Conservation Matters April 2012

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Gulley honored as first recipient of Sierra Club’s award

Dr. Robert GulleyDr. Robert Gulley, former Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) program manager, recently received the Ken Kramer Living Waters Award from the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club for his work with the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program. He received the award in a special ceremony April 17 in San Antonio.

Gulley guided the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program, a collaborative, consensus-based stakeholder process, through development of a habitat conservation plan to protect federally listed endangered species affected by the management of the Edwards Aquifer. In November 2011, a 26-member stakeholder committee representing industry, environmental groups, farmers and cities agreed to the plan to be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approval.

"This agreement, which hopefully ends more than two decades of conflict over the Edwards Aquifer, would have never been reached without the tireless leadership of Dr. Robert Gulley, who facilitated the group activities," said Ken Kramer, director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.

"As program manager, Dr. Gulley, on numerous occasions, presented creative and balanced paths forward for the group, paths built on a strong foundation of knowledge of the Endangered Species Act, knowledge of the complex regional water issues of South-Central Texas, and an uncanny knack of understanding personalities and getting them to work together," Kramer said.

Dr. Neal Wilkins, director of IRNR, said the award highlights the expertise and consensus-building skills Gulley brought to the program.

"He was the perfect person for this job, using all of his skills and experience to find a solution to a seemingly impossible problem," Wilkins said. "By working with all the stakeholders, Gulley was able to accomplish a comprehensive plan that balances the need for a stable water supply for the region with the protection of endangered species." 

According to Hal Suter, chairman of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Ken Kramer Living Waters Award was created this year to honor Kramer's 30 years of service as director of the Lone Star Chapter and his special dedication to water resources management over the course of his career.

"The award will be given when merited to the member or person who has contributed significantly to the preservation or restoration of water quality or to the pursuit of strategies for water resources management beneficial to the people and environment of Texas," Suter said. 

Gulley joined the institute in 2007 from the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served as a senior trial attorney for natural resource issues. He previously taught in medical schools and worked as a scientist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

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