Who owns our rivers? The answer to that question surprises many: You do!

Our rivers are part of the ‘public trust’ doctrine which says that we all own and share them together. This powerful legal tradition gives us the right to clean, unpolluted water for swimming, fishing, and boating. The public trust doctrine has evolved over 2,000 years to safeguard our most important natural resources. Yet, we still have to fight for our right to clean water.

At CRC, we believe that the right to clean water comes with responsibility to care for and steward our rivers. It is critical that we all speak up for and protect our waters. Our rivers depend on each of us doing our part. Stewardship is more urgent now than ever before. Budget and staff cuts at the federal and state levels and the rolling back of environmental regulations have put our public waters at risk.

Thanks to you, CRC River Stewards work hard to ensure our rivers have enough clean water to support all the people, fish and other wildlife that depend on them. That means getting strong laws in place that ensure rivers and streams are not pumped dry, fighting for regulations that set a high standard for clean water, and working for more funding to improve our wastewater treatment plants.

But river stewardship isn’t just about us – it’s also about you! There are lots of ways that you can get involved in stewarding our rivers, too. Keep in mind that stewardship isn’t just big stuff. You can be a steward to our rivers by choosing a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, by using less fertilizer on your lawns and cleaning up after your pets, and by picking up litter. Click the links below for other ways to be a good steward of your rivers:

Join CRC’s annual Source to Sea Cleanup

Volunteer with CRC and sign up for CRC emails to hear about more opportunities

Reduce water use in your home or yard

We’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite way to be a steward to your rivers? Tell us at editor@ctriver.org.