Board of Directors

Russian Riverkeeper Board


EdBurdett 1Ed Burdett

Ed worked in investment banking for 39 years raising money for State and local projects.  He specialized in utility financing and worked for a number of city, county and irrigation district issuers on a variety of clean water, wastewater, water storage and water conveyance projects.  He retired as a Managing Director from Bank of America.  He has been a Russian River watershed landowner since 1989 and moved up permanently in 2010. He is now focusing on making wine and olive oil.  A former triathlete and marathoner, Ed now stays active biking and rowing.



VSMpic_0Virginia Strom-Martin
Vice President

Virginia is a former assemblymember having served the 1st Assembly District from 1996-2002. She taught elementary school in Santa Rosa for 23 years prior to her election. While in the Assembly, she chaired the Joint Legislative Fisheries and Aquaculture Committee, the Budget Resources Sub-Committee, and the Education Committee. In 2000-2010 she served on the North Coast Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Marine Life Protection Act. Virginia has lived on the Russian River in Duncans Mills for 40 years this July and is a 5th generation North Coast resident. Her wish is to see that our precious and life-sustaining environments remain pristine for generations to come.


EdKozel_websiteEd Kozel

Ed first came to Sonoma County as an infant, spending 15 summers with his family on the river at Healdsburg. Born and raised in the Bay Area, he has been a technology executive for the last 33 years, including 12 years at Cisco Systems as Chief Technology Officer and Board Director, among other positions. He moved with his family to Healdsburg 20 years ago and is an avid cyclist, canoeist, and fan of the Russian River. Ed continues to work with public and private technology companies, has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro twice, and is enjoying long distance bike rides when he can!

ruth wilsonRuth Wilson

Ruth moved to the Bay Area in the late 1980’s, where she worked with early stage software startup companies for more than 20 years. She and her husband moved to Healdsburg in 2010, and although she still does some software consulting, she is becoming increasingly involved with efforts to preserve and protect the both Dry Creek Valley and the Russian River Watershed as a board member of the Dry Creek Valley Association and Russian Riverkeeper.



doug-liptonDoug Lipton, Ph.D.
Board Member

Doug is an environmental scientist who founded Lipton Environmental Group after serving for 10 years as a Principal Scientist at a large environmental consulting firm in the SF Bay Area. He received his doctorate from U.C. Berkeley in environmental chemistry and did post-doctoral worked at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, where he focused on contamination issues in Central Valley wetlands. He continues to work on wetland restoration projects in the SF Bay-Delta and provides extensive pro bono work on environmental issues within the Russian River watershed. Doug has served on several local non-profit boards including Sonoma Land Trust, Dry Creek Valley Association, and the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. Doug lives with his wife and two boys on a 15-acre farm in Dry Creek Valley where they grow a wide variety of fruits, nuts, flowers, and produce. He is also the owner of Healdsburg SHED.


Jib_EllisonJib Ellison
Board Member

Jib is founder and CEO of Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting, a boutique strategy consulting firm based in San Francisco, California. He works with senior leaders from Fortune 100 technology, waste management, entertainment, CPG and agriculture companies in the development and implementation of their sustainability strategy. Jib and his family reside in Healdsburg.



Paul DolanPaul Dolan
Board Member

Paul Dolan believes that business leaders can help make a better world, and he sees Mendocino County, California, as fertile ground to grow this vision. In Paul’s time at Fetzer Vineyards he led a transformation that put the company at the forefront of organic viticulture and business sustainability and continues to his efforts to improve sustainability. His ultimate intention is to develop the agricultural community into an example of sustainability for the rest of the business world. Paul’s passion is winegrowing at his family’s Dark Horse Ranch in Mendocino County near the Russian River.



KarenKlineKaren Kline
Board Member

Karen grew up in St. Louis, MO, in a family whose concern for the environment led to recycling paper and “tin” cans as far back as the 1950s.  Although she never lost her interest in the environment, her passion has been leadership education for women.  Thus she has made a career of volunteer service in the not-for-profit sector with organizations supporting young people.  Because of this passion, she was asked to lead a $1,000,000 campaign to fund a leadership education endowment.  She then took a 5-year “hiatus” from volunteer service to become Director of Development for Amigos de las Americas in Houston, TX.  Since moving to Healdsburg in 2011, while still involved in developing future leaders, her life-long desire to help preserve the environment has returned as a major interest.

Hector BedollaHector Bedolla
Board Member

Born in Auburn, California, raised in the town of Yountville in the Napa Valley and grew up very near the Napa River. From an early age, Hector grew up and worked in the vineyards. Hector learned early on to work as a team, to have strong moral and work ethics. Working amongst nature, Hector also cultivated a strong appreciation and respect of the land, the environment and all the resources it rewards. He often and fondly recounts his adventures in nature. He believes that for a sustainable future, of importance is to respect the resources this land avails.  In both his solid professional and personal life, Hector has an established history in helping promote this respect widely with conservation, preservation, agricultural and environmental sustainability, agricultural education, and workplace safety. Hector was a vineyard manager for 35 years managing the business of grape growing, marketing and selling the ever perishable commodity of wine grapes. He has been involved in state agricultural groups such as the California Association of Wine Grape Growers and environmental conservation groups such as the Sonoma Resource Conservation District. He is currently Vineyard and Ranch Manager for Navarro Vineyards in Philo, Mendocino County. He has lived in Healdsburg for over 30 years.

Julien Gervreau 
Board Member

A Sonoma County native, Julien grew up on the Russian River near Digger’s Bend in Healdsburg where he gained a deep appreciation for the role the river plays in our region’s psyche. Julien is the Director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines where his main areas of focus include setting strategies and tactical implementation of water and energy efficiency, onsite renewable energy generation, GHG emissions reductions, and waste diversion for the company’s California and Oregon operations. He has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco and is passionate about designing, developing and managing sustainable business systems that enhance the triple bottom line of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Julien lives in Cloverdale with his wife and two young children, where they all share a tandem kayak that needs two additional seats!

Sally Jane Weed 
Board Member

Sally is a fifth-generation Northern Californian originally from the Central Valley, now making a home and life in Dry Creek Valley.  After nearly a decade of splitting her farming operations between Gridley (chestnuts, kiwifruit) and Healdsburg (Syrah wine grapes), she is now focusing exclusively on making her Sonoma County farm as resilient, energy independent, and wildlife-friendly as time and resources allow.  Previous to her role as protectress of Weed Farms, Sally worked for fifteen years at the Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, in operations and finance.  A major mission in her Sonoma County life is the re-wilding of her piece of Grape Creek, including the dream of enhancing livable habitat for the Coho and Steelhead residents.  Sally was honored to receive the Sonoma County Resource Conservation District’s Outstanding Land Steward Award in 2016.

Founders of Friends of the Russian River – 1993

MArty Hop KilnMarty youngerDr. Marty Griffin (Pictures courtesy of Bay Nature Magazine & Adubon Canyon Ranch)

Marty Griffin grew up spending time on the Russian River and later bought the historic Hop Kiln Winery south of Healdsburg along the Russian River. Marty quickly realized how out of control gravel mining was in the 1970’s and 1980’s and organized a number of groups to combat the negative effects of gravel mining on the health of the Russian River including the Westside Road Winery Task Force and then Friends of the Russian River with an intention to have a full-time organization dedicated to protecting the health of the Russian River. Marty was responsible for recruiting the current Russian Riverkeeper, Don McEnhill, to become the full-time advocate for the Russian River. Marty served on the board of FORR and Riverkeeper until 2006 and continues to inspire young advocates through his work with Audubon Canyon Ranch in Bolinas.

Joan Vilms   Joan Vilms
Joan is a nationally recognized land preservation expert and avid paddler of the Russian River. Joan served almost 8 years as President of the Board and presided over the creation of the Russian Riverkeeper program, which is now the name of the organization. Joan continues to enjoy the fruits of her labor paddling on the Russian River with long-time contributor to Riverkeeper work Peeter Vilms.





David Bolling David Bolling
Another avid paddler, David went on after founding Friends of the Russian River to write the acclaimed book for River Network, “How to Save a River” that has guided a generation of river advocates to be effective voices for their Rivers. David now works as editor to the Sonoma Index Tribune.




Albert Slenderbrock

Albert helped with all the details of organizing FORR into a formal non-profit organization and was critical to many early successes at FORR.


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