Volunteer of the Year, Peter A. Burnes

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Peter A. Burnes, SYRCL's Volunteer of the Year, 2013

Among many wonderful volunteers who have contributed service with SYRCL over the last twelve months, Peter Burnes made extraordinary contributions to the work of protecting and restoring the Yuba River through dam relicensing.  Peter Burnes has devoted approximately 200 hours to working with SYRCL staff and our colleagues with the Foothill Water Network toward new licenses for the hydropower dams in the watershed.

Peter is a retiree and an avid fisherman who loves the beauty and wild nature of the Yuba River. With a background in environmental regulation, and an impressive amount of patience, Peter managed to learn the complex and arcane process of dam relicensing to become a valuable contributor to SYRCL’s coalition of conservation interests.

Peter represented SYRCL in more than a dozen meetings with dam operators and regulators, including providing oral comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) when they visited the area in August, and participating in meetings with Archon Energy regarding their proposed new hydropower project at Daguerre Point Dam.  Peter drafted sections of formal comments submitted to FERC on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed new licenses, and provided proofing on several other documents prepared by the Foothill Water Network. Peter even helped draft the Dam Relicensing page on the SYRCL website.

“We were beginning to think that this type of work is beyond the scope of volunteers, but Peter has shown us, once again, that the single citizens can make a difference” says Gary Reedy, SYRCL Science Director.  “Peter’s not only provided assistance to me and my colleagues, he strengthened our relationships with regulatory staff and provided insight to our strategic planning sessions.”

Peter was recently asked why he would volunteer in this capacity. He replied, “When we make the South Yuba a great home for trout it will be a great home for everyone.”

Peter and Dianne Burnes with award presented by SYRCL staff: Gary, Miriam and Caleb

Last week, SYRCL presented Peter with a plaque and portrait of the South Yuba River.  Peter’s wife, Dianne also volunteers at SYRCL and has helped with the last three phone banks. Thank you Dianne!  Congratulations Peter!

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