| With the implementation of National Strategies such asYangtze River Protection and Yellow River Quality Development and the Enactment of Yangtze River Protection Law, it is necessary to know public attitude toward river development status, protection actions and river value cognitions in China. Based on the review of the relevant river researches and public surveys in the world, this research has completed a public survey on river protection and development in China based on the structure of "knowledge, intention and action". The main conclusions include: 1) from knowledge level, most of respondents think that Chinese rivers are currently in the state of high-intensity development and serious damage, or development has great impact on ecology; the development of local rivers has significantly changed the interaction between people and rivers, and the daily contact between the public and rivers has been weakened; the number of people who think that river development "obviously promotes" economy is significantly less than those who think that the river development "obviously destroys" the ecology; the attention to the ecological value of rivers is high, and the proportion of preference for natural rivers and near natural rivers is high, although the cognition of natural rivers is not clear; 2)from intention level, most of respondents are passive about the public events of river protection, with insufficient information about the river protection measures, and the low participation level and willingness of river protection actions; 3)from action level, the respondents' participation level in river protection action is low. On the basis of the above conclusions, the correlation analysis is drawn. Finally, the role of official media and non-governmental organizations and the significance of the contemporary influences and multi-party cooperation are discussed.