Our story started in 1966 when commercial and recreational fishermen, many of whom were veterans, united to form the Hudson River Fishermens Association and save their river. These fishermen recognized that outspoken, citizen-led advocacy was the only way to ensure that laws were enforced and that their river, livelihoods, and the health of their families were protected. They took on many of the nations biggest industrial polluters and won. Their success spurred an explosive growth of similar grassroots programs across the globe, and in 1999 Waterkeeper Alliance was founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to support these programs.
Waterkeeper Alliance organizations combine firsthand knowledge of their waterways with an unwavering commitment to the rights of their communities and to the rule of law. Whether they are on the water tracking down polluters, in a courtroom advocating for stronger enforcement of environmental laws, at a town meeting rallying community support, or in a classroom educating young people, Waterkeeper Alliance organizations defend their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water.
Made up of more than 190 local Waterkeeper organizations and employing more than 400 full-time and 200 part-time environmental activists, educators, scientists and attorneys, the Waterkeeper Alliance keeps Waterkeepers connected, provides them with legal, scientific, and communications support, and unites their voices as they take on major global water issues together.
The French Broad Riverkeeper was founded in 2001 to protect and defend the water quality of the French Broad River. We work on more than 6,000 miles of streams and tributaries throughout the entire French Broad River Watershed.