American Rivers President and CEO Bob Irvin to retire in January 2021

July 16, 2020

Contact: Amy Kober, 503-708-1145

American Rivers announced today that Wm. Robert (Bob) Irvin will retire as President and CEO in January 2021.

“Bob’s leadership and vision will be greatly missed,” said John Haydock, Chairman of the American Rivers Board of Directors. “Over the past nine years, he has been a passionate voice for rivers and clean water in national policy debates. With Bob at the helm, American Rivers set and met ambitious goals for protecting and restoring rivers and conserving clean water in priority river basins across the country.  He has earned American Rivers national and global recognition for conservation leadership, including receiving the prestigious Stroud Award for Fresh Water Excellence in 2018.  In addition, Bob has worked tirelessly to enhance our commitment as an organization to diversity, equity, and inclusion and has been a thoughtful and caring leader of American Rivers.”

Since Irvin became President and CEO in July 2011, American Rivers has removed 194 dams, restoring more than 5,000 miles of free-flowing rivers.  It helped win permanent protection by Congress of approximately 740 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers from New Hampshire to Oregon.  American Rivers fought for protection of headwater streams and wetlands by securing the Clean Water Rule during the Obama administration and has gone to federal court three times to defend those protections against the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine them. 

During Irvin’s tenure, American Rivers fought back repeated efforts to weaken environmental safeguards in hydropower relicensing, while also seeking common ground with the hydropower industry in addressing climate change and river restoration.  American Rivers partnered with diverse communities across the nation in implementing green infrastructure to address polluted stormwater runoff and conserve clean water.  Its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® catalyzed protection of rivers from climate change, dams, mining, urban stormwater runoff, agricultural pollution and other threats.  With the assistance of hundreds of thousands of volunteers, American Rivers collected 21.7 million pounds of trash from rivers and streams during the past decade.

“I am pleased that under my leadership, American Rivers has been a strong and influential conservation organization, the nation’s voice for rivers,” Irvin said. “It has been a privilege to lead this great organization during some very challenging times.  Working alongside our dedicated staff and board, I am proud of all we have accomplished to protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers, and conserve clean water for people and nature. Now, more than ever, everyone needs access to healthy rivers and clean water, and I know that American Rivers will continue to work for those goals.  I look forward to working together with the board and staff through the rest of the year to ensure a smooth and successful leadership transition for American Rivers.” 

American Rivers will immediately launch a national search for its next President and CEO.

About American Rivers

American Rivers believes a future of clean water and healthy rivers for everyone, everywhere is essential. Since 1973, we have protected wild rivers, restored damaged rivers and conserved clean water for people and nature. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., and 300,000 supporters, members and volunteers across the country, we are the most trusted and influential river conservation organization in the United States, delivering solutions for a better future. Because life needs rivers. www.AmericanRivers.org