2020 River Management Awards

The River Management Society (RMS) congratulates winners of its 2020 River Management Awards, individuals whose achievements and leadership among river professionals inspire us. We are particularly excited about this year's 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 
Contribution to the River Management Society 
Contribution to River Management 
Frank Church Wild and Scenic Rivers Award 

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. 

River Manager of the Year
Bob Stanley - Groveland, CA

Bob is the lead river ranger on the Stanislaus National Forest, and his primary duties have been on the Upper Tuolumne, Lower Tuolumne and North Fork Stanislaus Rivers. Over the past few years, Bob has responded to the need for access improvements along the rivers where he works. The safety and utility of access routes to put-in and takeout sites on the Upper and Lower Tuolumne, remote environments have been impacted by use, neglected from being a maintenance priority and without a community voice.  As the caretaker and host for those who visit national treasures like Cherry Creek and the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne and, importantly, involved when emergencies arise from a river incident or accident, Bob has taken an attitude of care far beyond the checklist in his workplan.  He has completed several enormous projects in his time in Groveland, simply because they are important. Two are the constructed access improvements at Meral’s Pool (takeout for the Cherry Creek section and put in for the Main Tuolumne) and the put in to the exquisite Cherry Creek run. He has successfully recruited support from outfitters, guides, local businesses, the local public utility, Hetch Water & Power, and other volunteers.

Contribution to the RMS
James Vonesh - Richmond, Virginia

This award recognizes contributions to the success of the River Management Society itself. James Vonesh, PhD professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia is this year’s award winner. He has contributed significantly to the RMS as a leader in the River Studies and Leadership Certificate Program by embracing strategic possibilities, welcoming inclusive collaboration, leading by example and celebrating success with a large dose of modest confidence and a twinkle of curiosity in his eye. His work has accelerated the inclusion of students as we meet, get to know and benefit from tomorrow’s river leaders, whether scientists or river managers, or both!  A freshwater ecologist, Associate Professor, and the Assistant Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), in Richmond, Virginia, James has been a member of RMS and advisor for the River Studies and Leadership Certificate for three years during which VCU, the first participating institution located east of the Mississippi in 2017, has grown to become the largest of the nine participating programs, roughly forty percent of the RSLC participant body. 

Contribution to River Management 
Angie Tornes - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Angie has dedicated her career to protecting rivers and enhancing opportunities for public access. She has served in two aligning capacities in the National Park Service supporting and providing technical assistance to enhance recreation and conservation through the Hydropower and Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Programs for 31 years. Angie’s exceptional leadership and technical expertise has benefited many communities in Wisconsin and across the Midwest. In her home region, partners affectionately refer to Angie as a ˜real river hero” for all of her work in negotiating recreation access. She is a strong river advocate specializing in partnerships, negotiation, and achieving win wins.

Frank Church Wild and Scenic Rivers
Tim Palmer 

In over 40 years of working as a writer and photographer. Tim has published 25 books about the environment, the outdoors and adventure travel. Tim says, “In my photography I try to capture images that make nature come alive in people’s minds. I like to show not only what nature is, but also what it does and how it works.” Ultimately, I want my photos and writing to instill a sense of wonder, passion, and commitment to caring for the earth and all its life.” Tim considers his recent book, Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy his most significant contribution to Wild and Scenic Rivers. When called upon, or when an opportunity arises, Tim has helped build local partnerships to protect rivers. His work on the Kings and South Yuba in California was instrumental in getting them designated as wild and scenic rivers. He has helped conservation groups in Canada, testified on rivers in the U.S. Congress and in various states, and been the keynote speaker at many national river organizations annual meetings. Learn more about Tim at www.timpalmer.org.

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!