The Nature Conservancy announced the hiring of 38-year-old Bruce McKenney as ecosystems services project director of its Great Rivers Partnership (GRP) today. McKenney’s work will focus on demonstrating the economic and ecological value of freshwater habitats and exploring market-based conservation strategies.
In his capacity as ecosystem services project director, McKenney will lead the Conservancy’s efforts to assess the ecological services provided by river systems in three countries – the Yangtze River in China, the Paraguay and Paraná rivers in Brazil and the Mississippi River in the United States. Examples of ecological services that great rivers provide include reducing the effect of flooding on homes, property and human lives and providing clean drinking water and food crops. McKenney will also look at possible economic incentives available to help conserve major river systems.
Michael Reuter, director of the Great Rivers Partnership, said McKenney’s experience in valuing ecosystem services, understanding the connections between poverty and conservation and determining market mechanisms to advance conservation make him a great addition to the GRP.
“Our goal is to help ensure that the world’s major river systems sustain their rich collection of native plants and animals but we have to demonstrate why these freshwater systems are also essential to human well-being,” Reuter said. “Bruce will provide us with the kind of information we need to work with different partners so that these valuable natural resources are conserved.”
McKenney’s career includes 15 years of experience working for private consulting firms, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions analyzing the effects of environmental policy and projects on people. He’s done work on behalf of the World Bank, World Commission on Dams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, World Wildlife Fund and the Upper Mississippi River Coordinating Committee.
“The Conservancy has an excellent reputation and is very effective at achieving its goals,” McKenney said. “I’m impressed by the Conservancy’s ever-increasing international efforts and the way the GRP is guiding the conservation of select major river systems. It’s a great time to get involved.”
McKenney will work out of the Conservancy’s office in San Francisco, Calif. He will be a key part of the Great Rivers Center for Conservation and Learning, a virtual science center established by the GRP to house and share important data on the world’s major river systems.
McKenney resides in Oakland, Calif. with his wife, Nancy Hopkins, and their two children, Evelyn, 5, and Owen, 2.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.