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Welcome to Conservation Gateway

The Gateway is for the conservation practitioner, scientist and decision-maker. Here we share the best and most up-to-date information we use to inform our work at The Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Flows

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy has worked for decades on freshwater conservation and invested heavily in more than 500 freshwater sites around the world. Today, as a result of our capacity, expertise and real-world field experience, the Conservancy has emerged as a leading global freshwater conservation organization. Our leadership is particularly significant is in the arena of environmental flows.

We wrote this compilation at the request of The World Bank to document the Conservancy’s experience in environmental flows specifically. To help others implement our cutting-edge work on environmental flows science and policy, Conservancy scientists and policy specialists provide tools, training, guidance and information, and they continue to develop and refine new methods for protecting freshwater habitats.

Conservancy staff work with water planners and governments to determine the water flows and fluctuations needed to sustain river and lake ecosystems so that appropriate environmental flow standards can be implemented in water allocation programs. Conservancy scientists are continually advancing scientific methods for determining environmental water needs in individual river basins, as well as developing guidelines for water allocation when detailed studies cannot be conducted immediately. Conservancy policy specialists engage with governmental agencies and others to mainstream environmental flow policies into the water sector.

The Conservancy strives to demonstrate that human needs and prosperity can be fully realized while maintaining the health of freshwater ecosystems. To achieve this balance, ecosystem water needs must be fully integrated into water planning and management and this integration can only occur if water managers understand and are a part of the process to define environmental flow needs. Partnering with the water management community is one of the Conservancy’s greatest strengths. Through our projects, we collaborate directly with water managers – including urban water suppliers, irrigators and dam operators – to help them meet their commitments while also providing the river flows and lake levels necessary to support functioning ecosystems. The Conservancy's partnerships are critical to the success of this global effort and include alliances with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, numerous state and national governmental agencies in the United States, the national electric energy utility of Honduras, the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, the Global Water Partnership and many other entities.