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Media Contacts

Jeff Opperman, Ph.D.

Lead Scientist, Great Rivers Partnership

Jeff Opperman, Ph.D., lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s Great Rivers Partnership, has been working to protect rivers and lakes for nearly 15 years. He has provided strategic and scientific guidance to freshwater conservation projects across the United States as well as in China, Africa and Latin America. Through scientific research, collaborations and technical support to field projects, Jeff focuses on improving the environmental sustainability of hydropower and protecting and restoring river-floodplain ecosystems.

Read Jeff Opperman, Ph.D.'s Full Biography

Jeff in the News

BBC World Service: Science in Action

Jeff talks to the BBC about his paper in Science urging changes in the way the world manages floodplains.

Jeff on the Blog


Select Publications:

Opperman, J. J., R. Luster, B. A. McKenney, M. Roberts, and A. W. Meadows. 2010. Ecologically functional floodplains: connectivity, flow regime, and scale. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 46: 211-226.
Esselman, P. and J. J. Opperman. 2010. Overcoming information limitations for developing an environmental flow prescription for a Central American River. Ecology and Society 15 (1) article 6;

Opperman JJ, Galloway GE, Fargione J, Mount JF, Richter BD, Secchi S. 2009. Sustainable floodplains through large-scale reconnection to rivers. Science 326: 1487-1488.
Opperman, J. J. 2009. In the beginning: a river on fire; blaze on the Cuyahoga marked start of an era that needs to be celebrated.  Op-ed piece in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 21, 2009.
Opperman, J., J. Mount, and P. Moyle. 2004. The rivers tell us how to reduce the flood peril. Op-ed piece in the Sacramento Bee, April 25, 2004.

Jeff Opperman, senior freshwater scientist, has been working to protect rivers and lakes for nearly 15 years.  He has provided strategic and scientific guidance to freshwater conservation projects across the United States as well as in China, Africa and Latin America

In his role at The Nature Conservancy much of Jeff’s focus is on improving the environmental sustainability of hydropower both by advancing sound policies and by supporting on-the-ground projects.

He is a member of the governing board of the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI), which certifies “environmentally preferable” hydropower and recently served on an Independent Review Panel that provided recommendations for floodplain management to California’s Department of Water Resources.   

Jeff earned his B.S. in Biology from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Ecosystem Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He then studied floodplain ecology during a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Davis. His scientific and policy research has been published in journals such as Science, BioScience and Ecological Applications. Jeff strives to communicate the challenges and opportunities of protecting fresh water through op-eds, articles and blog posts in such places as The New York Times, Outside, Grist, and The Guardian


Geraldine Henrich-Koenis
Director of Media Relations
Phone: 703-841-3939

Connect with Jeff

Follow Jeff on Twitter

Read Jeff's latest posts on Grist

Areas of Expertise
  • Freshwater ecology
  • River restoration
  • Floodplain ecology and flood-risk management
  • Reducing environmental impacts of hydropower
“Rivers connect people to nature in the most fundamental ways: economically, culturally, and spiritually. But these connections are increasingly frayed or threatened by the demands we place on our rivers. Restoring and protecting these connections while meeting growing needs for water and energy is one of the great challenges of our time.”

— Jeff Opperman, senior freshwater scientist, The Nature Conservancy

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