About Us

The River Exchange is a non-profit organization located in Dunsmuir, California. We promote healthy watersheds in Siskiyou County through community involvement in stewardship, restoration and education. 

We began as a project of the City of Dunsmuir in 1996, created in the aftermath of the disastrous Cantara Loop railroad spill that destroyed all plant and animal life along a forty mile stretch of the Upper Sacramento River. Since that time we have grown into an independent and self-sustaining organization.

Along the way, we have taught thousands of schoolchildren about the importance of rivers, and how to be good stewards of their watersheds. We have also organized dozens of community events around watershed stewardship, participated in numerous restoration projects throughout the region, and created partnerships with federal, state and local agencies, other conservation groups, and the business community. 

Each year the River Exchange hosts the Great River Clean-up in the fall, and the River Celebration! in late spring. We also host a series of informational gatherings on watershed sustainability. Check our News Page for event dates and information.

Our members live throughout California and in other parts of the country. They share the common desire to see the spectacular rivers and watersheds of far northern California remain healthy and productive, and to be sustained for future generations to enjoy. 

Community Partners

We regularly partner with the following organizations and agencies:

Watch Our Video

View the President's Message

River Exchange Strategic Plan; Vision 2020

In June 2011, the River Exchange adopted its Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, which will guide our activities for the next 10 years. You can view our strategic plan in pdf format by clicking: Vision 2020 Strategic Plan

You can contact our office at (530) 500-2114 or email us at contact.riverexchange@gmail.com

Our Team

River Exchange Board of Directors and Staff

Phil Detrich
Executive Director, Board Member


Phil Detrich joined the River Exchange Board of Directors in June 2011, and has served as our Executive Director since November 1st, 2013. Early in his career as a wildlife biologist, he did research on birds of prey on Shasta Lake and in the forests of the Mt. Shasta region. From 2001 until 2010, he supervised the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) office in Yreka, CA, and represented the USFWS in the Klamath River settlement negotiations on hydroelectric dam relicensing, irrigation deliveries, and river management.

Phil has lived in Mt. Shasta for 15 years, and enjoys birding, rafting, and fly-fishing.

Phyllis Skalko
Finance Director


Phyllis is the River Exchange's bookkeeper and numbers guru. Having spent over 30 years in the accounting field, she is an invaluable addition to the REX staff. Prior to her "retirement" to Dunsmuir, Phyllis was the Controller for The James Irvine Foundation in San Francisco.

When not keeping us on our toes at the River Exchange, she loves to read, dance, collect unusual fabrics, and help out with the Dunsmuir Railroad Depot Historical Society and Dunsmuir Railroad Days. 


Chris Stromsness
Founding Member and Board President


Chris is a Cal anthropology graduate and a Hastings law graduate. He had a law office in Dunsmuir from 1968 until 1992 and retired as a Superior Court Judge in 2004. Chris has been fishing since 1947; he's spent time on the Klamath River since 1952, and on the Sacramento River since 1950. In 1997 he became a flyfisher, and he is also an avid birder.

Chris is a charter member of the River Exchange Board and is active in Mt. Shasta Audubon Society and many other conservation and community groups. Chris continues to live in Dunsmuir.


Spencer Adkisson
Board Member




Spencer re-joined the River Exchange in November of 2017. He is an educator who has worked with students from McCloud, Dunsmuir and Mt.Shasta.  He currently teaches fifth grade at Sisson Middle School.  When he is not teaching he is spending time on the river fishing, skiing on the mountain and exploring with his young family.  Spencer's background is in Physical Geography and spent a number of years as a guide on Mount Shasta working for the Shasta Mountain Guides. When he is not out in nature he is playing funk music with his 11 member funk band called Secret Society Handshake. 







David Clarno                                                   Board Member    

David Clarno River Exchange

David Clarno joined the River Exchange Board in June of 2017. He is a
local business owner and active in the community, serving on 5 different boards of directors. David was born in the mountain town of Leavenworth Washington and has spent most of his life in the mountains. He attended California state University, Chico, worked 25 years teaching skiing, and 25 years working for Cal Fire and the US Forest Service. His experience working in non profit organizations spans four decades. He is passionate about the environment, believes the Sacramento Watershed to be a jewel that needs wise stewardship, and looks forward to serving on the River Exchange Board.

Peter Arth, Jr.
Board Treasurer

Peter Arth River Exchange.JPG

Third-generation Californian who grew up in Redlands, CA in the waning days of the citrus industry. Graduated from Oregon State University in 1967 (B.S. Political Science). Graduated from U.C. Hastings College of Law and admitted to CA. Bar in 1971. Represented the CA Dep't of Water Resources, CA Resources Agency, and California Public Utilities Commission. Appointed as General Counsel to the CPUC in 1991, and Chief of Staff to President Mike Peevey in 2002. Retired in 2007 and moved to Dunsmuir in 2008. Appointed to Dunsmuir City Council in 2008, and served as Mayor in 2010. Owner and manager of Bombs Away, LLC, a company dedicated to reviving Dunsmuir's Historic District by acquiring and repurposing significant buildings for new residential and commercial uses.

Elected to the River Exchange Board in 2016.




Scott Embrey
Board Secretary

Scott Embrey River Exchange

Scott joined The River Exchange Board of Directors in 2016.  An educator by profession, with a Master’s degree in Elementary Education, Scott is semi-retired from a career in both public and private education. He taught in Dunsmuir for 10 years and internationally for 20 years.  Scott has fished the Sacramento and McCloud rivers since 1985.  An avid trout fisherman since his early years in Michigan, Scott has also fished in South America, Africa, and Asia.  He enjoys travel with his wife Sandy and spending time with their two sons Teague and Addison.  He continues to pursue the outdoor activities of fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking, gardening, and photography.  Releasing large trout caught with flies from his own vise brings him great joy.




Brad Seltzer                                           Board Member


Brad Seltzer is our most recent board member, just joining the team in August.  Brad grew up in Akron, Ohio with 5 brothers until he was 18. Then he moved to Louisiana, where he attended Northeast Louisiana Universtiy but then  decided switched gears. Brad received a culinary degree in 1989 from the CCA S.T.A.R chef training program in New Orleans, and went on to become a chef for Holiday Inn, Raddison Hotels, and Club Corp. of America. Brad has had the pleasure of making food for Nelson Mandela, Calvin Klein, Faith Hill, and Shaquille O'Neal among others at various fund-raisers and banquets at these jobs. He finally opened his own business in 2002 as a co-owner of Cuisine Lousianne, a cajun style restaraunt in New Orleans. It was cut short by Hurricane Katrina, and he and his daughter Hannah were displaced to Houston. Brad has been a single parent since 2005. He and his daughter moved to Mount Shasta in 2006 and says and he could not think of a better place to raise a child.  Brad has received an associates degree in biology and Environmental Science in 2016 from COS where he is also a tutor.  He is currently halfway to a Bachelors of Science. Brad is passionate about wildlife, hiking, and environmental advocacy.