Great Rivers of the West

Great Rivers of the West is WRC’s inventory of our finest western streams, painstakingly researched and photographed by Tim Palmer, one of the country’s foremost experts on America’s rivers. We created the “GROW Report” over a decade ago to help focus our efforts on the rivers and streams that matter most, and where WRC can have the greatest impact.

Featured Great River of the West | pdf

Executive Summary

If we are to save the Great Rivers of the West, we need to know which rivers these are. Which are the streams that continue to nourish strong runs of wild salmon and steelhead or sustain healthy populations of native trout? Where is the water still cold and clean? Where do rare, ancient warm-water fish species still survive? Which rivers still support our nation’s most outstanding wildlife? And which streams constitute our core heritage of natural, unspoiled rivers?

Surveying the Rivers of the West

To create an inventory of our finest western streams, we turned to Tim Palmer, a noted author, photographer and river expert with 35 years of experience exploring western waterways. Our principal goal was to develop a list of the most outstanding natural rivers—the Great Rivers of the West. Criteria included free-flowing length, natural flow regime, water quality, biological health and habitat, ecological and regional diversity and recreational suitability. In the process of creating the survey, Mr. Palmer interviewed scientists and regional experts in order to make the study as comprehensive as possible.

The outcome is a state-by-state list of approximately 200 of the West's most outstanding rivers, some protected, some still vulnerable. The Great Rivers of the West is a new type of inventory to serve the modern needs of river conservation—a list that we can use to strategically inform our work.

You can download the survey using these links to PDFs on each state chapter.

Full Report

Great Rivers of the West

Executive Summary

Great Rivers of the West

Arizona

Great Rivers of the West

California

Great Rivers of the West

Colorado

Great Rivers of the West

Idaho

Great Rivers of the West

Montana

Great Rivers of the West

New Mexico

Great Rivers of the West

Nevada

Great Rivers of the West

Oregon

Great Rivers of the West

Utah

Great Rivers of the West

Washington

Great Rivers of the West

Wyoming

Great Rivers of the West

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