We are happy to announce the 2023 Free Rivers Fund Grantees: 13 projects from 13 different countries and 5 continents – all fighting to protect rivers! We gave 13 grants this year, twice as many as in 2022 and by far the most we have ever given in one year. The quality and quantity of this year’s applications has blown us away and for the first time the number of projects that met our criteria were considerably more than we could afford to fund. But don’t you worry – we made it work! Here are this year’s projects:
New projects 2023
One of the 2023 grantees is Voss Naturvernlag – a local volunteer team in Voss (Norway) campaigning against a combined hydropower/ flood prevention scheme proposed for the Raundalselva River. Norway is more than oversaturated with hydropower and we love that finally some resistance is forming there.
We gave grants to the Citizen Associaten Buturovic-Polje (Bosnia and Herzegovina) campaigning for the Neretvica River as well as to the Futaleufú Riverkeeper (Chile) working towards making the Futaleufú a River National Park.
World and Danube from Serbia are campaigning against an infrastructure & river management project that will cost 170 hectares of the Danube’s floodplain. They are in the middle of several court cases and needed financial support for lawyers and expert statements.
We support Ben Rowlands and his campaign Save the Austari-Jökulsá against several hydropower projects in Iceland as well as Darby McAdams who is producing a film on the Batoka Dam on the Zambezi River (Zambia).
The Dibang Resistance are locals campaigning against a total of 17 proposed dams on the Dibang River in India, threatening the ecosystem and the indigenous people living off the river.
Protect Río Grande are locals and farmers campaigning against a massive hydropower project that will affect the water balance in their home valley in Spain.
We also support Călin Dejeu – a local hero fighting a multitude of hydro projects on several rivers in Romania as well as the local activists fighting a court case against the Skavica dam project: Save the Drin River (Albania).
Continued Grants 2023
We continue to support The Grand Salmon – last year these three women went on a source-to-sea journey of the Salmon River (USA) kayaked 1,000+ miles from the sources of the three primary tributaries to Idaho’s Salmon River all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Their goal is to promote the removal of the four Lower Snake River dams and a moratorium on the Stibnite Gold Mine Project in order to save the rapidly decreasing salmon populations from extinction. They have and are still hosting community days and educational events and are now producing a film to tell the story of the Snake River Basin and the threats it is facing.
We also continue the support of the Skrbuša River Defence: a small group of local activists fighting a court case against the construction of a mini-hydro power plant on the river Skrbuša in Montenegro. They have been successful so far in delaying construction and are working towards the final termination of the contruction contracts.
We also continue to fund Marlène Devillez with her project Rivières les Sentinelles (France). The goal of this project is to educate about the threats our rivers are facing and to connect kayaking with river conservation and science.