Southeast Regional Director receives award

Gerrit Jöbsis, the Southeast Regional Director for American Rivers, was honored last week with the 2011 Palmetto Trout Award from the South Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited for his contributions to the protection, restoration and preservation of trout and their watersheds in South Carolina. It is the highest award given by the Council.  After thirty years as a member and 20 years of professional partnership with Trout Unlimited, Gerrit is well deserving of this award.  “Palmetto Trout Award” recognizes his long time advocacy on behalf of water quality and fisheries.

Gerrit was particularly praised for work on the Saluda River. He conducted pioneering studies in the 1980’s of trout growth and survival rates, the first flow studies for the Saluda River in the 1990’s and was integral to achieving improved water quality of the river this decade.

Most recently he led efforts in the relicensing of the Lake Murray Dam on the Saluda River and is credited as a key broker in reaching a multi-party settlement with South Carolina Electric and Gas Company for how the dam will operate over the next 30 to 50 years. Through this lengthy stakeholder process, Gerrit and other advocates were able to secure additional improvements to water flows and  water quality to benefit a wide range of fish and wildlife, including trout.

The Saluda is a popular recreational resource and asset to the Columbia metro area, and the settlement agreement includes more than 50 recreation days with special dam operations for wading, angling and boating. A greatly improved public safety system will make the Saluda River a more inviting place for families and fisherman alike.

Congratulations Gerrit, for your work on the Saluda, and for your tireless efforts on behalf of all rivers of the Southeast!