Congratulations to Our 2021 RMS Award Winners

2021 Award Winners

We are honored to recognize these river managers 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. Award winners were announced as part of our Mountain Creeks to Metro Canals 2021 River Management Symposium on April 12 and 13, 2021. Thanks to all who nominated these deserving river managers for our 2021 River Management Awards.

George Lindemann: Outstanding Contribution to River Management Award

This award recognizes a history of contributions to the greater field of river management.

George LindemannGeorge Lindemann is an enthusiastic paddler with an appreciation for the environment and the nation’s waterways. He is committed to preserving and protecting these special places. But he knows that protecting the water includes protecting the lands around it. In 2017, he organized, funded, and led a coalition of landowners, conservation groups, and state conservation leaders to secure unanimous, bipartisan approval designating Soak Creek on the Cumberland Plateau as a Tennessee State Scenic River — the first new designation in 15 years. George’s donation of 1,000 acres of land to the State of Tennessee came with one request: that public access to Soak Creek is part of the plan.

These years-long efforts have resulted in more access, better protections, and collaborations for future plans and programs. George continues his work in the watershed. He recently donated 2000 acres to TNGreen for preservation and research. He’s written articles to show other farmers how they can be useful, efficient, profitable, and mindful of the landscapes and wildlife, improving habitat and encouraging repopulation of native flora and fauna.

He’s sponsored seminars and conferences to support and encourage scholarship regarding medicinal plants. “Those who have done well have a special responsibility to give back. Do well. Do good.” These are words that George Lindemann lives by. We are delighted to present the Outstanding Contributions to River Management Award to George Lindeman for 2021.

Jennifer Reed: Frank Church Wild and Scenic Rivers Award

This award recognizes contributions focused on the management, enhancement, or protection of designated Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Jennifer ReedAs one of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s representatives to the Interagency Wild and Scenic River Coordinating Council, Jen Reed provides national policy guidance to an agency whose Wild and Scenic River management responsibilities have not always been widely recognized. For the past several years Jen has worked tirelessly at a regional and national level to ensure that her agency’s Wild and Scenic River program has been able to maximize the benefits of the strong resource protections embodied in the law.

Jen served on the team that conducted a WSR review on Arctic Refuge. This endeavor resulted in eligibility and suitability findings for four pristine rivers located in one of the nation’s most remote and untouched conservation areas, giving these rivers increased protection.

Recognizing the strong protections afforded designated WSRs, Jen has recently focused on ensuring that all five refuges with designated rivers in AK are using this resource management tool to its full potential. She did this by leading a multi-year effort to educate staff about the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act through a series of training opportunities that she organized in cooperation with BLM, NPS, and the RMS NTC.

Jen continues to work tirelessly to ensure that FWS policy is consistent with WSRA mandates, and that refuge staff and key regional managers are able to benefit from training offered by RMS’s RTC. Within the IWSRCC, she has contributed significantly to the development of user capacity planning guidance, utilizing her particular insight gained from managing polar bear viewing on Alaska’s North Slope. She is currently the IWSRCC’s sole representative from Alaska, a state with 25 designated WSRs that are subject to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act’s (ANILCA’s) often confusing requirements. Jen is a constant advocate for rivers. Her energy and cooperative work ethic have achieved great things for FWS.

Rod Bonacker and Mollie Chaudet: Outstanding Contribution to the River Management Society Award

This award recognizes contributions to the success of the River Management Society itself. This award recognizes contributions at the national or regional level that result in greater organizational effectiveness, efficiency, growth, positive change, or enthusiasm.

Mollie ChaudetMollie and Rod are recognized for their contributions to developing and presenting a variety of river management training programs and especially for their work this past year to adapt comprehensive river management training to the virtual environment. The Eleven Point Ranger District and the River Management Society stepped out on a limb during a global pandemic to have a virtual five-day workshop to share ideas to get a diverse group of expertise together and share perspectives prior to beginning outreach to update the Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan.

Rod Bonacker

This was the first time anyone had held a five-day CRMP workshop virtually. This put all the instructors out of their element, and many hours were donated by instructors learning virtual platform and learning specifics of the Eleven Point River. This workshop spring boarded the Forest to be able to begin this update process in what would have otherwise been a much more trying endeavor. This workshop was above and beyond what was required and took a lot of energy from the Forest and Rivers Management to conduct.

Having the workshop recorded also allowed individuals that couldn’t attend to catch up and be prepared for the CRMP update process. This Workshop was a collaboration between the District, the Forest, the Region, outside consultants with expertise, a citizen historian, and multiple disciplines being represented. Archaeology, Biology, Recreation, Fisheries, Hydrology, Geology, Planning, Lands, and many more FS areas were represented. Rod and Mollie also assisted by Maret, brought very powerful collaboration/consulting skills with them based on their past experience working within the Forest Service with Collaborative efforts. The bottom line is that these instructors put themselves out of their element to meet the needs of a Forest during a global pandemic. They learned a virtual platform, dealt with the hiccups, and pulled it off!

Colter Pence: River Manager of the Year Award

This award recognizes contributions that are field-oriented and location-specific, with a focus on recent accomplishments.

Colter PenceColter is a Regional and National asset to River Management. Her commitment to river management is exemplified by her actions. These actions span from a local commitment to work across agencies to manage the Flathead WSR to volunteering to take on Regional and National responsibilities. Since 2018 she has volunteered to present and train others regarding WSR management.

She has been a core team member for the Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute planning group. In this role she has advocated for more WSR related training and has taught about WSR management during that training session. Colter strives to improve on the ground management of the Flathead WSR. For example, through her efforts and commitment, the Flathead NF and Glacier National Park have furthered their efforts in coordinating and sharing in a river ranger volunteer patrol program. She also improved training and coordinating agency ranger patrols and monitoring. She has assured that we are working together for consistency on management issues and regulations. This push for inter-agency cooperation has led to increased public awareness of Forest Service and Park Service management and regulations across the Flathead WSR system.

Colter is a leader for the Forest in working with BNSF Railroad on their Oil Spill Response Plan and emergency response training. As concerns for the impacts to the Middle Fork WSR continue to grow, Cotler’s leadership, knowledge and feedback working alongside BNSF railroad and other agency partners, has contributed immensely to working on this increasingly important management issue.

Colter stands out as a River Manager. She is dedicated and locally focused but the actions that she takes on the Flathead help other river managers across the country.

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