News & UpdatesRecent updates from America’s Watershed Initiative.
America’s Watershed Initiative Appoints New Executive Director
Kim Lutz brings decades of conservation expertise to chart course for the future vitality of the Mississippi River and its tributaries
St. Louis, Missouri (August 3, 2020) – America’s Watershed Initiative (AWI), a collaboration among 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, announced Kim Lutz as its new Executive Director.
“America’s Watershed Initiative serves as a voice for the entire Mississippi River Watershed, working to chart an action plan for the watershed that secures the long-term health of our nation, its communities, economies and natural systems,” said Dan Mecklenborg, chair of AWI’s Board of Directors. “Kim’s 25-year background driving positive, tangible outcomes in the water and on the land through other multi-state watershed programs, as well as her experience cultivating diverse partnerships, will help AWI secure and maintain the vitality of the world’s fourth largest watershed.”
Lutz joins AWI from The Nature Conservancy, where she most recently 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.
“I am excited to join AWI at this critical juncture, as demands on water, land resources, and both the natural and built infrastructure of the Mississippi River Watershed continue to grow in their national and local importance and face significant challenges,” said Kim Lutz. “I look forward to working with AWI’s many collaborators as we restore and protect health and prosperity across America’s Watershed.”
The fourth largest watershed in the world, the Mississippi River Watershed is located in 31 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, comprising more than 250 rivers in five basins. As America’s Watershed, it carries waters from the Rocky Mountains, the north woods of Minnesota, and the Appalachian Mountains, through delta wetlands and into the Gulf of Mexico, providing drinking water for millions of people, water for agriculture, and much of America’s energy. The transportation network in the Mississippi River Watershed moves millions of tons of goods safely, reliably, and efficiently, generating billions in economic benefit, and the system’s rivers and wetlands provide unique wildlife, habitat, and recreational opportunities.
About America’s Watershed Initiative
Formed in 2010, America’s Watershed Initiative is a collaboration including both public-and private-sector leaders from across the Mississippi River Watershed, seeking solutions to ensure America’s watershed remains viable for future generations. The AWI Board of Directors includes leaders from throughout the watershed with a diversity of positions and sectors including conservation, navigation, agriculture, flood control and risk reduction, industry, academics, basin associations, local, state, and federal government agencies. Learn more at AmericasWatershed.org.