Stewards of the Year Announced

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership Steward of the Year award. Congratulations Rudy Salakory and Dave Pinkernell!

The Steward of the Year award is an important part of the Estuary Partnership’s Annual Celebration given to those whose work has made an incredible contribution to the lower Columbia River community and ecosystem.

Rudy Salakory

Rudy Salakory

Rudy is a father, grandfather and avid kayaker and hiker who lives in Vancouver with his darling, Geraldene. His love for the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest extends well beyond his hobbies and into his work as the Habitat Restoration and Conservation Program Manager with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and a board member of Columbia Riverkeeper, Columbia Land Trust, and the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board. During his tenure at the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Rudy has initiated, assisted, advised, and overseen the restoration and conservation of hundreds of acres of habitat in the lower Columbia River basin. Rudy is also an active member of the Estuary Partnership’s Science Work Group, attending meeting and contributing to meaningful discussions.

Rudy has also served as an inspiring mentor to Dr. Sarah Kidd, PhD, Senior Scientist and Monitoring Program Lead at the Estuary Partnership. Dr. Kidd has this to say about Rudy,

“Rudy’s resume and work history clearly demonstrates his leadership and dedication to the stewardship and conservation of the river and its people. In addition to his ‘on-paper’ accomplishments, Rudy is a genuinely kind and giving mentor. We began working together in 2012 and he fostered my journey in environmental education, research, and monitoring. During my graduate studies he was always available to provide suggestions and encouragement during my dissertation research. Rudy is an invaluable partner in the restoration and stewardship of the lower Columbia River.”

Dave Pinkernell

Dave Pinkernell

The success of the Steigerwald Reconnection Project can be clearly traced to the steadfast support of Dave Pinkernell. Since the project’s inception nearly a decade ago, Dave has championed the project to local and state decision-makers to secure critical project support and funding, leveraged his relationships with key agencies during the difficult design phase, and gotten his hands dirty during numerous long, rainy, and cold wintertime field work sessions at the refuge.

Since 2013, Dave has served on the board of both the Camas-Washougal Community Chest and the Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards, where he was board president of each organization for multiple years. Within these organizations, Dave has been a reliable supporter of the Estuary Partnership’s education and restoration programs.

Chris Collins, Restoration Program Lead at the Estuary Partnership, has this to say about Dave,

“Dave is an incredibly well-respected community leader whose help was instrumental in bringing the idea of the Steigerwald Reconnection Project into fruition. His enthusiasm for the project and willingness to pitch in no matter how un-glamourous the task was a huge asset to the project.”


Congratulations to Rudy and Dave! We look forward to raising a toast to your hard work and tireless dedication to the lower Columbia River on at our Annual Celebration on September 29!