Kevin Lewis takes over as IRU executive director

IRU Executive Director Kevin Lewis.

After running the day-to-day conservation work at IRU for 12 years, Kevin Lewis is taking over as the organization’s executive director. He replaces outgoing director Mark Blaiser, who is pursuing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write a book about his experience climbing Denali in Alaska.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunities that come with this promotion,” Lewis said. “IRU is and will continue as the premier defender of Idaho’s rivers and native fish, and I look forward to pursuing this new opportunity, as well as maintaining our existing strong conservation work.”

Lewis is no stranger to running a small business, exercising leadership or understanding the ins and outs of IRU’s day-to-day operations. During his 12 years at IRU Lewis worked as a key adviser to two executive directors and has maintained a tight working relationship with the board of directors.

Prior to joining IRU in 2004 Lewis spent nearly 30 years building and operating a small business before following his passion for river conservation. He served on the Board of Directors of American Whitewater for seven years from 1998 through 2005, including two years as board president and a half dozen years as chair of the organization’s conservation committee.

“No one knows more about Idaho river conservation and policy than Kevin Lewis,” said IRU Board Chair John Wells. “We’re proud and confident to have Kevin at the helm of IRU to continue achieving important conservation results for Idaho’s rivers.”

Meanwhile, IRU’s conservation work is as strong as ever. Earlier this month, IRU won a preliminary injunction blocking logging in the Wild and Scenic Selway River canyon, one of America's first Wild and Scenic rivers. And just last week, IRU notched a huge win when Federal District Judge Michael Simon ruled that the government's plans to prevent extinction of endangered and threatened salmon is illegal.