Unveiling the blueprint for a Willamette River Network

Dear friends,

The successes our partners and grantees have achieved in WRI’s lifetime are impressive. But we have always known that restoring a river basin as large, complex and important as the Willamette will take a collaborative effort for decades to come.

Today, we are excited to unveil the blueprint for a new way to support that long-term effort: The Willamette River Network.

This community-driven Network will unite partners working toward a shared goal: ​A healthy Willamette River system with engaged, diverse leadership, in which communities and rivers thrive together. The Network will support our collective efforts to build upon the innovations of the past decade for even greater progress. At the core of this new Network will be a backbone organization to:

  • Support collaborative planning & action
  • Bring new funding into the basin
  • Serve as a hub for information and learning
  • Raise the profile of our shared enterprise

This blueprint brings into focus how the Willamette River Network will function. We’ve spent close to a year working with an advisory group to design it, beginning with feedback received from our partners and broader community over the last several years.

In it, you’ll find a visualization of the Network structure, information about the Network’s mission and how it will work in service to that mission, and a timeline of our plan to build the Network.


While the Network has been designed with many similarities to WRI, you’ll also notice some significant differences. Most notably, its mission is broader.

WRI was launched in 2008 with a focus on ecological health. Later, we added advancing diversity, equity and inclusion to our goals. The Network will carry forward and expand this vision, embedding river health, equity and thriving communities deeply into its mission. Read our equity statement to learn more about how we view the relationship between healthy rivers and equitable communities.

This blueprint marks an important milestone in the process to build this new Network, which will launch when WRI sunsets in March 2019. We’ll spend the next six months recruiting a governing board, exploring funding strategies for the basin and taking other steps to turn this concept into a reality.

We know from experience that sustained, strategic investment in river restoration paired with targeted action to strengthen and align the restoration field can spark unprecedented progress toward a healthier Willamette River Basin. We're excited to build upon the success of the past decade by building a Network to support the efforts of everyone working for a healthy river system, clean water and equitable communities.

We hope you’ll join us as our collective future takes shape.


Allison Hensey
Willamette River Initiative

PS: Have questions about the Network? View our FAQ page.