Board of Directors

A diverse board includes participants from across the watershed and different sectors.

Kimberly A. Lutz, Executive Director  

Kimberly A. Lutz (Kim) is the Executive Director of America’s Watershed Initiative (AWI), a collaboration working with hundreds of business, government, academic, and civic organizations to find solutions to the challenges facing the Mississippi River and the more than 250 rivers that flow into it. Formed in 2010, AWI engages leaders throughout the watershed with a diversity of perspectives and sectors including conservation, navigation, agriculture, flood control and risk reduction, industry, academics, basin associations, local, state, and federal government agencies. AWI published the Mississippi River Watershed Report Card, designed to provide decision makers, watershed leaders and the public with easy-to-understand information about the state of the watershed’s health to aid them in developing a collaborative approach to managing America’s Watershed. Report Cards are published every five years beginning in 2015.


Lutz joins AWI from The Nature Conservancy, where she initiated and successfully led two multi-state watershed programs along the Savannah and Connecticut Rivers. Under her leadership, these programs improved river flows, restored large-scale floodplain forests, protected more than 6,000 acres, and achieved a significant refuge expansion. She was a founding member and former chair of the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte Refuge, a 70-member partner organization and multi-state watershed coalition where she helped successfully build congressional relationships that resulted in $23 million in federal funding for the Connecticut River Watershed. She also served in the U.S. Department of the Interior, working directly for the Senior Advisor to the Secretary to develop a national program for protecting and restoring nationally significant rivers and associated watersheds.

In 2015-2016, Lutz joined fellow conservation leaders in Massachusetts in a US State Department, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs program where she mentored emerging environmental leaders from Peru, Uruguay, and Mexico. She was also selected as a Global Sawhill Fellow, a senior leadership program of The Nature Conservancy. As part of this program, Lutz and her team developed the Conservancy’s first affinity group, Women in Nature (WIN), and established diversity and inclusion criteria for all managers.

Lutz obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio in 1982 where she majored in Biology and Psychology. In 1987, she graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Master of Science Degree in Biology. Her thesis research explored prairie restoration and resulted in a restoration plan for a county park.

Lutz and her husband John, a non-profit leader in Elder Care, have two adult children. She has also been an active community volunteer, serving in leadership positions at her children’s schools, and with their church.


Rivers have shaped me like they shape the landscape. Growing up mostly in cities, on the east and west coasts, summers spent fishing with my grandfather on a tributary to the Illinois River or motoring out on Uncle’s boat along the Upper Mississippi were precious times. These experiences had a profound impact on me and when it came time to pick an undergraduate major, biology was an obvious choice. Since then, I have had the good fortune to have my career shaped by rivers—the Savannah River, the Connecticut River, and now back to where this love of rivers started, America’s Great River, the Mississippi.

As I start this next chapter, I am reminded of all this great River provides— abundant wildlife, unmatched beauty, our home, our livelihoods. And all of us have a stake in what the watershed provides for our future. When America’s Watershed Initiative (AWI) envisioned a Mississippi River Watershed report card five years ago, we took great care to listen to, and measure, all aspects of the River’s health that we heard were important to you.

The results of the 2020 Mississippi River Watershed Report Card allow us to see how those important features are trending by assigning letter grades. Some grades and their stories illustrate what is working so that the next time we measure progress we see improvement. Some grades tell us that the Mississippi River Watershed faces urgent challenges with implications for the health and safety of Americans and the American economy. These challenges are national issues, impacting all of us.

Therefore, it is imperative to protect the Mississippi River Watershed through investment, learning, education and action. We hope you will join efforts to protect and strengthen the Watershed, so that it might continue to power our economy and livelihoods, today and for coming generations.

Board Members

Bob Beduhn
HDR Inc.

Debra Calhoun
Waterways Council, Inc.

Joan C. Freitag
Hanson Professional Services, Inc.

Teri Goodmann
City of Dubuque

Charlie Hess
Brown & Root

Dr. Barbara Kleiss
Tulane University

Dan Mecklenborg
Ingram Barge Company

John Montgomery

Frank Morton
Turn Services, LLC

Rachel Orf
National Corn Growers Association

Rainy Inman Shorey
Caterpillar, Inc.

BG (Ret.) C. David Turner
Next Generation Logisitics,
and Dawson & Associates


Kirsten Wallace
Upper Mississippi River Basin Assn

Larry Weber
University of Iowa

National Advisory Council

Craig E. Philip, PhD
Research Professor, Civil and Environmental
Engineering, Vanderbilt University

Norma Jean Mattei, PhD
Professor at University of New Orleans