The Idaho Conservation League has appointed Program Director Justin Hayes to take over as executive director on May 1. Hayes will replace Rick Johnson, who has led the organization for 23 years.

Hayes has been ICL’s program director since 2001. He has overseen the organization’s conservation programs, which aim to protect Idaho’s air, water, public lands, wildlife and quality of life. According to a news release from the organization, Hayes carries out much of ICL’s technical work on mining, air quality and water quality. He also coordinates the nonprofit organization’s litigation strategy.

“Our state has big challenges ahead—saving our salmon and steelhead from extinction, addressing the causes and impacts of climate change, protecting our public lands and cleaning up polluted rivers,” Hayes said.

Before ICL, Hayes worked as an environmental advocate in Idaho and Washington, D.C., for Idaho Rivers United, Save our Wild Salmon, and American Rivers. He holds undergraduate degrees in human biology and earth systems and a master’s degree from Stanford University’s School of Earth Sciences.

“I could not be more pleased to have Justin serve as ICL’s new executive director,” Johnson said. “He has been instrumental in shaping the program work we’ve done over these past 17-plus years. To a certain degree, as conservation partners for many, many years, our overlap began a long time ago, and I am very confident that the many factors that make ICL successful, a great conservation investment and a great place to work are in secure hands.” 

Email the writer: gmoore@mtexpress.com

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