Nominations may be submitted online by using the RMS Award Nomination Form.

RMS aims to develop and promote professional river management and encourage professional development among its members and their colleagues. One of the most exciting and fun ways to achieve this is to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the art and science of river management, and those who best exemplify the spirit and purpose of the organization. As such, since 1998 we have given annual RMS awards for excellence in river management and conservation to deserving individuals. The Frank Church Wild and Scenic Rivers Award, sponsored by the Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council, was added in 2000.

The Awards Committee and RMS Board of Directors recognize outstanding individuals and achievements in four categories:

  • River Manager of the Year (RMS Members only)
  • Outstanding Contribution to River Management (open to all)
  • Outstanding Contribution to the River Management Society Award (RMS Members only)
  • Frank Church Wild and Scenic Rivers Award (open to all)

We invite you to give careful consideration to those persons who deserve to be recognized for their work and contributions to managing our rivers and developing our organization. Read about the 2017 Award Winners!

2016 Award Winners
2015 Award Winners
2014 Award Winners
2013 Award Winners

RMS Awards Categories and Criteria

Outstanding Contribution to River Management Award (open to all)

This award recognizes someone with longer tenure in their career with a history of accomplishments (as opposed to more recent accomplishments highlighted by the River Manager of the Year Award). Please consider your nominee’s length of tenure or the longer-term impact of their contribution in this category, and focus on their list of accomplishments related to the bullet points below.

  • Advanced the field of river management through contributions in areas such as science, education, interpretation, research, and/or law enforcement;
  • Developed innovative (or creatively adapted) river management techniques;
  • Organized conferences/meetings that advanced river management as a science and as a profession;
  • Developed or implemented new communication techniques to coordinate and connect managers;
  • Provided opportunities for increased awareness by citizens and river visitors of their role in caring for rivers and watersheds; and/or
  • Was an outstanding advocate for and promoted professional river management and outdoor ethics

Past Recipients

2017 - Ken Kimball, Appalachian Mountain Club
2016 - Ed Fite, Oklahoma Scenic River Administrator
2015 - Dave Koehler, San Joaquin River Parkway Conservation Trust
2014 - Bob Martini, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (retired)
2013 - Roy Smith, Bureau of Land Management
2012 - Paul Nordell, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
2011 - Mark Singleton, American Whitewater
2010 - Gary G. Marsh, Bureau of Land Management
2009 - Bo Shelby, Oregon State University
2008 - Drew Parkin, Consultant
2007 - Charlie Sperry, Montana Fish, Widlife & Parks
2006 - W. Don Nelson, State Director, U.S. Senator Ben Nelson
2005 - Karen Rice, Bureau of Land Management
2004 - Jack Hannon, American Rivers
2003 - Dr. Joseph Kutkuhn, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (retired), Upper Manistee River Restoration Committee 
2002 - Jack Mosby, National Park Service (retired)
2001 - Jim MacCartney, Trout Unlimited / National Park Service
2000 - Leave No Trace, Inc.
1999 - Denny Huffman, National Park Service (retired)
1998 - Jackie Diedrich, USDA Forest Service

Frank Church Wild and Scenic Rivers Award (open to all)

This award category recognizes an individual involved in the management, enhancement and/or protection of congressionally-designated Wild and Scenic Rivers who has:

  • Advanced awareness of WSRs through contributions in areas such as public contact, technology, training, interpretation, education, research, law enforcement;
  • Worked effectively and cooperatively to build partnerships with user groups, private landowners, and/or general public to promote, protect, enhance, or manage WSRs;
  • Demonstrated, developed, or creatively adapted innovative WSR management techniques;
  • Organized conferences, training, etc., which involved and advanced WSRs;
  • Established and/or encouraged partnerships to protect and manage WSRs;
  • Exhibited leadership in promoting and protecting WSRs within the context of the established corridors and beyond designated lines on a map; and/or
  • Worked to improve managing agency process, budget, and internal support for wild and scenic river programs.  

Past Recipients

2017 - Joan Harn, National Park Service
2016 - Doug Whittaker, Confluence Consulting
2015 - John Little, Mississquoi River Basin Association
2014 - Nancy Schweiger, USDA Forest Service
2013 - Evan Worthington, Bureau of Land Management
2010 - Maret Pajutee, USDA Forest Service
2009 - Chris Brown, USDA Forest Service
2008 - Jamie Fosburgh, National Park Service
2007 - Sue Jennings, National Park Service
2006 - Daryl Mullinix, USDA Forest Service
2005 - Richard Roberts, Florida Park Service (retired)
2004 - Jackie Diedrich, USDA Forest Service
2003 - Lon Kelly, Bureau of Land Management
2002 - Cassie Thomas, National Park Service
2001 - Cindy Lane, USDA Forest Service
2000 - John Haubert, National Park Service


River Manager of the Year Award (RMS Members Only)

This award category recognizes someone that is field-oriented with a focus on recent accomplishments. If a nomination is submitted for a professional with a longer tenure, only more recent accomplishments will be considered (up to past 3 years). Please consider this when nominating someone in this category. An individual with a longer tenure and history of accomplishments would be more appropriate for the Contribution to River Management Award. The committee will also consider exceptional contributions “on the river”(field-oriented, technician level) and river management (managerial, supervisory level) involving policy, planning, and program development. 

  • Provided leadership in promoting and protecting natural, cultural and recreational resources;
  • Worked effectively and cooperatively with user groups, private landowners, and/or general public;
  • Established or re-established key partnerships to protect and manage the river corridor;
  • Created an effective, professional and enjoyable working environment; and/or
  • Worked to protect one or more rivers within the context of their watershed and beyond designated lines on a map.
  • Created and established new and innovative approaches to river management, advancing the field and creating new enthusiasm for river protection and recreation.
  • Shows strong dedication and commitment towards advancing and improving river management into the future.

Past Recipients

2017 - Monica Zimmerman, Bureau of Land Management
2016 - Stew Pappenfort, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
2015 - Desolation Canyon Rangers (Matt Blocker, Katie Byrd, Ryan Hygon, Mick Krussow, Jim Wright)
2014 -  Mary Crockett, Congaree Land Trust
2013 - Greg Trainor, City of Grand Junction, Colorado
2012 - Jennifer Jones, Bureau of Land Management
2011 - Heidi Mottl, Bureau of Land Management
2010 - Dave Cernicek, USDA Forest Service
2009 - Troy Schnurr, Bureau of Land Management
2008 - Colin Maas, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
2007 - Greta Movassaghi, USDA Forest Service
2006 - John Morand, Ganaraska River Conservation Authority
2005 - Thomas Mottl, Bureau of Land Management
2004 - Sheri Hughes, USDA Forest Service
2003 - Dennis Willis, Bureau of Land Management
2002 - Steve Johnson, Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources
2001 - Jim Eicher, Bureau of Land Management
2000 - Jon Collins, Bureau of Land Management
1999 - Bob Ratcliffe, Bureau of Land Management
1998 - Woody Baxter, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks


Outstanding Contribution to the River Management Society Award (RMS Members only)

This award category recognizes an individual who has contributed to the success of the River Management Society over a long period of time or, who in a few years has created significant growth or positive change for the organization. 

  • Exceptional contribution to national policy, planning, and program development that impact how we use and protect river systems that brings recognition to RMS as a leader among river and / or professional organizations
  • Demonstrated leadership within RMS that has created sustainable positive change;
  • Donated considerable time, money, or effort that has resulted in advancement of RMS as a unique and robust institution;
  • Brought new and positive private and public awareness of the RMS;
  • Increased membership substantially;
  • Developed or located new sources of funding or resources for the RMS; and/or provided exemplary service to the RMS through an elected office.

Past Recipients

2016 - Caroline Kurz, RMS
2015 - Michael Greco, Canadian Chapter, CRMS
2014 - Risa Shimoda, RMS
2013 - Lynette Ripley, Bureau of Reclamation
2012 - Lee Larson, Bureau of Land Management (retired), Ken Ransford, Esq.
2010 - Doug Whittaker, Consultant
2009 - Chet Crowser, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
2008 - Steve Johnson, National Park Service
2007 - Bunny Sterin, Bureau of Land Management
2006 - Linda Jalbert, National Park Service
2005 - Ken Vines, USDA Forest Service
2004 - Jim MacCartney, Trout Unlimited / National Park Service 
2003 - Dan Haas, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 
2002 - LuVerne Grussing, Bureau of Land Management
2001 - Lisa Klinger, USDA Forest Service
2000 - Doug Carter, Consultant
1999 - Stu Lewis, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (retired)
1998 - Gary Marsh, Bureau of Land Management