Outstanding Service Award

In 2015 the Washington State Section of AWRA presented two awards for Outstanding Contribution to Water Resources. Both awards go to individuals instrumental in assuring stream flows to support fish in the Yakima Basin. Each recipient received $500 to be donated to the non-profit of their choice.

Stan Isley, 2021 Recipient

Maia Bellon, 2020 Recipient

Tom Ring, 2019 Recipient

Guy Gregory, 2018 Recipient

Rachael Paschal Osborn, 2017 Recipient

Buck Smith, 2016 Recipient

Bob Barwin, 2015 Recipient

Bob has committed his career to water resources, problem solving, and driving some of the most remarkable solutions in water resources during his 33 year tenure with the Washington Department of Ecology and prior work with Oregon Department of Water Resources. Bob was central to the Ecology instream flow acquisition program, Yakima Water Exchange, Walla Walla instream flow rule and mitigation, Kittitas decision, Dungeness Exchange, Methow Valley Irrigation District, a majority of Central Region’s instream flow rule, City of Roslyn, and many other landmark water resources events. Bob retired on October 15 and it is a pleasure to honor the career of a great man, friend, and mentor.

Urban Eberhardt, 2015 Recipient

Urban is a dedicated Kittitas County farmer and representative of Kittitas Reclamation District (KRD) for the Yakima Integrated Plan. As a high school student at Kittitas High School he interned with Bureau of Reclamation’s Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Program. He has been committed to water resources through his career. In 2015 he championed KRD’s prompt response to drought and provided instream flow augmentation to seven tributaries. This is a remarkable and historic effort. Thank you Urban, for your dedication to Washington’s water resources.

Derek Sandison, 2014 Recipient

Derek Sandison is head of the Department of Ecology’s Office of the Columbia River (OCR). For more than three decades Derek has been a champion for progressive water management in the state. Derek graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in 1974. He began his career in the Water Resources and Chemical and Physical Hazards Section of the Tacoma – Pierce County Health District in 1979. In 1983 he was appointed to serve on the Pierce County Water Utility Coordinating Committee where he helped craft agreements on water use among the County’s many water supply utilities. By 1985 he was busy implementing a management plan for mitigating the solvent contamination problems in the Chambers/Clover Creek aquifer.

Derek left the Health District in 1986 and spent a short stint as an Environmental Specialist for the Washington Department of Ecology. In 1987 Derek helped found Adolfson Associates, Inc. At Adolfson he served as Vice President of Technical Services. While at Adolfson, Derek completed a Masters in Natural Resources Management at CWU in 1993. Derek left Adolfson in 2001 to return to The Department of Ecology.

Derek was head of the Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program in 2003 when he was assigned Regional Director for Ecology’s Central Regional Office (CRO) in Yakima. At the CRO, riding herd on the Yakima River Adjudication was one of Derek’s main tasks. In February 2009 Derek was appointed head of Ecology’s new Office of the Columbia River (OCR) to be headquartered in Wenatchee. The Office was established to implement the Legislature’s 2006 initiative to develop and manage water supplies for the Columbia River Basin.

Derek’s work responding to the challenges addressed at the OCR is widely recognized within the water resources community. Charged with the literally impossible task of “making” more water for the Columbia River Basin, managing the OCR meant coaxing cooperation among a number of tribes; federal, state, local agencies; conservation groups; and private water users. Under Derek’s guidance, the OCR is moving toward reaching its goals. A number of water infrastructure projects have been completed or are underways; water users are moving toward more efficient use of agricultural water, and most agencies are operating cooperatively.

Pete Sturtevant, 2013 Recipient

Pete has 34 years of professional experience specializing in the field of hydrology and water resources and a passion for service to others. Pete’s career began in California and Nevada, including several years as a planner with the Clark County (Nevada) Department of Comprehensive Planning, where he prepared and managed numerous environmental impact statements (EISs) and assessments, flood studies and drainage designs. Pete has prepared water supply studies for locations around the United States and has a wide range of experience in assessing nonpoint source pollution for river basins in multiple states including the Northwest. Recently, Pete has had the opportunity to expand his work and service internationally through his energetic contributions to Engineers without Borders (Bolivia), Ecologists without Borders (Cambodia) and project work (Saudi Arabia, Korea and Indonesia). Pete particularly embodies the spirit of the Outstanding Contribution to Washington’s Water Resources Award through his continued contributions to the state section. Pete was a member of the Chapter Board from 1996 to 2011, was the Section President in 2000, was Co-Chair for two AWRA National Conferences held in Seattle in 1999 and 2005, and has remained as an active member of this organization. This past year Pete served on the conference planning and on the fellowship committee where he has enthusiastically evaluated students for the fellowship awards. Pete thrives on a good challenge, whether it’s organizing an annual state conference for AWRA, helping students bring improvements to a village in South America, or completing the renowned Ptarmigan Traverse, a 40 mile off-trail trip along the crest of the North Cascades that passes through some of the most rugged terrain in Washington State. In all these endeavors he brings a spirit of teamwork, creativity, and good humor.

Steve Foley, 2012 Recipient

Steve Foley's varied history was part of what made him an exceptional asset to both King County and the State of Washington. Steve has a Bachelor's in Geophysics from Western Washington University, Master's in Geological Engineering from University of Arizona; and P.E. in Arizona and Washington. He is a world traveler, was a consultant for 10 years and spent most of the last two decades with King County's Water and Land Resources Division, and has now retired to the southwest.  He held a Senior Engineer position responsible for managing the Surface Water Design Manual program (updates, errata, interpretations, website, training, building department support, and user support on stormwater regulations for new development and redevelopment), the Engineering Studies program (addressing complex drainage and regulatory problems), and the Stormwater Structural Controls program (stormwater capital planning).  He was also the King County Water and Land Resources Division's liaison to the County building department on stormwater issues involving new development and redevelopment.  In addition, he was recognized as the County's leading expert on stormwater low impact development techniques (LID) and stormwater-related regulations in general.  For the past several decades, the County's stormwater management program has frequently been at the forefront in this state and Steve's leadership during his career has been a positive influence for the region.

Ed O’Brien, 2011 Recipient

Ed O’Brien, P.E., got his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Notre Dame. While working at the Department of Ecology for the past three decades, Ed has been dedicated to achieving the goal of improving water quality throughout the State. He has been instrumental in developing manuals, regulations, permits and has participated in countless diverse stakeholder interest groups to strengthen stormwater management and improve water quality. Early in his career Ed worked on and was instrumental in writing the secondary treatment regulation (WAC 173-221) as well as the CSO rule (WAC 173-245). Ed played a key role in starting the state’s stormwater program; he wrote the first industrial stormwater permit as well as the first municipal permits. He also was responsible for assembling the state’s first stormwater manual. Ed has always been one of the leading advocates for addressing stormwater problems at the basin or subbasin scale by acknowledging that land use decisions drive both stormwater impacts and solutions. This is an area where Ed has shown true leadership throughout the stormwater community in Washington. He has persisted in pushing this issue in every venue possible: low impact development, updating the stormwater manual and municipal permits. Washington State has one of the strongest stormwater management programs in the country and Ed is largely responsible for this achievement. Ed has also served on Thurston County’s Eld Inlet Watershed Committee that produced one of the first watershed-based water quality protection and restoration plans in the state. As a result, shellfish beds in Eld Inlet have been re-certified for use and saved from pollution. New development must abide by strict water quality protection standards. Residents in the watershed take great pride in keeping the inlet clean and safe for swimming and fishing. Through this work Ed helped Thurston County create its first Stormwater Management Utility. The utility has improved the management of stormwater so that rivers, streams, lakes and salt water are cleaner today.


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