About NRDC

NRDC Experts: Water

Clean and plentiful water is the cornerstone of prosperous communities. Yet as we enter the 21st century, swelling demand and changing climate patterns are draining rivers and aquifers and pollution is threatening the quality of what remains. NRDC is integrating our expertise in pollution prevention, water efficiency and climate change to sustain America's precious water resources, working to advance smart water efficiency policies to ensure that communities get the water they need while keeping our lakes, rivers, and streams full and healthy. Read more.

Steve Fleischli

Steve Fleischli Director and Senior Attorney, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Water policy, climate change, curbing water pollution, stormwater management, Clean Water Act, water management.

Bio

Steve Fleischli is a Senior Attorney* and Director of the Water Program. Most recently, Steve led the Water Program’s Water & Climate Team. His areas of emphasis include water quality, climate preparedness and energy & water issues. Prior to joining NRDC in 2010, Steve served as President of Waterkeeper Alliance, an international environmental organization supporting local watershed programs (such as Riverkeepers, Baykeepers and Soundkeepers) in nearly 200 communities across six continents. Steve also served as Executive Director of Waterkeeper Alliance (2003-2007) and as the Santa Monica Baykeeper in Los Angeles (1999-2003). He has held positions as a Legal & Policy Analyst for Heal the Bay and as an adjunct law professor at Pepperdine University School of Law. He is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with majors in Economics; Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology; and Environmental Conservation.

*Admitted in California and the District of Columbia

Jon Devine

Jon Devine Senior Attorney, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Wetlands and headwaters, urban runoff pollution, algae blooms, mountaintop removal, industrial livestock operations, Clean Water Act.

Bio

Jon Devine is a senior attorney* with NRDC’s water program and he leads the clean water solutions team. His work focuses on implementing, defending, and strengthening Clean Water Act core programs. Jon specializes on the legal scope of the Clean Water Act; runoff pollution and the use of green infrastructure; water quality and nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin; and mountaintop removal coal mining and its impacts on bodies of water in Appalachia. Prior to the water program, Jon worked with NRDC's health and environment program for four years. Before joining NRDC in 2001, Jon was an attorney-advisor in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of General Counsel. Jon was a law clerk for Judge Phyllis Kravitch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1996 and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1991. Before attending law school, he was an environmental specialist in the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

*Admitted in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia

Ed Osann

Ed Osann Senior Policy Analyst, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Bio

Ed Osann is a Senior Policy Analyst with NRDC's Water Program. Ed leads a team of seven professionals working to advance policies and technologies that improve the efficiency of water use. He previously served as Director of Policy and External Affairs for the Bureau of Reclamation from 1993 to 1996, and has extensive experience in state-level energy and water policy development in California, Maryland, and DC. In 1996, he established Potomac Resources, a consulting practice specializing in state and federal energy and water policy. He staffed the Steering Committee for Water Efficient Products, a coalition of manufacturers, utilities, and environmental organizations that helped launch the voluntary labeling program now known as WaterSense. Previously, Ed was director of the Water Resources Program of the National Wildlife Federation, where he contributed to the reformulation of numerous large water resources projects and the adoption of policies for urban and agricultural water conservation, including national efficiency standards for plumbing products. He holds a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from George Washington University and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Georgetown. In 2010, Ed received the Mike Moynihan Excellence Award for statewide innovation in water conservation from the California Urban Water Conservation Council, where he co-chairs the Council’s Utility Operations Committee.

Kate Poole

Kate Poole Senior Attorney and Litigation Director, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Water policy, water management, fisheries, global warming, wildlife, environmental quality, sustainability, dams, river restoration, federal reclamation law, public trust.

Bio

Kate Poole is a Senior Attorney* with NRDC’s Water and Wildlife team and litigation director of the Water Program. She served as lead counsel for NRDC in NRDC v. Kempthorne and PCFFA v. Gutierrez, which reformed the operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project to reduce their impacts on threatened and endangered fish. Ms. Poole also directs other litigation efforts for NRDC's Water Program, including efforts to restore the San Joaquin River and ensure that long-term contracts for the diversion and use of California's rivers comply with environmental and natural resource protection laws. Before coming to NRDC, Ms. Poole was a partner with the law firm of Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo, and was of counsel at the Seattle office of Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund. Ms. Poole graduated from the University of Michigan with a magna cum laude Bachelor's degree in economics. She received a cum laude Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.

*Admitted in California

Rob Moore

Rob Moore Senior Policy Analyst, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Climate change impacts on water resources, FEMA, climate preparedness.

Bio

Rob Moore joined NRDC in May 2013 as a Senior Policy Analyst and leads the Water & Climate team. The Water & Climate team is working to identify and address the water-related impacts that result from our rapidly warming climate, while also making climate preparedness a priority for communities across the nation.

Prior to joining NRDC, Rob was the executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York (2004-2013), New York State’s main watchdog for environmental policy-making. Earlier he served as the executive director of Prairie Rivers Network (1997-2002), the only statewide river organization in Illinois, and also as the Lake Champlain Lakekeeper at the Conservation Law Foundation (2002-2004). He has a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Illinois.

Karen Hobbs

Karen Hobbs Senior Policy Analyst, Water Program

Press Contact:
Josh Mogerman
jmogerman@nrdc.org
(312) 663-9900

Areas of Focus

Water policy, water efficiency, climate change, green infrastructure, water supply alternatives, sustainability, curbing pollution, health and the environment, living sustainably.

Bio

Karen Hobbs joined the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in August 2010 as a senior policy analyst based in its Midwest office, where she focuses on green infrastructure and water efficiency policy in the Great Lakes Basin. Karen works with a range of partners to ensure full implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact; improve the efficiency and performance of plumbing fixtures and appliances; and identify opportunities to maximize green infrastructure investment by municipalities and wastewater utilities. Karen also works with craft beer brewers to highlight the importance of clean water and the Clean Water Act. Prior to joining NRDC, Karen served as First Deputy Commissioner for the City of Chicago Department of the Environment, where she oversaw the development and initial implementation of the Chicago Climate Action Plan. She was also the Director of Research for the Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology, and, during the Clinton Administration, Associate Director of the White House Task Force on Livable Communities and Director of the American Heritage Rivers Initiative at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Karen has a master's in public policy from the University of Chicago.

Larry Levine

Larry Levine Senior Attorney, Water Program

Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Curbing pollution, environmental justice, health and the environment.

Bio

Larry Levine is a senior attorney* in NRDC's Water Program, working on a variety of issues pertaining to water quality in the Northeast, and at the national policy level. Larry focuses on promoting the use of "green infrastructure" as a sustainable solution to polluted urban runoff and raw sewage overflows. Larry was previously a litigation fellow at NRDC and a clinical fellow in environmental law at the Georgetown University Law Center. Larry is a graduate of Yale Law School and Tulane University.

*Admitted in New York

Monty Schmitt

Monty Schmitt Senior Scientist and San Joaquin River Restoration Project Manager, Water Program

Areas of Focus

Protection and restoration of riverine ecosystems, salmon, fresh water fisheries, flood management, climate change, water supply management, riparian habitat, impacts of dams.

Bio

Monty Schmitt is a Senior Scientist and San Joaquin River Restoration Project Manager in NRDC's water program in San Francisco. With over two decades of experience integrating water resources management and protection of riverine ecosystems, his focus is on ensuring healthy rivers for fish, wildlife and people. Monty serves as lead scientist in the historic effort to restore flows and salmon to California’s second largest river, the San Joaquin. Monty also specializes in the effect of climate change on water resources and has co-authored reports on water management strategies to weather the effects of global warming and the impacts of oil shale development and climate change on Colorado River Basin water supply. Monty is also an expert on floodplain management issues in California, and served on the Governor’s Taskforce on Floodplain Management. In 2007, he helped pass legislation that lead the creation of the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan – California’s first comprehensive plan to improve public safety and management of floodplain while also protecting and restoring riverine ecosystem.

Monty has a bachelor of science in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has a master of science in natural resources management from California State University, Humboldt. Prior to coming to NRDC in 2000, Monty was a habitat restoration ecologist and the assistant director for the Ventana Wilderness Society in Big Sur, California.

Ben Chou

Ben Chou Water Policy Analyst, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Water policy, water management, climate change, state and federal climate adaptation.

Bio

Ben Chou is a policy analyst for NRDC’s water program in Santa Monica, CA, where he works on issues relating to climate change and water resources as part of the water and climate team. Ben’s work has focused on how local and state governments and the federal government are preparing for the water-related impacts of climate change. Prior to joining NRDC in 2011, he spent three years working on drinking water regulatory issues at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. He also has worked previously at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University and with the Climate and Air Program at the Environmental Defense Fund. Ben graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2005 and received his master’s degree from Columbia University in 2007.

Becky Hammer

Becky Hammer Project Attorney, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Stormwater, green infrastructure, low impact development, water pollution permits, climate change preparedness, energy and water.

Bio

Becky Hammer is a Project Attorney* in the Water Program working out of NRDC’s Washington, DC office. Her areas of emphasis are stormwater, green infrastructure, low impact development, water pollution permits, climate change preparedness, and energy and water. Becky joined NRDC in 2009 and works on the Clean Water Solutions and Climate & Water teams, tackling issues related to stormwater runoff, green infrastructure, Clean Water Act permitting, and climate change impacts. Before joining NRDC, Becky interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

*Admitted in New York and the District of Columbia

Aliya Haq

Aliya Haq Water and Climate Policy Advocate, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Water policy, climate change impacts, preparedness and adaptation.

Bio

Aliya Haq is a policy advocate with NRDC’s water program in Washington, DC. Her work at NRDC focuses on state and federal-level actions to adapt to climate change impacts on water resources, and to prepare for changes in extreme weather. Prior to joining NRDC, Aliya was a field organizing manager and a climate accountability researcher at Greenpeace USA. She also worked as a grassroots organizer with the Sierra Club and the California Public Interest Research Group. Aliya graduated from Yale University with a Masters degree in Environmental Management, where she served as a research assistant for the Yale Project on Climate Communication. As a graduate student, she worked as a communications coordinator with the US Global Change Research Program and as an intern for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Aliya received a B.S. in environmental sociology from Cornell University.

Doug Obegi

Doug Obegi Staff Attorney, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Water policy, San Joaquin River restoration, Bay-Delta, Endangered Species Act, agricultural water measurement and efficiency, California water rights, Public Trust and Reasonable Use doctrine.

Bio

Doug is a Staff Attorney* with the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he has worked since 2008. For the past several years he has represented NRDC in federal court litigation over protections for endangered species in the Bay-Delta estuary, as well as working on implementation of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, development of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the update of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, and regulatory and planning processes regarding improvements in urban and agricultural water efficiency. Mr. Obegi is a member of the Bar of the State of California and is admitted to practice in United States district court for the Eastern District of California. In 2006, Mr. Obegi graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he also worked as a research assistant for Professor John Leshy, focusing on water law.

*Admitted in California

Claire O'Connor

Claire O'Connor Agricultural Water Policy Analyst, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

Sustainable agriculture, agriculture and water.

Bio

Claire O'Connor is an attorney* and the Agricultural Water Policy Analyst in the NRDC Santa Monica Office. She focuses on designing and implementing solutions to water challenges that are good for both farmers and people who eat the food that farmers grow. Claire grew up as the fifth generation of family farmers in rural Nebraska. Her family taught her the importance of protecting natural resources so that future generations can carry on the family business. Today, her work focuses on using those same principles to promote food that is safe, healthy, and sustainable. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

*Admitted in California

Tracy Quinn

Tracy Quinn Policy Analyst, Water Program

Press Contact:
Jackie Wei
jwei@nrdc.org
(310) 434-2300

Areas of Focus

California water policy, 20x2020, water efficiency, water management and planning, graywater, building codes and product standards.

Bio

Tracy Quinn, P.E., joined Natural Resources Defense Council in the Santa Monica office in March 2011 as a Policy Analyst for the Water Efficiency Team. She has over ten years of experience as an environmental scientist and engineer and her practice areas have included water resources planning and design, pollutant fate and transport, and industrial regulatory compliance. She served as a project manager for several water resources planning reports, the design of a groundwater desalination facility, and various industrial NPDES compliance studies. At NRDC, Tracy focuses primarily on California water efficiency issues relating to the implementation of water conservation regulations, such as SBx7-7, and the development of new product standards. Tracy earned her bachelors and masters degrees in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Cornell University and is a registered civil engineer in the state of California.

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