From cleanup projects to water-conserving gardens, river-centric proposals from local groups are pouring into the River Network Grant Contest, and the public will decide who gets the top $25,000 prize. A joint effort of the River Network and sponsor MillerCoors, the River Network Grant Contest provides funding that conservation organizations need to carry out projects that benefit rivers and their surrounding ecosystems.

In this video, River Network President Todd Ambs talks about the contest and how the funds are applied to provide long-term benefits to water quality, water flow or public education about water issues in local communities.

From a pool of proposals submitted by current members of the River Network Partnership, six finalists have been selected by a committee. The details of these six proposals have been posted on the River Network website for public voting. The top vote-getting proposal will receive $25,000, with the second getting $15,000 and the third getting $10,000.

Believing that with great beer comes great responsibility, MillerCoors is teaming up with the River Network for the fourth year in a row to award funds to worthy projects. This year, MillerCoors is contributing $80,000 to the competition, with $55,000 going to local water conservation organizations. Over the past four years, the River Network Grant Contest has received 50,000 votes and completed 24 water projects.

The 2011 winner, the River Revitalization Foundation of Milwaukee, restored a vacant lot into public green space with wildlife habitat, building a pollinator garden to attract crucial pollinating insects like bees and increase wildlife diversity in the area. Proposals for 2012 include restoration of the Great Miami River floodplain in Cincinnati, which has been damaged by erosion, and an initiative to raise awareness about water quality issues in Oakley, California.

Visit RiverNetwork.org to view all six proposals and vote for the most deserving project. The winner will be announced online for World Water Day, March 22nd.