The Çoruh valley lies within the Caucasus ecological zone, which is considered by the World Wild Fund for Nature and by Conservation International as a biodiversity hotspot. The Çoruh Valley is recognised by Turkish conservation organisations as an important plant area, an important bird area, a key biodiversity area and has been nominated as a high priority area for protection. This valley is rich in plants and contains 104 nationally threatened plant species of which 67 are endemic to Turkey.
The Çoruh has been called "an eco-tourism gem" and "Turkey's last remaining wild river", and is being promoted for whitewater kayaking by the Eastern Anatolia Tourism Development Project. It attracts kayakers and rafters from all over the world and was the site of the 2005 Coruh Extreme kayak competition.
A total of 15 large hydroelectric dams are planned as part of the Çoruh River Development Plan but a total of 27 are proposed for the Çoruh River Catchment. Under the Çoruh Development Plan, five dams have been completed (Borçka, Deriner, Güllübağ, Murtli and Tortum Dams), another five are under construction.