Photo: Tsetsegee Munkhbayar

Photograph courtesy Goldman Environmental Prize/William Foerderer Infante

Name: Tsetsegee Munkhbayar

Place of birth: Khadan khoshuu bagh, Saikhan-Ovoo soum,  Dundgobi province, Mongolia

Current city: Bayanzurkh district, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Occupation: Head, Onggi River Movement

What did you want to be when you were growing up?When I was a child my dream was to become a great herder.

How did you get started in your field of work?
The first thing I did in my work was to expose the typical livelihood of the local people who are living along Onggi river. I then started my struggle to protect my river.

What inspires you to dedicate your life to freshwater?
When the Earth gets too damaged because of humans' unlimited and greedy needs. 

What’s a normal day like for you?

A normal day to me is very simple: it consists of my morning prayers, my day-work and in the evening, my family environment.

Do you have a hero?
My hero is Chinggis Khaan.

If you could have people do one thing to help save freshwater, what would it be?
Refusing sedentary life as much as possible

What's been your favorite experience in the field? Most challenging?

My favorite experience were when I had to make decisive statements before the public, and when we were working on the  law and its implementation.

What do you do in your free time?
I like traveling to beautiful and natural lands with my family, and I also enjoy ice-skating.

Learn more about Tsetsegee.

Read about other freshwater heroes.

More About Freshwater

  • Photo: Sunset at waterfalls

    River Photos

    Rivers run through the heart and soul of countless communities. But, increasingly, they run on human terms rather than on Mother Nature’s.

  • Photo: Tsetsegee Munkhbayar

    Tsetsegee Munkhbayar

    Tsetsegee Munkhbayar spent his childhood herding yaks on the banks of the Onggi, one of Mongolia's largest rivers. But in the early 1990s this essential life source began shrinking, grew contaminated, and by 2001 its waters had vanished. Tsetsegee has started a movement to bring the river back.

  • freshwater-interactive.jpg

    A Freshwater Story

    Learn More About Where to Find Freshwater

  • Photo: finger-length Ouachita madtom

    Silent Streams Photo Gallery

    Freshwater fish are dying, but scientists have a rescue plan. Joel Sartore photographs rare freshwater species in an effort to save the last of their kind.

In the Field

Help Save the Colorado River

You can help restore freshwater ecosystems by pledging to cut your water footprint. For every pledge, Change the Course will restore 1,000 gallons back to the Colorado River.

Freshwater Advocates

  • Picture of Peter McBride in Kenya

    Freshwater Hero: Pete McBride

    Pete is a photographer and visual storyteller with an emphasis on freshwater conservation.

  • sandra new headshot.jpg

    Sandra Postel

    Sandra is a leading authority on international freshwater issues and is spearheading our global freshwater efforts.

  • Photo: Osvel Hinojosa Huerta

    Osvel Hinojosa Huerta

    For more than 15 years, Osvel Hinojosa Huerta has been resurrecting Mexico's Colorado River Delta wetlands.

For More Inspiration »

Change the Course Infographic


Check out this infographic and learn how you can conserve water and save the Colorado River, as well as other freshwater ecosystems.

Share it with your friends!

Water Currents, by Sandra Postel and Others

More Posts »

Change the Course logoChange the Course: Help Save the Colorado River