Nevada City, California — The Sierra Fund is happy to announce that we have closed escrow on the sale of the beautiful property in Sierra County that was given as a gift to our organization. We would like to take a moment to remember and thank Ken Turner, the man who gave the gift.
“Ken was instrumental in establishing and advising the Sierra Club water committee,” remembers Jerry Meral, a Board member of The Sierra Fund. “I am sure he would be very pleased to know that the sale of his gift has benefited The Sierra Fund.”
Quoting from the obituary issued by the family at the time of his death:
Ken was a booster, former board member, and founding father of the Watershed Management Council. Ken was a great and stabilizing influence during the birth and infancy of WMC. It was Ken who convinced the WMC board that one of the first orders of business should be the adoption of by-laws. But Ken didn’t stop there. He took it upon himself to draft proposed by-laws and then patiently modified them, based on board and member input, until they were adopted unanimously.
Ken was also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Geophysical Union. An expert on water rights and water resources issues, he was instrumental in the development of the California Water Plan and a technical advisor to the CaliforniaNevada Interstate Compact Commission.
Ken was also a lifetime member of the Sierra Club, and a devoted volunteer in the Mother Lode Chapter in Sacramento. Ken was the grandson of Cyrus Turner, who came to California in the early days to work in the mines. Ken was co-owner of quartz mines in SierraCounty and had many friends among the old-timers in the Allegheny mining region of SierraCounty. A benefactor of several charities in the Sacramento area, he was a major supporter of the Kentucky Mine, SierraCountyHistoricalPark.
After serving as a Merchant Marine Seaman in World War II, Ken completed his education at the University of California at Berkeley. A the time of his death, Ken was still working half-time as a senior engineer for the California Department of Water Resources in the Statewide Water Planning Branch.
His life-long interests included augmenting water yield through vegetation management, mapping precipitation, and studying runoff rates. Lest we forget, up until recently, water resource engineers with an abiding interest in watershed management were very rare. In this and other respects, Ken was an early pioneer of watershed management. His career spanned half a century. He was first hired by the California State Department of Public Works, Division of Water Resources (predecessor to the Department of Water Resources) in June 1951. That same year DWR’s predecessor published the first phase of the comprehensive study and an inventory of water resources throughout California mandated by the Legislature in 1945.
Ken Turner passed away April 12, 2002, at the age of 74, after a long battle with diabetes. Ken is survived by his sister Eunice Banks, his brother-in-law Lowell Banks of Sierra City, and three nephews, Bruce, Steven, and Gary Banks.