River Restoration Adventures for Tomorrow (RRAFT) is a nonprofit based in Gunnison, Colorado, and this year marks the nonprofit’s second year in education, restoration, conservation and education of rivers. The 501(c)3 nonprofit will lead raft trips from Colorado and Utah this fall.

In August, RRAFT took 13 students from University of Puget Sound to educate students on the Gunnison River Basin, and to speak with local stakeholders about concerns specific to the area. These students are participating on an interdisciplinary study and travel throughout nine states in the Southwest.

Delta High School students help plant native cottonwood trees along the Gunnison River in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. Photo courtesy of RRAFT

Delta High School students help plant native cottonwood trees along the Gunnison River in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.
Photo courtesy of RRAFT.

“They are learning about important issues in the West surrounding the environment and water use,” said RRAFT Program Director Jennie Noreen, who is an alumna of UPS. “What better place to get students invested in these topics than on a river that has the potential to be affected by many of these issues?”

RRAFT was awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for the Cataract project and was mentioned in a press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior as a supporting organization in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! Outside Initiative.”

RRAFT Saw Crew helps remove Russian Olive alongside the banks of the Gunnison River in Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. Photo courtesy of RRAFT

RRAFT Saw Crew helps remove Russian Olive alongside the banks of the Gunnison River in Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.
Photo courtesy of RRAFT.

“RRAFT is honored to help the Department of the Interior get youth and veterans outside onto our public lands in the name of recreation and service,” Omasta said.

This October, RRAFT members and volunteers will be assisting in making a difference in river health. From Oct. 11 to Oct. 17, RRAFT is collaborating with the Escalante River Watershed Partnership to remove Russian olive plants from the waters. At the end of October, RRAFT is teaming up with Southwest Conservation Corps Ancestral Lands Program and the National Park Service to map for non-native plant removal in Cataract Canyon.

For more information on RRAFT, visit there website at: rraft.org