KWF director leaves

KWF director leaves

While throughout his career as founder and executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum (KWF) Robert Ruffner received many esteemed national awards for his accomplishments. The awards he received last week at his retirement roast seemed to bring Ruffner equal pleasure. Over 50 friends and supporters bought tickets to the roast which allegedly was kept a secret from the former Board of Fish nominee, “Well, actually I became a bit suspicious that something was goofy when Peter showed up on time to pick me up, because he’s never on time,” Ruffner confessed. Sen. Micciche was charged with getting Ruffner to the Triumvirate Theatre in Kenai. Ruffner was given an easy seat of honor stage left beneath two Kayaks which he undoubtedly will be spending more time in 2016, while a panel of friends and officials recalled satirically his life at KWF.

“I feel really good about what happened here tonight,” he told the Dispatch in an interview following the roast. “Being honored or appreciated or whatever this was tonight is a setting I usually do not feel comfortable in, but it was meaningful for me tonight to see the diversity of people who came out tonight to show their support for what I’ve done the past 19 years. The Watershed Forum is strong and is going to continue on doing what it has done because it has a good board of directors. I’m encouraged and happy to see that while I take some time off to see what I’m going to do next. This was a great way to send me off and greatly appreciated,” said Ruffner. He added that he feels good about what the future holds for the Peninsula but pointed to a few things yet to be done, “Everybody knows about the struggles around our fisheries type issues and we desperately need an organization like the Kenai Watershed Forum to bring these people together to work on solutions for these issues in the future. I have a very positive outlook for the future and feel it’s very bright because of our work with the youth and their vision for our community,” said Ruffner.

Soldotna Chamber of Commerce President Ryan Kapp said Ruffner was a great communicator and “the only person (he) knew who could make 50 people attend the dedication of a culvert,” a reference to KWF’s passable culverts program, one of the largest at Slikock Creek where the Chamber of Commerce held a luncheon dedication a few years ago. The culvert program replaced older culverts beneath roads with ones designed to be more passable to the anadromous fish and has opened miles of new salmon habitat at great savings to the state. Soldotna Mayor Pete Sprague remembered how when working with Robert you could always tell when he was becoming frustrated with something because his voice would go up a few octaves and he would say, “That’s just goofy!” Sprague then presented Ruffner with a stuffed Goofy doll. Kapp also had a present for Ruffner, a board mounted with plastic fish as a token of time he never served on the Board of Fish due to one vote. The night’s skits concluded with one in which Ruffner played himself, reenacting a satirical take of his legislative confirmation hearing last spring in Juneau.

KWF director leaves
KWF director leaves
KWF director leaves

More in News

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State parks advisory boards accepting applictions

Alaska State Park advisory boards provide state park managers with recommendations on management issues

A recently added port-a-potty is available in the parking lot of Slikok Multi-Use Trails on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Slikok makes sanitation upgrades

A port-a-potty was installed to due to the increased popularity of the trails

Sen. Dan Sullivan speaks at the Kenai Classic Roundtable at Kenai Peninsula College on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, near Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Local students nominated to compete for appointments in military academies

Students interested in pursuing appointment to the military service academies can apply for nomination through their state’s congressional delegation

Kenai resident Barbara Kennedy testifies in support of allowing more city residents to own chickens during a city council meeting on Wednesday, Feb.1, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council bumps back vote on chicken ordinance

The ordinance would allow Kenai residents to keep up to 12 chicken hens on certain lots

Sens. Löki Tobin, D-Anchorage, right, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, and Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, discuss a bill proposing a nearly 17% increase in per-student education funding Wednesday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini /Juneau Empire)
State Senate bill would bump per-student funding amount by $1,000

If approved, the legislation would bump state education funding by more than $257 million

Recognizable components make up this metal face seen in a sculpture by Jacob Nabholz Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at the Kenai Art Center, in Kenai, Alaska, as part of Metalwork & Play. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Metalwork gets time to shine

Metal is on showcase this month at the Kenai Art Center

This 2019 aerial photo provided by ConocoPhillips shows an exploratory drilling camp at the proposed site of the Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. The Biden administration issued a long-awaited study on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, that recommends allowing three oil drilling sites in the region of far northern Alaska. The move, while not final, has angered environmentalists who see it as a betrayal of President Joe Biden’s pledges to reduce carbon emissions and promote green energy. (ConocoPhillips via AP)
Biden administration recommends major Alaska oil project

The move — while not final — drew immediate anger from environmentalists

Homer Electric Association General Manager Brad Janorschke testifies before the Senate Resources Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Screenshot via Gavel Alaska)
Senate group briefed on future of Cook Inlet gas

Demand for Cook Inlet gas could outpace supply as soon as 2027

Most Read