ARWI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on education and research primarily but not exclusively in the American River Basin. ARWI was originally formed through the consensus process of the American River Watershed Group in 1996.

One of the primary projects of ARWI is management of the old damkeepers house at French Meadows Reservoir as an educational facility and research station. The facility is used for summer educational programs, some sponsored through ARWI (e.g. summer gifted and talented high school credit science programs; Sierra College field courses), and some simply by arrangement with ARWI (e.g. CSUS field visits and courses; UCSB field trips).

ARWI endeavors to start a year-round watershed science academy for high school students. This ambitious project has received considerable support in the community, though the complexities of starting an accredited high school program in the current scholastic environment is challenging.