Best Management Practice Category: Conservation


The water trail provides opportunities for communities to develop and implement strategies that enhance and restore the health of the local waterways and surrounding lands.

American Rivers Conservation Strategies

American Rivers webpage about conservation strategies related to water trails.

Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to filter water, reduce flash-flooding, prevent sewer overflows, and create healthier urban environments. 

De Soto Rain Garden

The Friends of the Kaw built a rain garden at the boat ramp in De Soto, Kansas in order to improve water quality and reduce runoff.


Cleanups and Invasive Plant Removal

Trash cleanups along rivers and removal of invasive plant species.

Sweep the Hooch

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area partners with the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeepers on a number of conservation strategies, including a yearly clean-up of the river.

Land Protection

Methods of protecting land may include acquisition, conservation easements, local ordinances for riparian protection, zoning changes, and other legal acts. 

Metropolitan River Protection Act (Georgia)

The Chattahoochee National River and Recreation Area is partnering with the Trust for Public Land to help protect land along the river.


Ecological restoration initiates or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem's health, integrity and sustainability. Often the ecosystem has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed as a result of human activities and cannot recover its predisturbance state or its historic developmental trajectory. 

Bronx Oyster Reef Construction

Oysters filter large amounts of water, cleaning it and creating a better habitat for fish, crabs, worms and barnacles. In 2010, partner groups worked together to construct a reef in the Bronx River so that young oysters would have a place to attach and grow.

Million Trees Project

The Rock River Trail Initiative has distributed 40,000 oak trees to be planted within sight of the Rock River or near one of its tributaries. The goal of the project is to improve the health of rivers in the Midwest by re-establishing hardwoods.


Monitoring and Inventory

Activities including water quality testing and monitoring, weather tracking, brownfields monitoring, mapping existing vegetation types, flood tracking and mapping.

Stream Monitoring Day

Island Loop trail put on a stream monitoring day and created this stream leaders flyer.


Planning documents specifically focused on conservation. Also listed in the planning section of the toolbox.

Ecological Restoration & Management Plan

In 2005, the Bronx River Alliance published the Bronx River Ecological Restoration and Management Plan and the Bronx River Greenway Plan, companion documents laying out a vision for a restored river and a continuous Bronx River Greenway in the lower Bronx River.

Bronx River Watershed Management Plan

The Bronx River Watershed Coalition developed a comprehensive watershed management plan which lays out a strategy for limiting the amount of pollution entering the river and its tributaries via stormwater runoff.


Everything else

Composting Toilets on the Atchafalaya Water Trail

The Atchafalaya water trail planned to install composting toilets built by staff and volunteers. These composting toilets can be installed in locations without running water, they do not waste freshwater, and they require no energy to run, although they do require some maintenance.