Steve Stampfli, coordinator of the Hood River Watershed Group, announced Thursday he will retire in March.
Stampfli, a Husum resident, was hired in 2005 by the Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District. He works with agencies, landowners and businesses to coordinate land and water conservation projects in the Hood River valley.
Stampfli made the announcement at the HRSWCD annual meeting, held at OSU Extension office.
HRSWCD will revise the coordinator job description, then advertise the position by early February, and attempt to hire a new coordinator by the end of February.
“I’m really sad and sorry to see you go, but of course, we know you’re still here,” said Watershed Group chair Chuck Gehling. “It will be big shoes to fill. You and I have worked very loosely, and you’re sort of the memory of everything. You’re the one to go to. You’ve made great accomplishments.”
Stampfli said he will make a gradual exit and assist the SWCD in finding a replacement and helping with the transition.
“I don’t want to leave the work entirely so chances are I’ll stay involved in natural resource management on some level. I also feel a responsibility to one project, the Odell hydro dam decommissioning, and I will volunteer time to make sure that happens, to remove that major barrier from Odell Creek.”
Stampfli said his major focus in his remaining two months on the job will be the ongoing transfer of 400 acres of land along the Hood River associated with the decommissioned Powerdale facility from PacifiCorp to Columbia Land Trust and Hood River County.
Wasco Soil and Water Conservation District is also taking applications for a watershed coordinator. Kate Marick, formerly a HRSWCD intern, recently accepted a stewardship position with Columbia Land Trust, according to District Manager Anne Saxby.
Stampfli said that Marick’s hiring at CLT will help with the Powerdale lands process.
“I’m sure it is going to end up very well,” Stampfli said of the transition with his position. “Based on the quality of the people who are moving to this valley, they’ll jump right in and do a good job.”