Keith Emerson – Chair
Keith Emerson came to the Rogue Valley in 1995 to take a position with the Harry and David company as a production manager in their pear and peach orchards. He previously worked in production agriculture in the Sacramento valley area. Keith’s responsibilities led him to become involved with the challenges of water supply and use in the Rogue Valley as pertained to the irrigation water rights held and used on Harry and David properties. He was active on the Bear Creek Watershed Council and served twice as council chair. Keith was a member of the WISE committee from its inception and used the opportunity to work with the three Bear Creek valley irrigation districts to better understand storage and delivery challenges and suggest conservation measures for valley irrigators. Keith served for two terms as a board member for the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District from 2002 to 2010. After retiring from Harry and David in 2015 Keith offered his energies to the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy and currently serves as a board member. Keith and his wife Charlene live in the Talent area and are priviledged to share a portion of Anderson Creek as it flows through their property.
Terry L. Ruiter – Vice Chair
BS Fisheries Biology/Zoology Colorado State University
JD Law University of Denver College of Law
Ms. Ruiter has 35 years of experience in environmental consulting and 5 years of experience as a transportation planner for Denver Department of Public Works. Her experience has primarily involved the determination of regulatory compliance. She has worked on projects in transportation, water and energy supply, mineral development, and hazardous waste remediation. She has evaluated compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); Clean Water Act (CWA); Clean Air Act (CAA); Endangered Species Act (ESA); Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA); Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA); Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); and Federal Facilities Compliance Act for a variety of clients. Her roles on projects ranged from program and project manager to compliance or technical specialist.
Jack Williams – Secretary
Dr. Jack Williams is the Emeritus Senior Scientist for Trout Unlimited, where he works on conserving coldwater fishes and their habitats. Jack has worked for the Endangered Species Program of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, served as BLM’s National Fisheries Program Manager and Science Advisor to the Director. He also was the Forest Supervisor on the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. His education includes a B.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from Arizona State University, a M.S. in Biology from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, and a PhD in Fisheries Science from Oregon State University. He is currently working on two books — one on southwestern fish conservation and another on trouts and chars of the world — when his springer spaniels and wife give him some free time. Jack lives in Oregon’s Upper Rogue River Valley.
Bela Toledo – Treasurer
Bela is a CPA Partner in a small firm in Grants Pass. He grew up in Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast before moving inland to attend the University of Oregon in Eugene and Southern Oregon University in Ashland. He holds a BA in English and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Accounting from SOU. It was in Eugene that Bela first became interested and active in watershed issues. In fact, he met his wife Julie in Eugene while they were both canvassing for a non-profit organization in 1991.
In his free time Bela enjoys running, golf, camping, hiking, and various volunteer activities including coaching Cross Country at Fleming Middle School in Grants Pass. He has two sons, one in high school and the other attending the University of Oregon.
Ray was born in South San Francisco, California in 1937. He attended Whitman College, San Jose State, Coalinga College, Fresno State University and University of California at Berkeley in route to a BS degree in Business Administration from FSU in 1962.
Ray started post graduate work as a Field Process Accountant for Standard Oil and then became a Personnel Analyst trainee for the California State Personnel Board in Sacramento, California. Over the next 23 years, Ray worked in various human resources and labor relations activities, including negotiations as both an employee and employer representative and also as a neutral mediator, fact finder and arbitrator. The final portion of his career was spent as a California Deputy Labor Commissioner in Bakersfield, California. After retiring, he continued as a contract consultant on labor law with a large agricultural/multi-business firm based in southern California.
Ray moved to Central Point, Oregon in late 1996. He joined the Stream Restoration Alliance (SRA) in 2012 and became a Board member of SRA the following year. He served as Secretary to the SRA Board in 2014.
Bob is a licensed geologist/certified engineering geologist that has worked in the water and watersheds arena for about 30 years, 24 of which he has been working at the Medford Water Commission to protect and improve water quality for both sources of supply. He holds two bachelor degrees in Geology and Interdisciplinary Geography/Geology from Southern Oregon University. He is a certified water rights examiner. He recently implemented the Forest Management Plan for the Commission’s 3500 acres of forest land to create a Healthy Forest which helps to provide high quality source water. He has provided proactive leadership and technical expertise in regional water issues/policies/direction and was instrumental in developing a partnership to improve water management on a regional level – The WISE Project (Water for Irrigation, Streams and Economy). He has been appointed to and served on numerous State Level Advisory committees to develop programs and rules to implement programs that manage and protect water resources specifically related to Drinking water. He has provided leadership, guidance and technical expertise to Natural Resource Conservation Non-profit organizations at the local, regional and national levels. He believes that the word BALANCE is the most important word when it comes to managing natural resources. Bob’s favorite part of his job is mentoring college students and beginning professionals. He loves hiking and enjoying the outdoors and most of all – Football. He is a Navy veteran that served in Panama and Antarctica (winter-over 73-74).
Dave graduated from the University of Oregon in 1972 with a B.S. in Physics. He was a middle and high school teacher at Glendale for 30 years, where he started a watersheds and fish science class. He worked for the forest service for 13 years as a contractor doing stream surveys in the summer on the upper South Umpqua and several of its tributaries. He has also done habitat surveys for ODFW.
During his time with SRA, where he was a board member for 7 years, Dave helped with several in-stream habitat projects, including design and placement of log structures. He has helped organize the annual fish carcass toss for the SRA on Taylor Creek and helped get volunteers from his fly fishing club to do riparian planting for the last 8 years. He is currently president of the Southern Oregon Fly Fishers in Grants Pass, on the board of the Umpqua Fisherman’s Association and the Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers and a member of the Middle Rogue Steelheaders.
He is married with three grown children and three grandchildren.
Bob is a retired attorney who lives on a vineyard near Eagle Point, Oregon. Bob was a partner in a Medford general business law practice for 20 years, and then worked as a senior staff attorney for WaterWatch of Oregon, a river conservation organization, for 12 years. He has over 35 years of board experience, serving on the boards of several non-profit entities over the years. He was a founding board member of WaterWatch and the Oregon Water Trust (now part of the Freshwater Trust). Bob has extensive knowledge of Oregon water law and co-drafted Oregon’s landmark Instream Water Rights Bill that passed in 1987. Bob also has extensive experience in fish passage barrier removal, playing a lead role in the removal of several Rogue Basin dams, including Savage Rapids Dam and Gold Ray Dam. He was also a dialogue participant in The Aspen Institute report: Dam Removal- A New Option For a New Century. He has received numerous local, state and national awards for his work in river conservation. Bob received a B.S. degree in zoology and a J.D. degree in law from the University of Michigan. He is an avid fly-fisher, fly tier, birder, hiker, cross-country skier, and boater.
Susan Maiyo is a retired Forest Fisheries Program Manager from the U.S. Forest Service, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest located in SW Oregon. The Forest has over 1,000 miles of renowned salmon and steelhead streams including several famous coastal rivers. Su was the lead fisheries biologist for the region with a staff distributed from the Crater Lake area to Gold Beach. She worked in natural resource management over the past 27 years with an emphasis in Endangered Species Act consultation for management activities, stream and riparian restoration planning and implementation, fisheries and aquatic monitoring, and environmental education with a focus on partnerships. While with the Forest Service, Su worked in a variety of interdisciplinary efforts in aquatic science including watershed restoration and aquatic organism passage. Su participated in regional and national education cadres for young professional biologists, stream survey oversight teams and regional teams cooperating with the British Columbia Ministry of Fisheries. Her education includes a B.S. in biology with an emphasis in water quality and fisheries, and a B.S in education biology, teaching at Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University) and Boise State University.
Phylis has a background in plants with an academic career centered on plant physiology and botany. She acquired her Master’s degree at Oregon State University with the study of dwarf mistletoe in ponderosa pines. Phylis worked for the United States Forest Service in the Portland regional office working with insects and disease control.
After a short career at USFS, Phylis became a nursery stock buyer for a local two-store garden center where she enjoyed watching the company grow to a seven-store chain. Phylis is a lifetime gardener and retired to the Rogue Valley to ripen tomatoes and spend time outdoors. Her time in southern Oregon has led to a strong interest in the Rogue River and everything that physically and biologically affects it.
Kerry KenCairn is a Registered Landscape Architect with her own small firm in Ashland. Kerry has been living in the Rogue Valley since 1977, initially coming here to escape her home town of Los Angeles. Kerry holds bachelor’s degrees in fine arts, geography and landscape architecture, capping that with a master’s degree in landscape architecture. Raised to be an activist and an artist, Kerry has worked with many environmental groups over the past 30 years. Whenever possible she incorporates watershed health as a driving force in her design work and has worked on many wetland and stream restoration projects.
Craig Harper – Medford Water Commission Liaison
As the Watershed Administrator for the Medford Water Commission, Craig Harper is responsible for protection of the sources of drinking water for Medford and surrounding communities, with a focus on collaboration and project implementation with effective partner
organizations like the Rogue River Watershed Council.
Craig grew up on the High Plains of southern Colorado, and moved to Oregon in 1986 to attend Oregon State. He has an MS in Geography/ Water Resources from OSU, and a BA from the University of Colorado. After working in Olympia and Portland for several years, Craig and his family moved to the Rogue Valley in 1999 where he worked as the Natural Resources Manager for the Rogue Valley Council of Governments and Conservation Manager with the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy before moving on to the Water Commission.
Craig, his wife Theresa and dogs live in Ashland. They have one son, Logan, who lives in Portland. Craig loves the outdoors, and feels fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.