Protecting the Amazon
Basin and Rainforest

Strengthening and growing Waterkeeper groups in the region.

The Amazon River is the largest in the world by volume.

The river and its tributaries run through Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil before reaching the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to over 32 million people, and hundreds of thousands of Indigenous Peoples depend on the rainforests and rivers for their food and way of life. But the basin has been severely compromised. Mining pollution, deforestation, agricultural pollution, large hydro dams, and massive dredging projects for industrial shipping routes threaten homes and livelihoods. The local fight to protect the Amazon is of global urgency.

Through Project Osiris, Waterkeeper Alliance has prioritized the Amazon River Basin as one of the world’s most iconic and endangered water bodies in critical need of protection. With an initial focus in Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador, we will recruit local and Indigenous-led groups to amplify their voices—and Indigenous knowledge—for the protection of the Amazon Basin and Rainforest.

Learn more about our work in the Amazon Basin below.

What our Waterkeepers are doing

Marañón Waterkeeper is fighting two planned dams on the Marañón River, which is the primary tributary river to the Amazon. These dams, if built, will stop water on the Marañon from flowing freely; as a result, the Amazon will be cut off from the very water it needs to survive.

The Amazon River should not be cut off from this essential tributary.

Marañón Waterkeeper’s work in Peru ranges from taking local people rafting so they can see the river they love in a whole new light to supporting expeditions of biologists cataloging the unique life in the Marañón canyon to legal work to ensure the company trying to build the dams follow’s Peru’s laws

Saving the Amazon is important. To do that, we must make sure its tributaries flow freely.

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Watch Marañón Waterkeeper in The Visionaries, the award-winning series hosted by Sam Waterston:

Deep in the Amazon, the people are “made by the river.” The river provides daily fish, water to drink, water for hygiene; the river allows commerce, transportation, recreation, and spirituality, especially for the Indigenous peoples who inhabit its basin. Precisely in such long rivers as the Amazon, Ucayali, Huallaga, and Marañón — with a combined length of 2,687 kilometers (1,699 miles) — the Hidrovia Amazónica, or Amazon Waterway Project (AWP), would be developed, including dredging to increase traffic along the river.

However, since this project could affect biological diversity, water quality, and food security, it has been highly questioned by Indigenous peoples, who demand compliance with prior consultation agreements.

Learn more about the Hidrovia Amazónica and how Amazonas Perú Waterkeeper, and its parent organization Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR), are fighting to stop it. It would only make life worse for the people of the Peruvian Amazon.

Waterkeeper Warrior

Learn about Bruno Monteferri, the Marañón Waterkeeper, in the two-part 20th Anniversary edition of Waterkeeper Magazine.

Photos by Ben Webb.