The following is a letter from SYRCL Board President George Olive:
During SYRCL’s nearly 40 years of river-keeping, visionary people have been the drivers of its many achievements. Melinda Booth, our Executive Director since 2017, has surely been one of our most forward-looking watershed advocates. But Melinda is moving on, leaving her position this February and joining her husband for new family and work opportunities out of the area.
As President of the Board of Directors, it has been my immense pleasure to work with Melinda. The Board is deeply appreciative of what she has accomplished on behalf of the watershed and the positivity and clarity she has brought to the challenges of her position. But now, with Melinda’s departure, the SYRCL community must step up to the transition to new leadership. Fortunately, Melinda leaves for her successor SYRCL’s widely-accepted role among regional, even State-level, environmental organizations and agencies. And, here at home, Melinda has attracted and leaves behind a powerful team of science, grant-writing, education, policy, communication, and finance experts.
True to Melinda’s professionalism, she has paired her resignation with planning and a timeline for interim leadership at SYRCL and for a thorough search for her replacement. Melinda has, with her Leadership Team, used her eleven years at SYRCL and five as its lead to build collaborations that her successor can carry forward. She has assured that SYRCL’s name is synonymous with effective action. She will be missed and is saluted by the environmental community. And by the salmonids.
I speak for the Board and for the many friends of SYRCL and the Yuba in wishing Melinda the warmest of wishes for her next adventure. She is leaving having guided SYRCL through the crazy, unpredictable years of COVID-19 and through a remarkable period of project, staff, and fiscal growth. Look no further than https://yubariver.org/our-work/ and the list of projects, funding partners, and visions of a healthier Yuba to understand where Melinda has taken us. The Board is committed to keeping Melinda’s – and SYRCL’s – mission and visions moving forward.
In my community activities, both for SYRCL and beyond, I encounter Melinda’s admirers at Centennial Dam Watchdog, Nevada Irrigation District, Idaho-Maryland Mine, Firewise, County Planning and Supervisor, and just plain SPD or BriarPatch Market meetings and gab fests. Without fail, Melinda’s passion and clarity come up in these interactions. She leaves no question as to her commitment to protect and restore our home waters and to make life healthier for the diverse populations – human and riparian – from the meadows at the Summit to the confluence of the Yuba and Feather Rivers. Just ask the several thousand Fourth Grade students from Yuba County what they gained from a Salmon Tour with SYRCL; or the agency partners who meet with Melinda to explore salmon reintroduction above Engelbright Dam how their thinking has been expanded. Melinda has proven that “people can save a river”. And, of course, the salmonids.
The search for Melinda’s successor has begun. A comprehensive Job Posting is out there and on SYRCL’s website. Melinda will stay in the driver’s seat through mid-February, ’23 with interim leadership gradually assuming duties as needed. Her last days will be during 21st Wild and Scenic Film Festival, where we will celebrate her dozen years with SYRCL and say good-bye. Plan to make this Film Fest and the good-bye particularly enthusiastic. Count on SYRCL to throw a party!
George M. Olive III
President, SYRCL Board of Directors