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Natural Heritage Institute

The Natural Heritage Institute is an international NGO dedicated to sustainable development of major river systems in the era of climate change.  For over three decades our mission has been to re-create a world where rivers function like rivers again, by restoring their natural functions in harmony with human needs. Often this requires reoptimizing hydropower facilities, as well as water supply and flood management systems.  Hydropower has a key role to play in making power systems carbon-free, resilient and ecologically sustainable.

We address these challenges at the scale of entire river basins, often in the transboundary context. We have worked extensively on hydropower development in the U.S., Asia, Africa and Latin America.

We focus on rivers, floodplains, wetlands, deltas, and estuaries because these are the earth’s hard working life-support systems and because their natural productivity is declining widely and sharply.  Freshwater species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate, even much faster than rainforest or ocean species. These stresses will become more pronounced as the climate changes.  Appropriate infrastructure siting, design and operation can largely ameliorate these impacts.  

Our work to devise effective and durable solutions is based on best available engineering options, scientific and economic insights, innovative institutional arrangements, and progressive legal reforms.

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