The Nature Conservancy Receives $250,000 Investment in Freshwater Connectivity from the Richard King Mellon Foundation

A view of misty mountain tops against an orange-and-pink sky.
The Appalachians The Appalachian Mountains are critically important for people, wildlife and a changing climate. © Kent Mason

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The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced today a $250,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation for efforts to restore river health and connectivity across the Appalachians, a landscape stretching from Alabama to Maine and continuing into Canada. The funds will accelerate TNC’s efforts to work alongside local and regional partners to identify, reconnect and restore critical waterways throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.

By helping to restore river function and fish passages, TNC can support the millions of people for whom riverways provide drinking water, food, recreation and income.

“This grant brings us one step closer to realizing TNC’s goal to protect and connect 5,200 miles of waterways throughout the Appalachians by 2030,” said Jessie Levine, who leads TNC’s Reconnecting Appalachians Rivers program. “The funds will expand innovative projects and regional partnerships to support more biodiverse and therefore more resilient communities of people and wildlife.”

“We applaud and thank the Richard King Mellon Foundation for its continued support of nature-based solutions that will result in healthier waters for the Appalachians,” said Lori Brennan, executive director of TNC in Pennsylvania and Delaware. “This investment will accelerate TNC’s efforts to boost biodiversity, implement priority freshwater restoration and expand connectivity on a regional scale.”

Since 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation has been one of the nation’s leading champions of environmental conservation, having helped to conserve more than 4.5 million acres across all 50 states.

Home to nearly 20,000 species of wildlife and within a day’s drive of more than half the U.S. population, the Appalachians have been identified by TNC as one of the most globally important places of focus for conserving biodiversity for the health of people and wildlife on a local, regional and global scale.

To learn more about conserving the Appalachians, visit

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.