Five months after her South Sound arrival from her wildlife biologist job at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a 500-year flood struck the Nisqually River watershed. It swamped the refuge and many of the buildings there. Storm recovery included construction of a new refuge headquarters and visitors center, which was completed just as she was named refuge manager in 1999.
She was perfectly positioned to embark on the most ambitious estuary-restoration project in Pacific Northwest history. She helped develop and implement a plan to remove old farm dikes that had held back the Puget Sound tides for some 100 years, build a new interior dike, reconnect 762 acres to the tides and construct a mile-long boardwalk over the tideflats for the public to use.
“I never dreamed I would oversee such a huge project,” she said…
“We have high praise for Jean,” said Kathleen Ackley, associate director of the Capitol Land Trust. “She had a vision for the Black River area, and she was willing to work with others.”
The Capitol Land Trust will name Takekawa its 2013 Conservationist of the Year on Feb. 12 at the nonprofit’s ninth annual Conservation Breakfast fundraiser at the Saint Martin’s University Marcus Pavilion in Lacey.
Jean is going to San Diego to enjoy retirement with her partner, who is a former U.S. Parks Service ranger.