Audubon California’s Frank Ruiz Named to California Colorado River Board

“…a longtime advocate for water and the Salton Sea who puts the wellbeing of communities above all else.”


(Sacramento, Calif., March 23, 2023)— Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Frank Ruiz, Salton Sea Program director for Audubon California, to the state of California Colorado River Board. The Board was established in 1937 to advocate for California’s rights and interests in water from the Colorado River, as well as represent the state in negotiations with the six other states – as well as Mexico – that rely on the river for their water supply.

Since joining Audubon California in 2017, Ruiz has been a stalwart advocate not only for the more than 400 species of migratory birds that depend on the Sea as a vital stopover in the desert, but for the residents of local communities hard-hit by hazardous dust blown off the increasingly exposed lakebed. Prior to his work with Audubon, Ruiz worked in law enforcement, as a clergy member, as a mental health professional, and helped found “Por la Creacion: a faith-based coalition” aimed at engaging Latino families in conservation and policymaking work. His team was extensively involved in the establishment of the three California Desert Monuments.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed to the State of California Colorado River Board,” said Ruiz. “It’s humbling to represent communities facing what is arguably the most tenacious drought on record in the Western Hemisphere. It’s crucial for everyone with a stake in the future of the Salton Sea, as well as the Colorado River, to work together towards feasible solutions, and I look forward to bringing local voices to the conversation that can offset the impacts on our communities and wildlife."

“Frank has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Salton Sea, its ecosystem and the communities that call the area home,” said Dr. Madhavi Colton, executive director of Audubon California. “He’ll bring a badly needed local perspective to the Colorado River Board at a critical time for the overtapped Colorado River.”

“Frank Ruiz is an excellent choice for the Colorado River Board and I applaud Governor Newsom’s appointment of him,” said Rep. Raúl Ruiz (D-Calif.). “He is a longtime advocate for water and the Salton Sea who puts the wellbeing of communities above all else. He’ll be a common-sense, solution-oriented voice for the people of the region.”

Seven counties – 19 million people -- in Southern California and 40 million people nationwide receive water and hydroelectric energy from the Colorado River.


Jason Howe,; 415-595-9245

About Audubon
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

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