[env-trinity] Trinity Journal: Friends of Trinity River founder Leydecker dead at 83

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Wed May 18 12:02:01 PDT 2011


Friends of Trinity River founder Leydecker dead at 83

http://www.trinityjournal.com/news/2011-05-18/Front_Page/Friends_of_Trinity_River_founder_Leydecker_dead_at.html 

TRINITY JOURNAL STAFF

Byron Leydecker, shown here along the Trinity River in January, passed away Thursday at age 83.
PHIL NELSON | THE TRINITY JOURNAL
Friends of Trinity River founder Byron Leydecker of Mill Valley died late Thursday after a brief illness. He was 83.

Leydecker’s family said he passed away surrounded by his children and grandchildren. A service has tentatively beenscheduledfor 3pm.June 5 at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, Calif.

Trinity County supervisors in January had honored Leydecker for his 18 years of commitment to restoring the Trinity River and his leadership in that effort.

Leydecker announced in December he would retire and the organization he founded in 1992 to protect and restore the Trinity River and its tributaries would cease operations.

“He had a tremendous influence over events in the Trinity River, far more than most people realize, and he was also a hell of a guy,” said Tom Stokely, a member of the Friends of Trinity River board and retired Trinity County senior resource planner. “He had a very positive influence on the river.”

A former California county supervisor who’d been fishing on the Trinity River since the 1930s, Leydecker jumped into the restoration efforts after getting stuck standing in sediment caused by a mechanical restoration project while fishing the Trinity.

He called Stokely to complain, and Stokely told him who to have a lawyer write to shut down the projects. Leydecker filed a cease and desist order with the State Water Quality Control Board over what he felt was a poorly conceived and designed restoration program and soon thereafter founded and began managing the Friends of Trinity River advocacy group.

“The river was like chocolate milk and people were upset,” Stokely recalled, adding that Leydecker forced the mechanical restoration projects to wait to be coupled with higher river flows.

Friends of Trinity River has also worked with the restoration program and was instrumental in obtaining funding for the bridge replacements that have allowed higher Trinity River flows.

In the January resolution of appreciation,

Leydecker’s efforts were cited as being instrumental in helping to obtain congressional reauthorization of the Trinity River Restoration Program and leading a major grassroots campaign to influence the Interior Secretary’s decision to increase instream flows.

Dubbed an unsung hero to countless local fishing guides, rafting owners, and hotel and restaurant owners, Leydecker was commended for an “unstoppable drive and dedication to ensure that these local business owners and their employees all are able to continue to make a living in this rural part of California.” Noting his work was performed without any compensation and at great personal expense to save a natural resource in a county that has never been his home, the board thanked Leydecker for his personal and professional sacrifices, declaring that wherever his future travels take him, he is “from this moment forward, an honorary citizen of the County of Trinity.”

“I am a fellow fisherman and want to say that nobody has done more to restore the Trinity River,” said Sup. Roger Jaegel.

Leydecker was also presented several other awards for distinguished service by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, the U.S. House of Representatives and California Legislature.

Leydecker in January accepted the accolades on behalf of “the many, many supporters and volunteers associated with Friends of Trinity River over the years that have made a difference.”


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