Long-time Alliance board member Florence LaRiviere and her husband Phil Honored
Attendees included many current and former elected officials and representatives of numerous city councils, the County Board of Supervisors, the State Legislature and the Federal government. In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award from the League of Conservation Voters, Florence and Phil received recognition awards from the City of San Jose, the County of Santa Clara, the California Legislature and Congressman Mike Honda.
This couple has advocated protection of the San Francisco Bay and related wetlands since the 1960s. Their early and unrelenting efforts were directed to establishment of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Their success broke new ground forming the first urban refuge and first refuge with an environmental education purpose; each defined by a 1972 Act of Congress (the action was not supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). Successive actions urged by the organization they continue to lead, the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, set a boundary goal of 43,000 acres. As part of that effort the committee instigated the massive South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. With the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR now the largest urban refuge at 30,000 acres, Florence reminded the audience about the additional acres needed, citing specific parcels and saying that when that land is acquired, she and Phil can retire.
What was not mentioned at the presentation is the LaRiviere's involvement on behalf of the National Wildlife Refuge System beyond the Bay Area. They have been particularly active with the issue to protect the National Bison Range and other refuges from threats of assigning management to private interests. They have even gone global by extending their involvement with wetland activists in Japan and elsewhere.
The Alliance is certainly both fortunate and proud to have this couple, married more than 60 years, as members and active advocates for our mission.