Intermountain West Joint Venture
Intermountain West Joint Venture
Water 42022-05-19T13:11:32-06:00

Water 4

Irrigated lands comprise over 60 percent of wetland habitat in the snowpack-driven systems of the Intermountain West. These lands provide vital habitat for migratory birds, sustain floodplain function, and recharge aquifers, but are at risk of fragmentation from rural subdivision, competing water demands, and the ongoing impacts of climate change.

Water 4 emerged in 2019 from conservation work already in action around the Intermountain West. Water 4 is now in its fourth year and has grown from a Joint Venture (JV) initiative to a well-established and broadly recognized conservation approach for sustaining wetlands. What was once an initiative is on the radar at the highest levels of government and is increasingly bringing new investments from key agencies to support locally led conservation efforts. Yet, now more than ever, drought and climate change are fundamentally altering the valuable wetland and irrigated agricultural lands that are imperative to the future of migratory birds, wildlife and fisheries, and people.


The Water 4 approach includes:

  • SCIENCE to identify vital working wetlands; Science to Implementation to enhance access to and use of science for strategic conservation, from field implementation to funding and decision making.
  • CAPACITY to address conservation bottlenecks and work through existing partnerships to increase the pace and scale of conservation. Adding capacity requires putting the right people with the right skills in the right place.
  • COMMUNICATIONS to advance conservation through stories about partnership-driven conservation efforts, outcomes, and the tools that get the job done.

Water 4 is accelerating water and wetlands conservation and developing transferable models across the West.

Water 4 aims to achieve conservation that provides multiple benefits to people and wildlife. A deep understanding of different perspectives, needs, and approaches to habitat delivery is necessary to ensure effective, lasting, and community-based conservation. Science further informs and focuses Water 4 in landscapes that have high value to migratory birds, wetland habitat abundance,  partnership synergy,  and partner investments.

The Water 4 Toolbox

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