When Bill Ray and Bill Shedd teamed up to form non-profit organization United Anglers of Southern California (UASC) back in the late ’80s, these avid recreational fishermen had a revolutionary vision of protecting and enhancing fishery resources for all citizens. Today, nearly 20 years later, Ray’s widow Beverly has taken steps to ensure that her husband’s vision will continue, with a generous $400,000 donation made on behalf of the Bill and Beverly Ray Foundation.
This grant will be used specifically to fund important UASC conservation programs that include restoring critical wetlands habitat, building artificial reefs and the organization’s involvement with a landmark program that has raised and released well over 1.5 million juvenile white seabass into Southern California waters. The funds will also be earmarked for supporting UASC’s ongoing efforts to take thousands of kids fishing, remove destructive industrial fishing gear from our waters and work within the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) governmental process to ensure recreational access to aquatic resources for anglers and the general public.
“We can never express the full measure of our gratitude for this generous gift,” said Tom Raftican, president of UASC. “This grant with which Beverly has entrusted us will help keep Bill’s conservation mission alive. He was a true visionary who realized – before it was ‘fashionable’ to do so – that recreational anglers must also be good stewards of our resources,” he added. It was for this reason that UASC developed its Bill Ray Memorial Award program, the organization’s highest conservation honor. Each year, this award has been given to a person who has gone above and beyond the call of duty and exemplified the conservation spirit of Bill Ray. Past winners of this honor include Sen. Dede Alpert, retired California Fish and Game Commission Executive Director Robert Treanor, Bill Shedd, his mother Peggie Shedd and Bill Ray himself.
The grant was officially presented to UASC at a recent ceremony held at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort in Newport Beach. Bill’s widow (now Beverly Parkhurst) was joined by Raftican and UASC Chairman Dave Elm, UASC Treasurer Steve Fukuto, UASC Secretary Bob Clarke and board of directors members April Wakeman, John Riordan, Dave Wooten, Tim Manaka, Nancy Christiano and co-founder Bill Shedd.
“Next year we’ll celebrate our 20th anniversary – two decades of working to protect our ocean environment, enhance depleted fish stocks and ensure that all citizens can have access to enjoying our natural resources,” Raftican said. “Bill was there at the beginning and now his spirit and generous nature – and that of his lovely wife – will help us move forward with our important work. Today, we face challenges we never could have imagined back then. But we also have opportunities we never could have imagined – the chance to provide healthy oceans and great fishing for future generations,” he added.
For more information about the conservation activities of UASC, contact organization headquarters at (949) 863-9447 or visit online at www.unitedanglers.com.