The River Bank

Out Of Sight - Out Of Mind

The extraordinary web of life in freshwaters is buckling under the pressures of human development. Loss of species and degradation of habitats has consequences for everyone. We share a responsibility to safeguard this invaluable resource - let’s act now and work towards restoring the balance for freshwater biodiversity!

The River Bank

Freshwater ecosystems provide water for food and energy production, they purify drinking water, provide medicines, and play an important role in flood and erosion control. The species making up these ecosystems are largely unseen yet represent some of the most diverse and interesting plants and animals on Earth.

Over the last 10 years, experts in the IUCN Species Survival Commission have mapped and assessed the threats for more than 25,000 freshwater species. Based on the categories and criteria of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ almost a third of these are threatened with extinction and over 200 are already Extinct. We are losing freshwater species more rapidly than either marine or terrestrial species, but they are disappearing largely unnoticed. Priority areas for the ongoing assessment are illustrated in the map below in red.

Progress and gaps in the global assessment of freshwater biodiversity


With the human population set to rise to 9 billion by 2050, the forecast is for a 55% increase in water demands, a 60% increase in food demands and an 80% increase in energy needs, putting enormous pressure on freshwater ecosystems. If the catastrophe facing freshwater species is to be averted, and if we are to sustain our dependence on the many services they provide, we have to act now!

Against this backdrop of tremendous threat to freshwater biodiversity, it's value to people's livelihoods and the predicted increase in pressure on freshwater ecosystems, we need your support to help us complete the global freshwater biodiversity assessment. Information from the assessment is critical to informing development and conservation planning in ways to minimise the impact to this invaluable component of global biodiversity. Learn about the River Bank.

Donate to the River Bank! Help us put more freshwater species on the map. Species assessments will be completed, critical sites identified and conservation actions initiated with your support.

Work area: 
Freshwater species
Red List
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