On-the-Ground Projects

On-the-Ground Projects

We support innovative water restoration projects throughout North America that demonstrate how we can have healthier rivers side-by-side with healthy economies and productive agriculture. Partnering with on-the-ground conservation organizations, we seek out restoration projects that will increase flows in rivers and streams, restore wetlands and replenish groundwater to improve water security for people, fish and wildlife.

We support projects that restore and enhance water supplies, help companies invest in verified restoration projects, and host the “Water Restoration Certificates” program. We match funding partners with on-the-ground restoration projects that promote water quality, increase water quantity, and benefit communities.

Project Bank

Photo by Tana Kappel
Photo by Tana Kappel

The Project Bank is a first of-its-kind platform that allows companies to directly access, evaluate, and connect with environmental water stewardship projects located across North America. The Project Bank represents hundreds of water stewardship opportunities that provide businesses a clear pathway to achieve measurable environmental water outcomes in communities and watersheds of interest. Projects represented in the bank can be used to balance corporate water footprints, provide employee engagement and volunteer opportunities, and achieve sustainability reporting and CSR objectives.

The Project Bank contains a portfolio of project types that collectively support food and water security, address corporate supply chain water impacts, and/or achieve environmental and social benefits needed to sustain viable economies, rivers, and communities in key areas of interest. The platform represents the work and leadership of dozens of NGO groups working to protect and enhance freshwater resources across North America.

Leading businesses and corporations can search for specific project types, locations, and benefits in order to identify projects that will meet specific CSR, environmental sustainability and/or brand objectives across multiple regions.



The Benefits of Water Stewardship

We support projects that have a meaningful impact with real benefits:

  • Food & Water Security
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Water Quality Improvement
  • Water Efficiency Improvement
  • Groundwater Replenishment
  • Recreation & Economic Enhancements
  • Wildlife & Habitat Improvement
  • Volunteer Opportunities


Water Restoration Certificates

WRC_type_300dpi_3in_RGBSo much water is withdrawn from rivers and aquifers to meet the needs of cities, agriculture, and industry that across North America tens of thousands of miles of dry or depleted rivers and wetlands now exist. In many places, withdrawals completely dry up streams or deplete groundwater reserves, significantly impacting water quality, habitat, economic vitality, and recreation.

In response to growing global water stress, businesses are increasingly seeking ways to achieve water stewardship goals and minimize their water footprint. Our Water Restoration Program and Water Restoration Certificates® (WRCs) offer a first-of-its-kind platform that can help balance your business water footprint and achieve important water security, social, and environmental benefits in key areas of interest.

Our Water Restoration Program provides support for a growing and diverse portfolio of national projects that restore water to achieve important social and environmental benefits.  Restored water is tracked and reported through the creation of Water Restoration Certificates. Each certificate represents 1,000 gallons of water restored that directly contribute to the economic, recreational, and/or ecological vitality of national freshwater resources.  All WRC projects are certified by a third party verifier using strict set of criteria to ensure that water is restored in locations that will generate optimum benefits.

For more information on how Water Restoration Certificates can help balance your water footprint, visit the BEF website.

Verifiable Registration & Tracking

The amount of water restored by each project is tracked on the international IHS Markit Environmental Registry. Water Restoration Certificates are used to provide verification of water restored on a company’s behalf and to designate the specific project and location supported by the company. The certificate also ensures that quantifiable results are not double counted and that only your organization owns the environmental attributes associated with the specific quantity of restored flow made possible by your organization’s support.

Model Watersheds

We pioneered a comprehensive Model Watershed Program strategy to overcome critical barriers that limit our ability to restore degraded watersheds and sustain water benefits for communities and rivers. With a decade-long investment strategy and ongoing partnerships with philanthropic funders, we continue to build and test an adaptive, best-practices strategy to achieve sustained and effective restoration and stewardship. We have worked as strategic advisor and partner to funders such as the Meyer Memorial Trust, Laird Norton Family Foundation, Russell Family Foundation, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Trout Unlimited, and others to develop, support, and design strategies that can achieve long-term restoration and stewardship results.

Together with our Model Watershed partners, we aim to revitalize rivers and maximize the benefits provided to rivers and communities. For more information on our Model Watershed program visit the BEF Model Watershed website.

Solutions for Watershed Restoration