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, Waterkeeper Alliance: 1. Supports and empowers member Waterkeeper organizations to protect communities, ecosystems and water quality; 2. Promotes the Waterkeeper model for watershed protection worldwide; and 3. Advocates for issues common to Waterkeeper programs.
Each Waterkeeper program reflects the needs of the waterbody and community it represents. The common thread for each Waterkeeper program 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. Think of a Waterkeeper's "clients" as 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 as the Waterkeeper to get the job done. All Waterkeepers also have a boat ranging in size from canoes to research vessels, but sometimes a pair of hip boots is more important than a boat. Sometimes a legal brief is more important than either. Each waterbody has its own unique challenges requiring a distinct and well-defined strategy.
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.
Lastly, membership and active participation in the Alliance are requirements of becoming, and remaining, a Waterkeeper program.