Editor's note: The following is a press release from soundkeeper.org. Stratford Patch sat down with Terry Backer in November last year. to read that story.
Terry Backer has received the "River Hero" award from the River Network during a ceremony at River Rally 2012 in Portland, Ore.
The International award, now in its twelfth year, honors individuals who have made substantial and inspirational contributions to the river and watershed conservation community. Terry received the prestigious, peer-nominated award for his 25 years as the Long Island Soundkeeper.
"This is the most meaningful award I've received because it's from my peers," Backer said. "This has been my life's work and it's been a labor of love. I've been measured and weighed by my peers and deemed worthy. Nothing gets better than that."
A leading voice for reducing polluted runoff into the Long Island Sound, Terry has developed a program to run sewage-pumping boats for recreational vessels, was a key player in the recent EPA ruling curtailing future mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, and helped reduce sewage dumping into the sound.
As one of the founders of Waterkeeper Alliance, Terry helped spur the creation of nearly 200 waterkeeper organizations in 21 countries.
"We're inspired by the important work Terry is doing to make a meaningful impact on water resources around the world," said Todd Ambs, River Network President. "It's our hope River Network and its grassroots heroes can encourage volunteers to get involved and protect the water resources that are important in their communities."
Unlike other similar awards, the "River Hero" comes directly via the river and watershed community. It is not political, rather a reflection of the deep respect and admiration Terry's peers have for his home-grown commitment to clean, healthy waters.
About River Network: River Network is leading a national watershed protection movement that includes more than 2,000 local, state and regional and local grassroots organizations whose primary mission is to protect rivers and watersheds. For more than twenty years, River Network has worked closely with watershed protection groups from coast to coast -- building the capacity of state and local organizations, assisting people grappling with water and environmental health problems, protecting habitat for fish and wildlife, developing blue cities and reducing our country's use of water and energy.