[env-trinity] Trinity Journal: Trinity County RCD garners statewide awards

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Fri Dec 6 15:12:48 PST 2013

Congratulations to Colleen O'Sullivan and Cynthia Tarwater for many years of excellent service!


Trinity County RCD garners statewide awards

Top statewide awards were bestowed recently by the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts on two longtime members of the Trinity County Resource Conservation District.The association named Colleen O’Sullivan as RCD Director of the Year and Cynthia Tarwater as RCD Employee of the Year. The TCRCD is a special district formed in 1956 and is one of approximately 100 resource conservation districts in California.
O’Sullivan was appointed to the TCRCD board of directors in 2002 and has served as its chair since 2007. The state association pointed to her strong and steady leadership of the local district, noting that during her tenure, TCRCD has been at the forefront in natural resources management and education throughout Trinity County. The award noted her efforts in helping to establish the 13,000-acre Weaverville Community Forest on forestlands administered by the Forest Service and by the Bureau of Land Management. That stewardship project was among the first of its kind and garnered national recognition. TCRCD received the U.S. Department of Interior “Partners in Conservation” award in 2009 as a result of those efforts.
O’Sullivan has encouraged the development of conservation education with the TCRCD’s annual summer day camp at Young Family Ranch and at the annual Trinity River Salmon Festival.
“The fact that USDA Secretary (Tom) Vilsack turned to TCRCD to lead the new Trinity County Collaborative is a testament to the way Colleen has guided the district,” said Patrick Truman, a TCRCD board member and the first recipient of the statewide Director of the Year award in the mid-1990s.
Cynthia Tarwater, a 20-year employee of the TCRCD, was given the association’s Employee of the Year Award for her exemplary service in the name of conservation.
Tarwater joined the district just as attention was being placed on restoring the Grass Valley Creek watershed and new methods were being deployed in the field to improve salmon habitat.
Tarwater was quick to employ the new techniques and has become widely respected for her skills and dedication to watershed rehabilitation. She heads up dozens of rural road projects every year that help reduce sediment in fish-bearing streams or improve forest access for off-highway vehicles.
She has applied her knowledge of erosion control, forest road maintenance and improvement to more than 300 miles of rural roads in Trinity County, some on private lands.
Last year Tarwater was the recipient of the national “Two Chiefs” award given jointly by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service. It is bestowed on exemplary individuals who work collaboratively and creatively to support conservation and forest stewardship.
Former TCRCD manager Pat Frost said he could always count on Tarwater.
“For example, after the Coffin Fire in Lewiston, Cynthia was our go-to person for landowners who needed help repairing or rebuilding their roads. Year after year folks would come in with a road or erosion issue. I’d give them to Cynthia and I knew she’d give them the best we could offer,” he said.
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