April 2006 Watershed Highlight of the Month

Ruth Blyther

CWN's April Watershed Highlight of the Month features Ruth Blyther, who is the Watershed Coordinator for the Humboldt Bay Watershed Advisory Committee (HBWAC). Under her guidance, HBWAC authored the 2005 Humboldt Bay Watershed Salmon and Steelhead Conservation Plan, which includes Jacoby, Freshwater, Elk and Salmon Creek watersheds.  Goals of the Plan include:

  1. conserving the remaining wild salmon stocks of the Humboldt Bay watershed and
  2. maintaining ecosystem integrity while preserving economic benefits of resource use.

The Plan, developed by an inclusive multi-stakeholder group, was developed to provide a basis for making restoration and conservation funding available for projects to meet the Plan goals.

Humboldt Bay Stakeholders say…

“Ruth has been so active in such a variety of projects that it is hard to even make a list of them.  From restoration, planning, doing education and outreach to the community, land preservation through the land trust boards she is a part of, First Flush, getting groups to work together, etc.  Today she was at the SACER meeting offering part of the HBWAC grant to help them do planning.  She is helping do the Coastal assessment project for NOAA also. I guess I would like to say something about her comprehensive knowledge and ability to apply it in practical ways that benefit the overall community.”

“Ruth has committed her entire adult life to restoration, primarily here in California.  Ruth's career in restoration began as a trainee in the Redwood National Park (RNP) expansion era displaced workers training program.  As one of the first retraining programs on the north coast, there was much innovation and learning that occurred.  Many of the graduates of this program went on to careers in restoration on the north coast.

In the early 1980's Ruth started a company, Progressive Forest Management (PFM) with friends John Schwabe, Jenna Gavin, and Bob Ford whom also were graduates or trainers in the RNP program.  This group was responsible for the riparian restoration work on Prairie Creek at the Davidson Ranch.  Ruth and the PFM team were innovators and excellent at the private "landowner dance". Soon after the PFM folks joined forces with other restorationists' at RCAA's Natural Resources Division (NRS).  From the early 1980's to the present, with a short stint in Africa while finishing her masters in Watershed Management, Ruth has been with NRS.  She has been the vision and drive behind the Humboldt Bay watershed restoration movement, organizing a truly broad stakeholder steering committee for the effort. Ruth is a listener, a collaborator, a mediator, a leader, and a friend to many. She is on a multitude of Boards and involved in many of the local land trusts efforts always looking for new ways to protect watersheds and the people that live within them. She has devoted her life to this effort.

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