Jean Auer (1937-2005) was the first woman to serve on the
California State Water Resources Control Board and a pioneer for
women aspiring to be leaders in the water world.
She is described as a “woman of great spirit who made large
contributions to improve the waters of California.” She was
appointed as the State Water Board’s public member by
then-Governor Ronald Reagan and served from 1972-1977 during a
time period that included the passage of the federal Clean Water
Act. She became part of the growing movement for water quality
regulations to stop water pollution.
Joan Didion is a native California author and playwright whose
famous writings have featured California water issues.
Born and reared in Sacramento, she’s written extensively and
personally about her feelings on the subject of water. In her
memoir, Where I Was From, she tells not only the story about her
pioneering family’s roots in the Sacramento area but also of the
seasonal flooding, the water politics and controversies, and the
California State Water Project (SWP) and federal Central Valley
John Muir (1838-1914) was a famous
and influential naturalist and conservationist who founded the
Sierra Club in 1892 and was its president until he died.
Throughout his life, this man from Scotland was also a farmer,
inventor, sheepherder, explorer and writer.
Rita Schmidt Sudman, who led the
Water Education Foundation as executive director for more than 30
years, is widely recognized for her work since the 1980s as a
journalist and communicator who developed programs to foster
public understanding of water issues and for her work with
stakeholders to find solutions. A former radio and television
reporter and producer, she oversaw the development of print and
digital publications, public television programs, poster maps,
tours, press briefings and a school program.
John R. Teerink (1921-1992) was the director of the California
Department of Water Resources (DWR) from 1973-1975 during
Governor Ronald Reagan’s administration.He had various lead roles
in the implementation of the State Water Project during his
29-year career at DWR. He progressed through the ranks as junior
engineer, assistant chief engineer and then deputy director until
his appointment to head the department.
John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) was historic and heroic for being
first to lead an expedition down the Colorado River in 1869. A major
who lost an arm in the Civil War Battle of Shiloh, he was an
explorer, geologist, geographer and ethnologist.
Julian B. Hinds (1881-1977) was Metropolitan Water District of
Southern California’s general manager and chief engineer from
1941-1951, but began work on the Colorado River Aqueduct in 1929
soon after the district was organized.
Lester A. Snow, the mastermind behind
countless water resources management projects, has been involved
in water issues in two states, both the public and private
sectors and on regional, state and federal levels of government.
In a timeline of his career, Snow served from 1988-1995 as the
general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority after
leaving the Arizona Department of Water Resources. From
1995-1999, he was the executive director of the CALFED Bay-Delta
Program, which included a team of both federal and state
Marc Reisner (1948-2000), an environmental writer who became a
celebrity in the water world, was the author of Cadillac Desert:
The American West and Its Disappearing Water (1986), a
best-seller about Western water history and politics and a
full-blown critique of 20th century water development, especially
in California and the West. “Based on 10 years of research,
Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, provocative
history of the creation of an Eden — an Eden that may be only a
mirage,” according to the book’s back flap.
Ralph M. Brody (1912-1981) served as Gov. Pat Brown’s special
counsel on water issues and chief deputy director of the
Department of Water Resources.
He was instrumental in ensuring passage of the State Water Project in 1960.
He chaired the California Water Commission from 1960 -1966. From
1960 until his retirement in 1977, he was manager and chief
counsel for Westlands Water District.
Robert A. Skinner (1895-1986) was the Metropolitan Water District
of Southern California general manager from 1962-1967. An
engineer, he was instrumental in negotiating the district’s
contract with the California Department of Water Resources for
delivery of water from Northern California. Both Lake Skinner and
a treatment plant in southwestern Riverside County were named in
Robert B. Marshall (1867-1949), whose career at the U.S.
Geological Survey culminated in 1908 when he became chief
geographer for the entire USGS, first proposed the concept of a
statewide water plan for a series of dams, canals and aqueducts
to bring water to California’s Central Valley.
Robert “Bob” M. Hagan, Ph.D. (1917-2002), internationally
renowned for his expertise in the relationships between plants,
water, soil and water use efficiency — specifically in the area
of agricultural water use — was a professor of water science, an
irrigationist in the California Agricultural Experiment Station
and a statewide extension specialist in the California
Agricultural Extension Service during a 50-year career with the
University of California, Davis.
Ron Stork, the award-winning policy director of the Friends of
the River, joined the statewide California river conservation
group in 1987 as its associate conservation director. Previously
he was executive director of the Merced Canyon Committee, where
he directed the successful effort to obtain the National Wild and
Scenic River designation for the Merced River.
Ronald B. Robie, an associate justice on the California Court of
Appeal, Third Appellate District, has made his mark on state
water issues during a career in public service that has spanned
all three branches of government.
Stephen K. Hall (1951-2010) led the Association of California
Water Agencies (ACWA) as its executive director from 1993 until
retiring in 2007 from the effects of Amyotrophic Lateral
Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Hall continued to stay
current on water issues and to advocate for legislation on ALS at
the state Capitol until he died.
His motto became “As much as I can for as long as I can.”
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919) was the 26th president of
the United States who established the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
and created the U.S. Forest Service.
During his term of office from 1901-1909, he is credited for his
efforts on conservation, increasing the number of national
forests, protecting land for the public and promoting irrigation
projects. For Roosevelt, water was instrumental to developing the
Thomas J. “Tom” Graff (1944-2009) opened up the California office
of the Environmental Defense Fund in 1971 and was its regional
director for more than 35 years.
Throughout his life, he was committed to the environment and the
mentorship of environmental leaders. He was revered as an
influential environmental lawyer on the state and federal water
circuits and public forums and used strategic acumen to build
partnerships to solve water problems with long-lasting solutions.