’s annual funding opportunity, WRI awarded $213,958 to a collaborative project by conservation groups in the Upper Willamette Basin to engage in learning, relationship-building and planning to advance diversity, equity and inclusion through their work. The project includes the Long Tom Watershed Council, Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council, McKenzie Watershed Council, McKenzie River Trust, Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council, Calapooia Watershed Council and the Friends of Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah.

Finally, WRI awarded eight small grants totaling $25,200 to support Willamette Basin conservation groups’ participation in a two-day diversity, equity and inclusion training last month with the Center for Diversity and the Environment. The training kicked off a year of ongoing learning to increase current WRI grantees’ understanding of equity issues in river health, including disproportionate benefits and impacts of river health and different perspectives and values about the river, and support them in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within their work. 

Explore the list of grants here and the spreadsheet of grants here. Learn more about WRI's grant programs here.