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Roundtable: AAPIs on the river and their sense of place
Wednesday, May 31, 2023, 3:30 AM - 4:30 PM EDT
Category: Events

AAPIs on the river and their sense of place

AAPIs on the river and their sense of place

River Management Roundtable
May 31 | 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. ET

What’s it like to be Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) working in river management, stewardship, and recreation? Join this discussion with AAPI panelists, who represent a variety of perspectives ranging from those who are actively introducing non-traditional communities to river law, science or advocacy and the outdoor industry (retailing hard goods like kayaks and paddles through classes and instructor training) to those who don't really identify with or participate in activities organized for and by people of color. We’ll learn about what they do for work and what they love about being on the river or elsewhere outdoors. We hope to discover ways to be more proactive, identifying strategies that will support AAPI representation in river professions that are reflective of the publics we serve. We'll invite your stories and perspectives!


Moses Chun 

Moses Chun works with the National Park Service in the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program as an Outdoor Recreation Planner. Currently, Moses coordinates the Emerging Leaders Program in the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Division. He has worked with the NPS since 2014 in various capacities in parks, regional offices, and now with the Washington Support Office. He is also a leadership team member of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Employee Research Group in the NPS, which was formed in 2020 to provide employee support and resources to AAPI staff.
Moses promotes collaborative leadership and community engagement in public land management and conservation. Moses believes that improving workplace culture and innovation is tied to collaboration and celebrating diversity. He hopes to see a shift in conservation culture towards more creative problem solving in modern land management challenges through leadership development.

 Robert GooRobert Goo Robert Goo works as an environmental protection specialist for the US EPA in the Office of Water. Robert has worked on watershed management and water quality issues since 1988.  His focus is on nonpoint source pollution and his specialties are stormwater/urban runoff and green infrastructure. He works with federal, state, local water resources managers, academia and nongovernmental organizations to promote polices, scientific research, voluntary codes and standards and outreach and engagement to protect and restore waters of the U.S. He provides stormwater management advice to the Friends of Sligo Creek and served on a diversity, inclusion, equity and environmental justice workgroup that helped develop a plan to help the Potomac Riverkeepers Network engage and better serve disadvantaged or underserved Potomac River communities. He also has volunteered with Team River Runner and with a local NAACP chapter in Virginia to introduce inner city youth to paddleboarding. Robert is an avid waterman and kayaks, canoes, standup paddleboards, surfs, kiteboards squirt boats and is learning to wing foil.  Robert’s nickname is the Vampire of the Potomac since he is regularly paddling in the dark.  Robert started boating in rural Missouri in Grumman canoes and an aluminum johnboat which he rowed. One observation he has is that when he started paddling there was little diversity on the river and that although he has seen an upswing in diversity minorities are still very underrepresented on the water.
 Keiko Mertz

Keiko Mertz was born and raised in California, just a stone’s throw from the great Sacramento River. Growing up, she was fascinated with the natural world, ultimately leading her to pursue degrees in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology (B.S.) and Environmental Policy (M.S.), both from the University of California, Davis. She now leverages this interdisciplinary knowledge in her work as Policy Director of Friends of the River, where she advocates for the rivers you love.

 Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman is the California Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. Since she first started whitewater kayaking in 1999 she has made it a point to get involved at the community level to advocate for river sheds and lands in in her back-yard. She cut her teeth in the world of hydropower by actively informing and encouraging advocacy from local paddling groups for the relicensing of the FERC Upper American River Project (UARP) owned and operated by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). In 2008 she wrote and secured the first matching grant from AQMD totaling over 76K for the shuttle program. In time, Dave Steindorf recruited Theresa as a volunteer for American Whitewater asking her to be the Ecological Resource Committee representative for the FERC Mokelumne River Project owned by Pacific Gas & Electric. She later agreed to represent American Whitewater during the relicensing process for the Merced River Hydroelectric Project and help with efforts to stop the roll back of National Wild & Scenic protection on the Merced River. Having gained practical knowledge working with utilities, federal, state & local agencies as well as local partner organizations, Theresa was eventually brought on to the American Whitewater staff as the California Stewardship Assistant in 2013. In this position she protected recreational flows on the Mokelumne River during the drought, advocated for State Wild and Scenic River status for the Mokelumne, helped remove an illegal fence blocking access to the Cosumnes River, and helped implement the first license required recreational flow releases on the South Fork American River below Slab Creek Dam and on South Silver Creek below Ice House Reservoir.


River Management Roundtables are open to both RMS members and non-members. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. We share recordings from our Roundtables, so even if you can't make it, you can register to receive the recording and links. You can access this recording as well as dozens of previous Roundtables, webinars and workshops in our River Training Channel.

Watch the Recording

About RMS River Management Roundtables

Each month, the River Management Society hosts virtual conversations with professional river, greenway, and water trails leaders, planners, and managers whose community, region, state and federal river will benefit from the experiences of peer-to-peer sharing. Our goal is to facilitate an open forum to support your work managing rivers. We work together to tackle common issues by asking questions, sharing solutions and building comradery.