[env-trinity] Re: The Passing of Ronnie Pierce

Segep at aol.com Segep at aol.com
Thu Feb 17 07:28:21 PST 2005

Ronnie M. Pierce, Tribal sovereignty and Klamath water rights leader, passed 
away in her home in McKinleyville Sunday afternoon Feb. 13, 2005. 
Born on May 12,1942 in Nevada City, CA. to May and Ronald Pierce; she is 
survived by her brother Terry  Pierce of Manhattan Beach Ca. and nieces Lisa and 
Susan Pierce and leaves behind her partner of 22  years, Elizabeth Finney.
Ronnie began her formal education at Healds Engineering College of San 
Francisco in 1959 where she was the first woman to receive a degree in structural 
engineering. She was responsible for overseeing  certain aspects of the  
construction for the Trans America building and several other  developments within 
the Bay Area. She then went to Old Dominion University , Virginia to  receive 
her Masters of Science in Marine Biology where she graduated Cum Laude in 1978.
Ronnie moved to Humboldt County in 1979 where she founded  Pierce Fisheries 
Consulting. For the past twenty years Ronnie has served as  a consulting 
biologist specializing in Klamath River Basin salmon management issues. She worked 
within all aspects of Native American salmon management in the Basin relating 
to Tribal rights issues in restoration, water, and harvest management. 
As a tireless leader for Tribal rights issues, Ronnie worked closely with the 
Karuk and Yurok Tribes, the Inter-Tribal Fish and Water Commission, Northern 
California Indian Development Council and such federal agencies as the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs and US Fish and Wildlife Service. The last years of her 
career were spent towards dam removal within the Basin and retaining essentially 
needed water for the Klamath River ecosystem.
As a descendant of Pender Harbor, Vancouver and native Squamish pioneers in 
British Columbia, Ronnie enjoyed researching family history and visiting family 
members. Besides her consulting work, Ronnie received awards for oil painting 
and will be remembered by those who commissioned her work. She enjoyed life 
to the fullest and spent many leisure hours working on restoring the classic 
Chryslers that her brother Terry helped to design in Detroit. When not cruising 
downtown, Ronnie could be seen cruising the tables in Reno or the slot 
machines at local casinos.
Ronnie never buckled under pressure and was uncompromising in her demand for 
truth. Her expertise was much sought after by Tribal leaders, legislators, 
environmental leaders, researchers, educators, legal officials and government 
officials just to mention a few. Always preferring to work behind the scenes, her 
tenacity and bold spirit will continue to impact and touch the lives of all 
of us on the North Coast. Though her work is still needed here, her memory will 
guide those left behind.
“Thank you Ronnie for your years of dedicated service to protecting the 
Klamath River and Tribal sovereignty..”
In Ronnie’s memory and dedication contributions may be made to the 
Ronnie Pierce Scholarship Fund
PO Box 1449
Hoopa CA 95546 
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