David Keller retires after over 20 years protecting the Eel River

Many colleagues will probably recognize the tagline from David’s email signature, “how would you manage the Russian River for sustainable water supply and restored fisheries with NO water taken from the Eel River?”

One thing I learned from David over nearly a decade working together is the importance of building relationships and being persistent. Thank you, David, for helping us accomplish significant wins for the Eel River, and for helping guide a new generation of watershed activists to ask the tough questions over and over again.

David has always brought his love for social and environmental justice, public engagement, and political activism to his work. He joined Friends of the Eel River in 2001 and has worked tirelessly for dam removal, and fisheries and watershed restoration. David played a key role in resolving inter-basin water transfer conflicts, and helping transform the defunct Northwestern Pacific Rail into the Great Redwood Trail. And of course, his history as an elected official and political activist has been crucial to ensuring Friends of the Eel River is well-connected with decision-makers.

David is a member of the Planning and Conservation League Board of Directors, was a long-time member of Sonoma County Conservation Action, and is the founder and director of the Petaluma River Council. David’s political career began in the early 1980s when he led a successful campaign to reconstruct the Bolinas beach and groin. He ultimately was elected to the Petaluma City Council (1996 – 2000) where he helped revolutionize form-based building codes, defeat a proposal to privatize municipal wastewater treatment and helped create a wetlands treatment facility, and strongly advocated for ratepayer protections.

And if you didn’t know, David is also a manufacturer of specialized woodworking tools, the Keller Dovetail System, and was a furniture maker and carpenter. He also helps keep a lovely organic garden and I imagine will be spending at least part of his retirement giving all those pesky gophers a run for their money.

Thank you David for your steadfast activism, leadership, and steady hand building and guiding Friends of the Eel River.