Press-Republican

March 3, 2014

New leadership at Ausable River Association

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

WILMINGTON — Corrie Miller, executive director of the Ausable River Association, is heading to new waters.

Kelley Tucker, a long-time board member, will step into the position.

Miller, who took charge and directed the association here through river remediation efforts after Tropical Storm Irene, is going to head the Friends of the Mad River in Waitsfield, Vt.

Her last day with Ausable conservation effort is March 7.

‘SO INSPIRED’

In a letter shared online, Miller said the move is bittersweet.

“Given how vividly I remember my first few weeks in the Ausable watershed, surrounded by Irene’s havoc, it’s hard for me to believe that over two years have passed,” she said.

“I’ve grown to love this special place and feel so inspired by the people who live and work here. Inspiring are: the man who found a very old Ausable postcard in his family’s attic and mailed it to (the Ausable River Association); the dozens upon dozens of people who showed up at Rivermede Farm to spend 3 hours on a Sunday planting trees; the landowner deeply concerned about the brook running through her property and searching for ideas about how to improve it as wildlife habitat …”

TUCKER STEPS UP

“We’ll miss her greatly, but she’s leaving (the River Association) stronger than ever before, and we wish her well,” board Vice Chairman Rob Farkas said in a press release.

Miller and Tucker have worked together on key documents guiding Ausable science and conservation.

They co-authored the draft Ausable River Watershed Management Plan due out for public comment this spring.

A key document supporting flood mitigation strategy in the towns of Jay and Keene, the Watershed Management Plan is set to blend scientific inventory of the waterway with engineering study of Ausable River crossings throughout Essex County.

POTENTIAL FUNDING

Watershed research provides key data, feeding into New York Rising Community Reconstruction Programs underway in Jay and Keene.

Community Reconstruction strategy is due to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April and could draw $3 million for revitalization and mitigation strategy to protect residents and businesses in Jay and Keene from future flooding events.

‘PASSION FOR RIVER’

River Association Board Chairman Larry Master said Tucker will provide for a smooth transition.

“Kelley brings a depth of knowledge of the organization, the watershed and our partners that would be hard to find elsewhere. 

“She has a passion for the river and this place that will be an excellent foundation for her work to strengthen both ecosystem health and community vitality.”

Tucker is from Upper Jay and has spent 20 years working with nonprofit conservation groups. 

She was a vice president with the International Crane Foundation and helped found the American Bird Conservancy’s Pesticides and Birds Campaign, based in Washington, D.C.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS

In addition, Master said in a news release, the volunteer Board of Directors has gained four new members: Evan Bottcher, owner of the Hungry Trout Fly Shop in Wilmington; Liz Clarke, a community and conservation lands planning specialist from North Elba; Raymond Curran, a wetlands scientist in Wilmington; and Rocco Giampaolo, an environmental civil engineer from Jay.

“These new board members add critical technical skills and local knowledge to our effort to protect and restore the Ausable River,” Master said.

They join six other members to form a 10-person board. Currently serving in three-year terms are: Christian Brammer of Keene; Robert Farkas of Jay; Susan Lacy of Keene; Master, who is from North Elba; Kara Page of Wilmington; and Warren Radcliffe of Keene.

Email Kim Smith Dedam at: kdedam@pressrepublican.com