Paddle for Our Rivers

Why Friends of the River is the Beneficiary of the California River Quest


About Friends of the River

Friends of the River (FOR) was founded in 1973 during the struggle to save the Stanislaus River from New Melones Dam and grew to become California’s only statewide river conservation organization

FOR protects and restores rivers and promotes sustainable water solutions through advocacy and education.


FOR is a nationally recognized authority on the adverse impacts of dams on rivers and ecosystems that has led and supported successful campaigns for the permanent protection of more than 2,000 miles of iconic rivers and streams in California – including the Kings, Kern, Merced, Tuolumne, upper Klamath, West Walker, East Carson, Sisquoc, and Big Sur Rivers, as well as Sespe Creek and Cache Creek.


FOR has helped to launch many watershed-based citizens’ groups, among them Friends of the Trinity River, Friends of the Kern River, the South Yuba River Citizens League, the Tuolumne River Preservation Trust and the Stanislaus River Council. It also coordinates and participates in several major statewide and national campaigns and coalitions, including The American River Coalition, The California Hydropower Reform Coalition, Beyond Searsville Dam, and The Environmental Water Caucus.


Current Work

Protecting Rivers from President Trump and Congress

  • Sponsoring state legislation to put Federal Wild & Scenic Rivers under state protection if they remove federal protection for rivers, like the Merced, to allow new dam construction.
  • Saving the Sacramento, San Joaquin and McCloud Rivers from plans to build or expand three dams by fighting off federal legislation to preempt state law, preventing public funding, promoting better solutions, and preparing for litigation if needed.


Pointing Positive to Sustainable Water Solutions for California

  • Making water conservation and efficiency a way of life in California by setting water budgets for California water users and advocating for sustainable water solutions that are cheaper and faster than building new dams and create much more water.


Building Public Support for Rivers

FOR launched the River Advocacy Training School in 2015 to bring the next wave of river advocates. After an intensive 4-day training, participants from across the state go back to their communities’ to inform and engage thousands of people in river protection. FOR has already trained nearly fifty river advocates and you could be next!


Past Work – Starting in 1973

For more than 45 years, Friends of the River has fought and advocated for California Rivers.  Read about their past work and accomplishments.

Photo by: Jason Montelongo
Photo by: Jason Montelongo