Press Release | International Rivers awarded $1.25 million from Arcadia Fund to protect freshwater biodiversity

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Black-necked crane on the Lancang River in Qinghai, northwest China.

International Rivers.


Oakland, CA: International Rivers is pleased to announce a new partnership with the UK-based Arcadia Fund – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin – to support our efforts to protect vital freshwater ecosystems from the threats posed by dams and over-exploitation.

“Rivers are critical freshwater resources that provide drinking water for billions of people, sustain the world’s farms and forests, and are home to greater density of biodiversity than any other ecosystem. Yet these rich ecosystems are experiencing unprecedented threats globally from the planned surge in hydropower construction, threatening the livelihoods of rural and urban communities around the world,” said Kate Horner, International Rivers’ Executive Director. 

“We are immensely grateful for the Arcadia Fund’s support, which will enable us to scale up our long-standing approach to protecting the world’s most ecologically sensitive river basins at this critical time.”

With support from this grant, International Rivers will take a holistic approach to addressing the threat to freshwater biodiversity posed by water infrastructure and over exploitation. Free-flowing rivers work like arteries, providing the world’s ecosystems with critical freshwater resources. These resources nurture the animal and plant life within rivers, recharge fertility in floodplains and provide nutrients to delta, estuarine and near-shore reefs. Water infrastructure has consistently been found to be among the leading causes of decline of freshwater biodiversity and ecosystems. 

International Rivers will work to protect riverine ecosystems by influencing how rivers are governed, how they are protected in law, and how they are valued through planning and management with the aim of ensuring that rivers are used sustainably and can continue to perform their critical biodiversity functions. 

“We hope Arcadia’s support will help International Rivers to identify and address threats to rivers and to play an important role in freshwater biodiversity conservation worldwide,” Lisbet Rausing, Arcadia Fund. 

To read more about International Rivers’ work to protect freshwater biodiversity, click here.

International Rivers works to protect rivers and defend the rights of the communities that depend on them. In 2013, International Rivers received the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.


Founded by Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, Arcadia supports charities and scholarly institutions to preserve cultural heritage, protect the environment, and promote open access. Since 2002, the Arcadia Fund has awarded more than $500 million in grants to projects around the world.