MODESTO — Eric Wesselman, executive director of the Tuolumne River Trust, announced Wednesday that he will take the same post with Friends of the River.
Wesselman has spent eight years leading the trust, which deals with various environmental issues and has made a special effort to involve low-income riverside neighborhoods in Modesto.
Patrick Koepele, the groups deputy executive director, will be acting director while a successor is sought.
Friends of the River was started in 1973 by activists trying to stop New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River. It now is based in Sacremento and works on river issues all over California.
Friends of the River has been the voice for Californias rivers for 40 years, Wesselman said in a news release. I couldnt be more excited to work with FORs many supporters and partners to make sure that voice is loud and strong.
He will succeed Bob Center, who is retiring, on Jan. 6. The groups current causes include stopping the twin tunnels proposed for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a federal bill that would trim the wild-and-scenic stretch of the Merced River.
The Tuolumne River Trust is based in San Francisco and has offices in Modesto and Sonora. Wesselman noted its successes in restoring parts of the river, educating children and persuading San Francisco to drop plans for increased diversions.
Koepeles work has included acquisition of the Dos Rios Ranch restoration site, where the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers join, and a new campaign to repair watershed damage from the massive Rim fire this year.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2385.