"I can't think of anyone who deserves the Peter H. Behr Award more than Pete Bell and the Foothill Conservancy. They are carrying on Senator Behr's legacy that ours is a government of the people and by the people, and that we have a right and a duty to get involved," said Betsy Reifsnider, Executive Director of Friends of the River, a statewide river conservation organization.
On Friday, February 23, Friends of the River will honor Pete Bell of the Foothill Conservancy with its fourth annual Peter H Behr Award. It is given to "an outstanding individual, organization, or agency distinguished for making a lasting contribution to river protection or environmental water policy." Past recipients are former Sunset magazine editor and longtime conservationist Martin Litton; noted river advocate Mark Dubois, and Senator Barbara Boxer.
Peter H. Behr is known as the father of California's Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. He began his public life on the Mill Valley City Council and served as a member of the Marin County Board of Supervisors. He became well known as a California State Senator, where he championed environmental causes, especially the fight to save the Stanislaus River. After his retirement, he served on many nonprofit boards, including that of Friends of the River.
Foothill Conservancy cofounder and Vice President Bell, a resident of the Volcano area, represented Foothill Conservancy in the landmark relicensing settlement signed last year for PG&E's Mokelumne River hydroelectric Project. He has been a leader in the organization's Mokelumne River conservation efforts since 1989 (see www.foothillconservancy.org) and serves on the steering committee of the California Hydropower Reform Coalition.
"I'm truly honored to be selected for the Peter H. Behr award," said Bell. "It is testimony to the hard work of Foothill Conservancy members and supporters in protecting and restoring the Mokelumne River."