“I feel that all rivers are national treasures. I tell you when that river was wild it was so beautiful. It was like sacred. Spiritual. It was a feeling that I can’t even describe.” Meet Walt Shubin, an 85 year-old organic raisin farmer and lifelong river advocate. The fourth film in a series using creative storytelling to inspire river conservation, produced by filmmaker, Justin Clifton, partnering with and presented by American Rivers, Walt, shares the story of Walt Shubin and his 65-year fight to restore the San Joaquin River.

“This is the mighty San Joaquin, and look at it. It’s bone dry,” says Walt, as the camera sweeps over the bare river bed of the San Joaquin today. Years of managing the San Joaquin River for agriculture, hydropower, and flood control have taken their toll on the river, its habitat and the communities it fed, which is why American Rivers named it America’s Most Endangered River in 2014. News concerning the drought in California isn’t new and, for the most part, the focus the media is taking on the issue has run dry with its false choices and no solutions.The film captures Walt’s fierce spirit and belief that we can restore this river.

American Rivers is working with partners to restore the health of the San Joaquin River so that it can continue to sustain agriculture, communities, and fish and wildlife. Learn more about the San Joaquin River and take action to restore its health here.