New Director of Conservation in Arizona

Holly Richter takes on a new role with The Nature Conservancy in Arizona

Phoenix, AZ | August 24, 2011

One of Arizona’s leading conservation professionals is taking on a new role: Holly Richter is the new Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. In this position, Richter will oversee all aspects of community-based conservation, land and water protection, land stewardship and restoration, and preserve maNew Arizona Conservation Science Director Holly Richternagement in the state.

Richter has been making a difference through conservation for more than 20 years, with much of her work focused on water and Arizona’s flowing rivers. Richter began working for the Conservancy along the Hassayampa River in 1987. Since 2000, Richter has served as the Upper San Pedro River Program Director. Her efforts along the river in southern Arizona have served to link strong science with policy and decision-making by bringing people together to find creative water management solutions that benefit both people and nature.

“We’re thrilled to have Holly on board in this role,” says Patrick Graham, the Conservancy’s Arizona state director. “She is a recognized leader, with a wealth of experience and passion to match.”

Richter served as chair for the Technical Committee of the Upper San Pedro Partnership, a group of 21 organizations working together to meet the long-term water needs of the Sierra Vista region from 2000-2007. In 2008, she accepted the leadership role with Partnership’s Executive Committee. During that time, Richter engaged with partners from all sectors, and internationally, to explore common ground approaches for addressing complex water management challenges. The Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture have recognized the Partnership’s conservation efforts with national honors.

In 1999, she launched the San Pedro wet/dry mapping with a few dozen volunteers. The annual mapping event continues today, and produces vital information used by federal land managers, academic researchers, and private landowners to assess the flow patterns of the river in both the U.S. and Mexico. Today, it’s a massive coordination effort that spans two countries, over 220 miles of the river and its tributaries, and engages hundreds of volunteers.

“Getting volunteers involved in conservation and bringing together partners inspires me,” says Richter. “No one group can do this alone. Collaboration and science for solutions are key to conservation here in Arizona.”

Richter replaces Tom Collazo, who was one of the Conservancy’s first employees in Arizona, and worked his way up to director of conservation. “Tom has left a lasting mark on the Conservancy and the entire state of Arizona. Under Tom’s leadership, important lands and waters have been conserved for generations to come,” adds Graham. Collazo begins his retirement in September.


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

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Tracey Kiest

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