Protecting and restoring rivers and other waters is vital to the health of our country and communities. At River Network's recent annual National River Rally conference, a pioneering group of clean water heroes came together to collaborate on innovative new ways to protect the nation's water. In addition, this year's River Heroes Awards ceremony, sponsored by Tom's of Maine, celebrated six remarkable water protectors and the victories of their campaigns.
This year's River Heroes honorees are:
Keith Pitzer, Friends of the Cheat, West Virginia – The late Keith Pitzer was an advocate for the rivers and streams of the Cheat River Watershed. He was actively involved with the Friends of Laurel Mountain and Friends of the Cheat, helping to pass the Wild Monongahela Act, administer over $2 million in acid mine drainage funds for restoration projects and develop river and trail access. Once considered extinct in several reaches, because of Keith's efforts the Cheat River now has water quality that supports fish, eagles, herons and otters.
Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana – As the executive director of the Gulf Restoration Network Cyn Sarthou has fought against the destructive Yazoo Pumps in the Mississippi Delta, defended Louisiana's coasts and wetlands, helped restore healthy fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, and is currently playing an integral role in monitoring the BP oil spill and protecting the Gulf Coast.
Felix Smith, Save the American River Association, California – For thirty-four years, Felix Smith served as a fish and wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. Felix is a lifelong advocate for the protection of fish and wildlife habitat, and for responsible use of our precious water resources. He currently serves on the board of the Save the American River association and the Environmental Water Caucus of the Sacramento Area Water Forum.
Jeff Crane, executive director of Colorado Watershed Assembly, Colorado – Jeff Crane is a hydrologist specializing in stream restoration, irrigation diversion and habitat enhancement projects with a major emphasis in water resource engineering and hydrology. He is a founding member of the North Fork River Improvement Association.
Pamela Williams, Northwest Neighborhood Alliance, Ohio – Pam Williams became a self-taught, hometown activist when a local farm was given a permit to allow 11 million chickens on a Confined Animal Feeding Operation in her town. After finding out that the town's citizens had no legal voice to object to or question such a large operation, Pam led the effort to organize local water and air monitoring efforts, and change the laws so that she and others can have a say in permitting large-scale agriculture operations that may impact people's health. She continues to advocate for stronger environmental protections for her local community.
Brock Evans, president of Endangered Species Coalition, Washington, D.C. – For more than forty years, Brock Evans, a former Marine, lawyer, former director of the Sierra Club's Washington office and National Audubon Society's Vice-President for National Issue, has worked tirelessly to protect and lobby for the environment. Brock's efforts have helped gain wilderness protection for the Pacific Northwest's North Cascade Region, defeat the damming of Hell's Canyon, and found the Green Wave Movement for environmental justice. He currently serves as the President of the Endangered Species Coalition, an association of 450 environmental, scientific, and religious groups dedicated to protecting and strengthening the Endangered Species Act.
"It's a tremendous honor. I spent 45 years working in environmental organizations and the River Network is one of the most vibrant, exciting groups," said Brock Evans, honoree of the James R. Compton Lifetime Achievement Award and president of the Endangered Species Coalition. "To receive an award from a group who is doing so much themselves, is humbling. Each one of them is a hero."
- Provided more than 460 hours of technical training to 1,380 grassroots water protection advocates at the 2007-2009 National River Rallies
- Helped spur a grassroots effort to ensure that new federal "Cash for Clunker Appliances" rebates focus on getting water-guzzling washing machines and dishwashers off the household grid.
- Published The Carbon Footprint of Water, a groundbreaking report that points the way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through water conservation, efficiency, reuse and low-impact development strategies.
"River Network is proud to partner with Tom's of Maine to support awareness of our rivers in communities all across the country," says Todd Ambs, President of River Network's board of directors. "We strongly believe this organizational and financial investment will pay great long-term dividends for the preservation of our precious waters for all people, wildlife and future generations."
"We couldn't be more impressed or inspired then we are by the important work the River Heroes are doing to keep our rivers safe and clean. We're honored to be associated with them and grateful for their work to keep our waterways and communities healthy." stated Susan Dewhirst, Tom's of Maine Goodness Programs Manager.
About River Network
For 20 years, River Network has provided organizational, technical and networking assistance to people working for watershed protection at the local, state and regional levels. In addition, River Network serves as a catalyst and coordinator for major projects, such as this one, that require national leadership and collaboration among widely separated organizations and agencies. With more than 700 partner groups in all 50 states and beyond, River Network is helping build a powerful new watershed protection movement in the United States. To learn more about River Network, visit www.rivernetwork.org
About Tom's of Maine
Tom's of Maine is a leading natural products company focused on oral and personal care. Tom's of Maine sells high quality toothpaste, mouth wash, dental floss, deodorant, bar soap, and body wash products. For 40 years, the company has a long-standing commitment to supporting people, communities and the living planet. Tom's of Maine has also sponsored hundreds of nonprofit efforts by giving 10% of its profits back to the community and encouraging employees to use 5% (12 days) of employee time to volunteer. Tom's of Maine employees regularly contribute suggestions for improving the company's high sustainability standards. And their ideas, from wind power to ways to improve recycled and recyclable packaging options, are critical to the company's sensitive way of doing business. Tom's of Maine enjoys partnering with its consumers, vendors and many community organizations to support lasting, positive change that is good for the earth and us all. Visit us online at http://www.tomsofmaine.com.
If you need any additional information about Tom's of Maine, please contact Susan Dewhirst, Media and Public Relations Leader. The best way to reach Susan is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can also be reached by phone at 207-467-2406.
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