Restoring America's Forests
Long-time director of The Nature Conservancy in Oregon, Russ Hoeflich, has been appointed vice president and senior policy advisor of The Nature Conservancy’s Restoring America’s Forests Program.
Portland, OR | July 31, 2014
The Oregon Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced today that Russ Hoeflich, its state director for 27 years, has been tapped by TNC’s national office for a leadership role in the Restoring America’s Forests Program—one of TNC’s priority projects in North America.
As the newly named vice president and senior policy advisor for the Restoring America’s Forests Program, effective September 2014, Hoeflich will join Director Chris Topik in aggressively expanding the program. Topik is based in Washington, D.C. and Hoeflich will be based in Portland. The program focuses on policies and practices that increase the pace, scale and quality of the restoration of U.S. federal forests. Urgent action is needed since at least 80 million acres of federal forestland (nine million in Oregon) need conservation management. In addition to TNC’s national resources, the initiative harnesses the experience, partnerships and political support associated with strong TNC chapter programs across the nation, which will be a key focus of Hoeflich’s charge.
“I reached out to Russ because his superlative career at TNC in Oregon has prepared him for this significant step,” said Mark Burget, TNC’s executive vice president and managing director of the North America conservation region. “His deep connections with the business and conservation community, long-standing and progressive relationships with the forest industry and the U.S. Forest Service, and professional expertise on forest health issues will serve this initiative well.”
Russ Hoeflich’s career with TNC has been entrepreneurial from the beginning. He was selected as the founding director of the South Fork Shelter Island Chapter in New York in 1981. In 1987, he was named director of the Oregon chapter with a staff of 10 in Portland and a budget of $500,000. Today, there are 80 employees in eight offices across the state, supported by a $16 million budget with endowments approaching $30 million.
“Russ Hoeflich’s leadership will be missed. His tenacious focus helped unite the board and staff to build Oregon’s program, which by any measure is one of the strongest in the nation,” said Judi Johansen, chair of the Oregon Chapter board of trustees. “We are all excited for Russ as he takes on his critical new role.”
More than 32,000 members and over 750 volunteers support the Oregon Chapter; more than 505,000 acres and 425 miles of rivers and streams are protected; and 47 nature preserves are managed directly or cooperatively by the chapter.
“It is with understandably mixed emotions that I’ve accepted this appointment. Most of my career has been focused on building the Oregon Chapter, where I have made wonderful friendships among fellow employees, trustees, volunteers and conservation partners,” said Hoeflich. “However, restoring Oregon’s forests has been, among all the rewards surrounding the growth of the Oregon program, the area of greatest personal passion driving my commitment to conservation.”
A past board member of the World Forestry Center, Hoeflich has served on Governor Kitzhaber’s Federal Forest Health Advisory Committee, Global Warming Commission and Biomass Working Group. He has also been tapped by the Oregon legislative leadership to work with a team to map out alternative funding paths to meet the needs of fire-prone forests here in Oregon.
“To have the opportunity at this stage in my career to focus in on and impact the restoration of nearly 200 million acres of our nation’s national forests, especially when the need is so urgent, is remarkable,” Hoeflich added. “It’s an opportunity I am deeply honored to have.”
The Nature Conservancy, with the board of trustees of the Oregon Chapter, will conduct a national search for the next state director, which will engage the full complement of stakeholders at the national, state and local levels.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. 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