Mekayle Houghton has been the Executive Director of the Cumberland River Compact since 2014. With her innovative and committed team, the Cumberland River Compact is growing to address the scope of the challenge to engage millions of stakeholders in efforts to ensure a clean and abundant supply of fresh water for the people and thousands of species that call the Cumberland River Basin home. Today, the Compact benefits from its founders’ wisdom, who created an environmental NGO that is non-litigious, creative, and able to build partnerships with entities across the social and political spectrum. Recent organizational accomplishments include: the restoration of free flow to an urban stream system, designated as Exceptional Waters, by removing four low head dams; the launch of a public-private campaign to restore Nashville’s tree canopy by planting 500,000 trees by 2050; and a partnership with National Fish and Wildlife Federation and local National Resources Conservation Service chapters to make soil health practices accessible to all farmers in target watersheds.
Mekayle serves on the Tennessee Solar Energy Association, the steering committee of TN H2O, a water planning initiative supported by past and current Governors, and the advisory board involved in Nashville’s compliance with the Global Covenant of Mayors. A proud social scientist, Mekayle has degrees from the University of Chicago in Anthropology (AB) and Interdisciplinary Studies of Social Movements (AM) and has great faith that people will work for a healthy environment.