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North American Riverprize Winner Announced!

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The winner of the inaugural North American Riverprize is the Niagara River, New York!


Awarded for the first time in 2015, the North American Riverprize was awarded in partnership with River Network, celebrating excellence in the restoration, protection or management of rivers on the North American continent. 


The Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper received the award for their 25 years of collaborative restoration works within the Buffalo-Niagara River Watershed. Among their many achievements, Riverkeeper has ensured that the once biologically dead Buffalo River is now on a trajectory to be de-listed as an Area of National Concern by 2019.


The 2015 North American Riverprize was judged by a panel of experts with the winner announced at River Rally 2015 in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. 


The other finalists in the 2015 North American Riverprize were:

  • Connecticut River (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire) - Highly commended
  • Sun River (Montana)
  • San Antonio River (Texas)

Click here to read the media release  |  Click here to read more about the finalists.



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The Application Process

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Applicants are required to submit a Stage 1 application form through the online system. This first stage is intended to be short and succinct to simplify the process for applicants. Stage 1 applications are then reviewed and those deemed suitable for Stage 2 will be asked to submit further information.


If your application is accepted for Stage 2, you are then required to complete the full application process.


This includes:


• Full written submission against criteria

• Provision of materials to support claims made in the application

• Provision of three independent referees who will be contacted if the application is selected as a finalist.

• Images to be used for promotional purposes by River Network and the IRF.


Following Stage 2 submission, the judging panel will select finalists. If selected as a finalist, you will be asked to provide up to ten minutes of video footage, which IRF will use to create a Riverprize

video to be screened at the Gala awards ceremony. All finalists are offered the opportunity to speak about their project at the River Rally prior to the Gala, and the winner will be given a presentation spot during the conference.


If you are chosen as the winner of the 2015 North American Riverprize, the IRF and River Network will work with the winners to gain publicity, promotion and media attention. The IRF and River Network will also work with all finalists on promoting their status as a finalist throughout the duration of the process. The winner of the 2015 North American Riverprize will automatically qualify for Stage 2 of the Thiess International Riverprize in 2016.

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About River Rally

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Partnership Opportunities

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The IRF is forming a select group of partners to support and further develop the North American Riverprize.


Businesses, Governments, Foundations and other interested parties willing to support the North American Riverprize are invited to:

  • Be a partner in the North American Riverprize
  • Participate in the 2015 River Rally Conference – (link to River Rally)

We are also seeking partners and participants in:

  • Twinning activities associated with the North American Riverprize
  • Support and development of other activities which benefit to the promotion and realisation of river restoration and protection in North America.
  • Assisting to build support for the communication of the restoration and protection of river basins.

To learn more, please email Charlotte Spliethoff, Business Development and Programs Manager at charlotte@riverfoundation.org.au.

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North American Riverprize Judging Panel

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The International RiverFoundation sincerely thanks our past and present judges for contributing their time and expertise!



Dr David Garman (Chair)

Founding Dean of the School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin (USA)

Dr David Garman (Chair)

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David’s career has covered the full range of environmental management from water resources and pollution control through to new environmental technologies, covering all aspects of measurement, management policy and strategic analysis. He is presently appointed as the Founding Dean of the School of Freshwater Studies at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, USA.  He took up this position in September 2011. His area of research and development focuses on applications of advanced technology to all aspects of environmental management but with a key emphasis on water and wastewater. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has strong international linkages within the Americas and with Europe, and Asia. 


Formerly as Chief Executive of Environmental Biotechnology Cooperative Research Centre he had responsibility for research and development with a budget of about AUS$10M/year focused on applications of advanced biotechnology to all aspects of environmental management but with an emphasis on water and wastewater. Dr Garman has served as both an executive and non-executive director for private and listed companies.  He is well experienced in the innovation and commercialisation of new technologies.


Dr Garman is immediate past-President and former Chairman of the International Water Association.  He has served 2 terms being elected in 2005 to serve to September 2010.  He has served on the IWA board for over 10 years including 2 terms as senior vice president. He continues as a director and Past President of IWA. 

Gary Collins

Indigenous Water Network

Gary Collins

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Brian Kemp

Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Brian Kemp

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Brian Kemp graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming College (Frost Campus - Lindsay, ON) in 1987 with a diploma in Forest Recreation, specializing in Outdoor Education.


Since graduation, Brian has worked in many facets of the environmental field including; forestry, stream degradation studies, public awareness/community relations, park management planning, Conservation Area development and maintenance, land securement, as well as outdoor education with school children, youth groups, and physically & mentally challenged adults.


In 1989 Brian joined the Community Relations Department of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.


Since 1989 Brian has held the following positions with the Conservation Authority: Community Relations Specialist, Community Relations Officer, Manager of Fundraising and Community Relations, Manager of Corporate Communications and in his current capacity as the General Manager of Conservation Lands.  As General Manager of Conservation Lands he leads a team of dedicated conservationists that are committed to the protection and restoration of the Lake Simcoe watershed.


In 2011 Brian became involved in an international twinning project in the Ayuquila-Armeria River Basin in Mexico and in 2013 became Project Lead.  Twinning initiatives support international collaborative partnerships to restore rivers. Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) is working with its twinning partners – the Junta Intermunicipal de Medio Ambiente para la Gestion Integral de la Cuenca Baja del Rio Ayuquila (JIRA), the Centro Universitario de la Costa Sur Universidad de Guadalajara (CUCSUR) and the Watershed Commission of the Ayuquila‐Armeria River (AAWC) through formal missions to share knowledge and best practices to promote integrated watershed management in the Ayuquila‐Armeria River Basin.


Outside of work Brian enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, exploring the great outdoors, and taking part in a variety of sports – including distance running and fishing.

Alan Vicory


Alan Vicory

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Laura Ziemer

Trout Unlimited

Laura Ziemer

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Laura Ziemer initiated Trout Unlimited’s (TU’s) water efforts by establishing the Montana Water Project office in 1998.  She has helped grow TU’s water work to seven states, (Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Washington, and California), to restore and maintain streamflows for healthy coldwater fisheries by addressing water allocation issues.  In Montana, Ms. Ziemer has expanded Trout Unlimited's water leasing program. She has helped establish new watershed restoration authorities in the 2008 and 2013 Farm Bills, protected flows on the Bitterroot River, initiated a successful drought response plan on the Blackfoot River, and obtained favorable rulings from the Montana Supreme Court recognizing instream flow rights under the prior appropriation doctrine (known as the Bean Lake III case), and limiting new groundwater development that comes as the expense of river flows (TU v. DNRC, April 2006).  In 2007, Laura worked with a broad coalition of ranchers and conservation interests to pass comprehensive reform legislation for Montana’s management of groundwater, based on the recognition of ground and surface water as one resource.  She currently serves as Trout Unlimited’s Senior Counsel and Water Policy Advisor.


Ms. Ziemer served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Barbara J. Rothstein of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle.  She is a 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan, graduating cum laude from the Law School while earning a Master’s Degree in Resource Ecology with honors from the School of Natural Resources.  She lives in Bozeman, Montana and enjoys time with her two daughters, ages 10 and 14.  

Margarita Lopez

Tijuana River Watershed

Margarita Lopez

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Margarita has become the leading community advocate for water quality protection in the coastal community of Playas de Tijuana and throughout Baja California. Over the past 13 years she has mobilised more than 35,000 volunteers, fostering “awareness through action”; coordinated the removal of nearly 200 cubic tons of trash; trained over 400 youth leaders as “coastal stewards”; and become a guiding citizen in coordinating efforts to protect not just the region’s beaches, but all streams, creeks and waterways in the Tijuana River Watershed.


Her experience in various aspect of project development, related to sustainable housing, renewable energies, pollution prevention and waste characterisation, has allowed her to implement successful projects on coastal issues such as the  “Save the Beach” Community Project. She is an Architect, having graduated from La Salle University in Mexico City.


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Use of this website is subject to the terms of use.

International RiverFoundation is not liable to you or any other for any loss in connection with the use of this website or a linked website. This general disclaimer is not restricted or modified by any of the following specific warnings and disclaimers. Please read the full terms of use.
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International RiverFoundation is not liable to you or anyone else for any loss in connection with use of this website or a linked website. This general disclaimer is not restricted or modified by any of the following specific warnings or disclaimers.
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Under no circumstances (including but not limited to any act or omission on the part of International RiverFoundation) will International RiverFoundation be liable for any indirect, incidental, special and/or consequential damages or loss of profits whatsoever which result from any use or access of, or any inability to use or access, the website.

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Apply Online

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In order to begin the online application process, please fill out some simple details for us and select which application you'd like to complete. Text fields with asterisks are mandatory. You will then be emailed a secure link to your online application form which you can access at any time.

Note: When your country is chosen a list of available contests for which you are eligible will be presented.

We're Sorry! There are no Riverprizes currently open for your country at this time. Please contact us regarding Riverprize opening dates.