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Waterkeeper Alliance

Waterkeeper Alliance is the international center of a network of Waterkeeper programs. The Alliance approves new Waterkeeper programs, licenses the use of the Waterkeeper names, represents individual Waterkeepers on issues of national interest, and serves as a meeting place for all the Waterkeepers to exchange information, strategy and know-how. The Alliance and its member Waterkeeper groups meet at least once a year, rotating between regions, and communicates regularly in the interim. The Waterkeeper Alliance connects and supports local Waterkeeper programs to provide a voice for waterways and their communities worldwide. To champion clean water and strong communities, the Waterkeeper Alliance supports and empowers member Waterkeeper organizations to protect communities, ecosystems and water quality; promotes the Waterkeeper model for watershed protection worldwide; and advocates for issues common to Waterkeeper programs.

Each Waterkeeper program reflects the needs of the waterbody and community it represents. The common thread is a full-time person who serves as the Waterkeeper, the public advocate for that body of water. Waterkeepers are part investigator, scientist, lawyer, and advocate. A Waterkeeper's "clients" are all the users of the watershed for which the Waterkeeper advocates. A successful advocate has a diverse bag of tools that allows her or him to get the job done. All Waterkeepers have a boat (ranging in size from canoes to research vessels), but sometimes a pair of hip boots is even more important.

All Waterkeeper programs must be formal organizations. Whether you intend to structure your Waterkeeper program under the umbrella of an existing organization or start your own organization, there must be a non-profit 501(c)(3) or (4) entity sponsoring the Waterkeeper program.