Rebecca Wodder is a nationally known environmental leader who has devoted her entire career to conservation causes, beginning with the first Earth Day in 1970. Most recently, she served at the U.S. Department of the Interior as Senior Advisor to Secretary Ken Salazar, advancing river and watershed conservation objectives, including President Obama’s initiative on America’s Great Outdoors. Wodder was nominated by President Obama for the post of Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Rebecca served as President of American Rivers from 1995-2011. Under her direction, American Rivers became a nationally recognized and highly respected NGO, delivering innovative solutions to urban and rural river and water issues. Her strategic, programmatic and financial leadership resulted in an eight-fold increase in revenue and establishment of more than a dozen field offices delivering conservation services to communities across America. Two of the organization’s signature projects, developed under her tenure, are its annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers Report and its successful work in the restoration of rivers, especially through removal of obsolete dams.
From 1981 to 1994, Rebecca served in senior positions at The Wilderness Society. She was Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (WI) on environmental and energy issues from 1978 to 1980.
Rebecca holds a B.A. in Biology and in Environmental Studies from the University of Kansas, and a M.S. in Landscape Architecture and in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin. In 2010, she was recognized as a Top 25 Outstanding Conservationists by Outdoor Life Magazine.
Currently, Rebecca is a Fellow with the Center for Humans and Nature, where she is developing an independent project to encourage communities to work together to enhance local and regional resilience to climate change, through sustainable approaches to rivers, watersheds and freshwater resources. She also serves on the Board of the Potomac Conservancy, a regional NGO working to protect the watershed of the Potomac River, and is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin.
Rebecca was River Network’s James Compton awardee for 2014.