Kentucky Waterways Alliance is very proud to announce that we are your new state affiliate for the National Wildlife Federation.
In April, after more than a year of discussions and board visits, Kentucky Waterways Alliance (KWA) became the newest and 49th state affiliate partner of the National Wildlife Federation! What does that mean? It means that KWA and NWF have agreed that there are a number of common priorities we share and will work on together.
Among our shared interests with NWF, KWA already works on water quality and protection goals, aquatic species conservation, reproduction, and habitat issues in Kentucky. We also share concerns about climate change and its effects on water resources and habitat, particularly the impacts of coal – from the extraction and burning processes to the disposal of waste water from power plants and ash ponds.
NWF state affiliates are all independent non-profit organizations – and KWA is no different. We will remain an independent organization focused on protecting and restoring Kentucky’s waterways. Although the official partnership is new, KWA has been working with NWF staff and several other state affiliate partners for years. This action will only serve to strengthen those ties. NWF state affiliates are a diverse group of organizations across the country. It’s a big tent, and we feel like KWA will fit in very comfortably.
Through this new partnership, we will have access to more resources and allies. NWF has some amazing programs, including Garden for Wildlife, Great Waters, and other strategic outreach programs. KWA will utilize this new partnership to empower our coal work, focus more on climate change impacts to water quality and quantity, and broaden our audience to include more wildlife conservationists, sportsmen, and recreational enthusiasts across Kentucky.
To kick-off our partnership, Gordon Garner, KWA Board President, and Judy Petersen, KWA Executive Director, recently returned from the 2014 NWF Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD. This 78th annual meeting was titled “Water: it connects us all.” Afterwards, Petersen remarked, “I felt right at home when I repeatedly heard words like biodiversity, landscape and watershed conservation, ecosystem threats, sustainable, advocacy programs, and protecting habitat. I was also pleased that KWA was assigned to the NWF energy and habitat committees for resolution and platform development.
So you may be asking yourself, how can a water based group strengthen wildlife management?
As we work to protect watersheds we are protecting habitats as well as water quality for people and wildlife! As KWA succeeds, Kentuckians will gain greater protection for clean water and wildlife – regardless of your desire to view, conserve, hunt or fish – you’ll be able to pass that passion for wildlife down to your children and their children.
Since KWA is a water-focused organization, we do put a large emphasis on protecting aquatic life. Our organization is particularly excited about our role in mussel species research and reproduction (which you can learn more about by reading the newsletter linked below). Mussels are like the canary in the coal mine of streams. If KWA can protect this most sensitive indicator species in our ecosystem, then we know that we are doing the same for all of the other organisms across the state.
The NWF has been without a Kentucky affiliate partner organization for several years. Now NWF members in Kentucky have an organization to represent Kentucky’s interests at national meetings and in Federation actions and priorities. KWA is proud to be the newest state affiliate, and we hope that NWF members will take a few minutes to learn more about KWA, become members of our organization, and help us represent your interests and priorities at the national level!
Only by working together will we have the influence and resources to make certain we have clean habitat for our children and for wildlife in the coming generations.