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Carol Collier Joins Academy of Natural Sciences

March 25, 2014

Carol R. Collier
Carol R. Collier joins the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University after more than 15 years leading the Delaware River Basin Commission.

Carol R. Collier, an experienced leader in regional watershed management and planning, has joined the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University as its Senior Advisor for Watershed Management and Policy. Collier recently retired as Executive Director of the Delaware River Basin Commission, a position she held for more than 15 years.

At the Academy, Collier will hold an active leadership role supporting the work of the Patrick Center for Environmental Research in monitoring and improving the health of watersheds in the Delaware River Basin. She will act as the principal liaison for outreach and program development to partners and high level contacts in government, business, non-governmental organizations and funding organizations.  A major focus for Collier is her role in the Academy’s watershed protection research.

“Bringing Carol to the Academy reaffirms our role as a center for thought and action around water science and management,” said Academy President and CEO George W. Gephart, Jr. “We look forward to the new relationships and resources that will develop as she facilitates the many interactions of our watershed team with organizations and government agencies.”

The Academy has a history of more than 70 years of national leadership in using science to inform the protection of environmental quality in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The Academy’s watershed research uses field and laboratory studies to analyze and simulate the functioning of marine and freshwater aquatic systems, integrating mapping with hydrological, biogeochemical, ecological and other methods of measurement and analysis at multiple spatial scales.

“I hope that through my role at the Academy, I can help the basin community understand the need to plan for sustainable future water resources and work with them so their communities are more resilient to change,” said Collier. “There are many overlapping challenges to the Delaware River Basin that need to be addressed. These include population changes, increased water use, and the potential for natural gas development in the headwaters. On top of these issues there is the need to ensure adequate instream flows for aquatic communities and account for impacts of climate change—more intense storms, potential summer droughts and sea level rise. Planning for these impacts is best done at the basin scale, but implementation of solutions will likely occur at the watershed and local government levels.”

Collier brings to her role decades of leadership experience in environmental protection and planning. As executive director of the DRBC from August 1998 to March 2014, Collier led the four-state and federal commission providing a unified approach to water resource management without regard to political boundaries. During her years of leadership at DRBC, the commission expanded coverage of Special Protection Waters regulations; led efforts to address PCB pollution in the tidal Delaware River and Bay; completed the Water Resources Plan for the Delaware River Basin in 2004, that provides a 30-year framework of goals guiding governmental and non-governmental stakeholders whose actions affect water resources in the basin; and achieved numerous other improvements in water conservation and watershed protection.

Collier previously served as executive director of Pennsylvania’s 21st Century Environment Commission and as regional director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Southeast Region. Prior to PADEP, she served 19 years with BCM Environmental Engineers, Inc., ultimately in the role of vice president of environmental planning, science and risk.

Collier is a professional planner licensed in the state of New Jersey, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a certified senior ecologist. She is a member of the boards of the American Water Resources Association (of which she was president last year) and the U.S. Water Alliance and is a recent past chair of the Board for the Pinchot Institute for Conservation.

“I am very excited to be joining the Academy of Natural Sciences team,” said Collier. “My mentor and the reason I chose the path of water resources management was Dr. Ruth Patrick, a lead researcher at the Academy and for whom the Patrick Center is named. During graduate school at University of Pennsylvania, I spent most of my time at the Academy, so this will be going back to my roots. The Academy has an incredible team of aquatic researchers and I am humbled to be joining the team.”

Collier will be a presenter at the free Ruth Patrick Memorial Symposium at the Academy on April 22. For details: