Goodbye Gordon

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.

-Henry David Thoreau

 

Several members of OCE’s Stanford/Searsville Dam team in early 2016 at the mouth of the very special San Francisquito Creek. Gordon loved this creek and the wild steelhead trout that have inhabited it for centuries, fighting against all odds to maintain a viable population in the San Francisco Bay Area, even as Central California Coast steelhead have become threatened due to water diversions and habitat disturbances. Front row: Mike Costa & Tiffany Schauer. Back row: Annie Beaman, Drevet Hunt (Lawyers for Clean Water), Gordon Becker (Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration), Christopher Sproul, & Scott McDonald.

Several members of OCE’s Stanford/Searsville Dam team in early 2016 at the mouth of the very special San Francisquito Creek. Gordon loved this creek and the wild steelhead trout that have inhabited it for centuries, fighting against all odds to maintain a viable population in the San Francisco Bay Area, even as Central California Coast steelhead have become threatened due to water diversions and habitat disturbances. Front row: Mike Costa & Tiffany Schauer. Back row: Annie Beaman, Drevet Hunt (Lawyers for Clean Water), Gordon Becker (Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration), Christopher Sproul, & Scott McDonald.

Our Children’s Earth Foundation is deeply saddened to learn that Gordon Becker passed away on September 4, 2016. Gordon was a tireless and effective advocate for healthy rivers and fisheries, and an inspiration to all of us. He served as a board member of Friends of the River, a founding member of Beyond Searsville Dam, a board member of Toulumne River Trust, and a Senior Fisheries Scientist for CEMAR / Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration.

 

Gordon also served as OCE’s expert witness in our campaign to remove or modify Stanford University’s 125-year old Searsville Dam and Stanford’s water diversions that harm threatened steelhead trout in San Francisquito Creek. His deep knowledge and enthusiasm for restoring the San Francisquito Creek watershed’s native steelhead population helped to propel our efforts forward. Gordon shared his expertise freely, as well as his hopes and dreams for a better future for western rivers and watershed management. Gordon’s deep curiosity and passion was apparent to us all; in our regular conversations, he would ask probing questions about complicated legal issues, while also always encouraging us to celebrate our victories, to relish in our collegial friendship, and above all, to continue fighting for ecosystem restoration and wildlife health.

 

We miss Gordon already. His contagious smile and sense of humor lit up our lives, and his fierce yet joyful determination to achieve a more sustainable future inspires us to continue forging new partnerships and working toward healthier outcomes for all species—aquatic and otherwise—and especially for the most vulnerable among us.

 

We will strive to honor Gordon’s example and legacy as a river warrior, wildlife advocate, government agency watchdog, and speaker-of-truth-to-power; we will always stand up for our rivers, for our fisheries, and for the people who value and depend on them.

 

We send our deepest condolences to Gordon’s beloved family and friends during this difficult time, and our heartfelt best wishes and cheers to Gordon’s spirit, wherever he may be. When we float rivers, hike along waterways or paddle creeks, and celebrate future achievements with our conservation colleagues, we will be thinking of Gordon Becker and all the good work he did during his time with us.

 

-Our Children’s Earth Foundation