America’s waters are the lifeblood of our nation. The rivers, streams, lakes, aquifers, springs, and wetlands that course through our landscape support countless species of fish, mussels, salamanders, turtles as well as most species on land and in the sky. People also need healthy waterways, as water underpins every element of our way of life--from drinking water to recreation, transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing.
Unfortunately, run-off pollution and extreme weather driven by climate change are growing threats to our waters, harming their ability to support people and wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation works to protect and restore our nation’s waters for future generations.
Clean water is the lifeblood of healthy ecosystems and healthy communities, from headwaters to the sea. The health of our coastal estuaries, rivers, streams, bays, wetlands, and lakes are intrinsically linked to the strength of the Clean Water Act, one of our nation’s most foundational environmental laws. The National Wildlife Federation works with our affiliates and other partners to defend the Clean Water Act and shape other policies that affect America’s waters on the federal, state and local level to protect and restore clean water, floodplains, coasts, and wetlands.
We engage with Congress on a wide range of federal legislation -- from annual budgets, the Farm Bill, infrastructure spending, the Water Resources Development Act and funding for programs outlined by the Clean Water Act and Safe Water Drinking Act. We work with federal agencies to enforce and strengthen existing laws and to equitably expand access to federal resources in communities struggling to meet clean water needs. When necessary, we take legal action to protect our waters from harm.
In our work, we strive to lift up partners from underrepresented communities, because all too often, the same policies that harm our nation’s wildlife and water resources also disproportionately harm frontline communities.
The National Wildlife Federation seeks to support efforts to:
Our nation’s water quality has improved dramatically since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972. Unfortunately, elements of this landmark legislation are under threat. Specifically, there are ongoing efforts at both the state and federal levels to remove federal protections from roughly half of our nation’s wetlands and streams and to short-circuit the scientific review of projects that can harm our waters. The National Wildlife Federation defends the Clean Water Act in Congress and in the courts.
Across the United States, large aquatic ecosystems with particular value to fish and wildlife face significant ecological threats. The Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Mississippi River Delta, Gulf of Mexico, and other major water resource areas—what we think of as the nation’s Great Waters—have become degraded over the years by pollution, changes to way water flows in the system, the destruction of wetlands, and more. The Federation plays a leadership role in many coalitions dedicated to the protection of these special places. Our strategies include securing funds, advocating for supportive policies, and developing on-the-ground projects to restore these waters for people and wildlife.
Learn more about national and regional water coalitions here.
Wetlands and Watersheds
Now more than ever, we need to protect and restore precious water resources and the beneficial functions they offer.
We've been on the front lines since the Gulf oil disaster began, working for the recovery of Gulf wildlife, waters, and communities.
Texas Living Waters
Based out of our South Central Regional Center, our staff work to guarantee sufficient water for Texas rivers and bays.
Water Resource Management
We coordinate the Water Protection Network to ensure water projects and polices are wildlife-friendly, cost-effective, and environmentally safe.
Clean Water Act
We advocate for strong enforcement of the Clean Water Act to prevent wetland and stream destruction and pollution.
For decades, large mining corporations have dumped toxic waste into America's most pristine streams, lakes, and wetlands.
Five ways to participate in the 10th annual celebration!Read More
Take the Clean Earth Challenge and help make the planet a happier, healthier place.Learn More
Promoting more-inclusive outdoor experiences for allRead More
A groundbreaking bipartisan bill aims to address the looming wildlife crisis before it's too late, while creating sorely needed jobs.Read More
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.