2019 River Management Awards

The River Management Society (RMS) congratulates winners of its 2019 River Management Awards, individuals whose achievements and leadership among river professionals inspire us. We are particularly excited about these awardees, nominated by their peers and reviewed by the RMS Awards Committee: as they are all members of this organization. 

River Manager of the Year - Noah Triplett
Contribution to the River Management Society - Judy Culver
Contribution to River Management - Susan Rosebrough
Frank Church Wild and Scenic Rivers Award - Tom O'Keefe

These honors, open to both members and non-members, represent the highest form of peer appreciation. Nominations are submitted by individuals from the river management community, and the selections are made by the RMS Awards Committee, led by the National Secretary. Awardees were recognized at four separate occasions during the year, arranged with the much-appreciated assistance of their nominators and other RMS volunteers.

River Manager of the Year
Noah Triplett - Placerville, California

Noah Triplett has been employed at the El Dorado County Parks and Recreation Department for approximately 15 years as that agency’s chief river recreation manager. Noah's duties have included managing the entire South Fork American River operation wherein well over 100,000 boaters and approximately 30 commercial outfitters operate and boat down this 21-mile stretch of river annually. He is highly respected by both commercial and private boaters as well as the local river community. He has coordinated the management efforts of El Dorado County, BLM, CA State Parks, El Dorado County Sheriff, and other affiliated agencies all who have river patrols and management interests on the South Fork of the American River. Noah has been involved in multiple FERC re-licensings for large and important hydro-projects and has been a successful proponent of opening up new segments of river for boating that have been de-watered as well as ensuring adequate recreational and resource dependent flows. Noah has been actively involved in the education of the commercial and private boaters – offering formal seminars as well as informal river camp educational sit downs.

Contribution to the RMS
Judy Culver - Prescott, Arizona

Judy was selected for her service to RMS as our pro-purchase coordinator, for operating the RMS store and for her incredible work for the Vancouver Symposium – serving on the steering committee, leading the marketing committee and all her amazing work on-site with the RMS store, silent auction, and just anything else we needed. As Pro Purchase Co-Coordinator Judy organized the materials, obtained new sponsors, and has been responsive to member requests for pro purchases. Her work has put us in a better position with our vendors and increased the number of vendors who provide professional purchase discounts to members. She also runs the RMS store out of her home. Judy donated many, many hours of her time for the Vancouver symposium by serving on the steering committee and leading the marketing committee. She did all the work for the RMS store at Vancouver including acquiring the merchandise, organizing it, driving it to the symposium and back, and running the store throughout the symposium. She also assisted with the silent and live auctions – overseeing the auction items when others weren’t available and helping cash out for both auctions using her personal phone for our credit card processing. All this was done with great professionalism and good cheer.

Contribution to River Management 
Susan Rosebrough - Seattle, Washington

Susan has advanced the field of river management through her nearly 20-year career with National Park Service technical assistance programs in Hydropower; Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance; and Wild and Scenic Rivers. Her dedicated river protection advocacy combined with her outstanding communication, organizational, and geospatial skills, have led to a series of innovations and river protection improvements. Since 2013, Susan has been leading coordination to develop a national interagency wild and scenic river geodatabase in partnership with agency partners. Susan represents the National Park Service on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proceedings for new hydro development in the Pacific Northwest and works towards protection of streams while creating sustainable hydropower. Susan was appointed to the National Park Service Wild and Scenic River Steering Committee in 2015. She was the National Park Service lead on the Wild and Scenic River Section 7 determination for the Klamath River relicensing of the four dams and then for the removal of those dams. She has also led a number of planning and partnership efforts with Tribes, non-government organizations and others.

Frank Church Wild and Scenic Rivers
Tom O'Keefe - Seattle, Washington

 Dr. Thomas (“Tom”) O’Keefe, PhD., Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater, was recognized for his work in the designation, restoration, and protection of Wild and Scenic Rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Tom has more than twenty years of experience in watershed ecology and river management including scientific research, teaching, public policy, and expertise in federal environmental laws including the Federal Power Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, National Forest Management Act, and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. His particular passion for Wild and Scenic Rivers is exemplified in his daily work flying to Washington DC to meet with congressional staff, sharing his enthusiasm with family and friends and strangers, to taking off his suit and trademark bowtie to enjoy the waters he spends his life protecting.

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 RMS thanks the RMS Awards Committee, whose members contribute their time and care from their home bases across the nation.

To individuals who submitted nominations, and to the RMS Awards Committee members who have dedicate many hours of thoughtful consideration to the annual awards process: thank you!

Congratulations to our honorees for their dedication to the wise management of our rivers!