As state director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas, Laura Huffman heads a statewide team of scientists, conservation experts and support staff whose work protects the integrity of Texas’ natural resources and some of its most iconic landscapes. She has authored over 30 articles and op-ed pieces on a variety of conservation topics, including drought, water scarcity and Gulf of Mexico protection, and emerged as a national thought leader in the wake of the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. She advocated tirelessly on behalf of the RESTORE Act and succeeded in connecting a diverse coalition of stakeholders around a central idea: that a healthy Gulf of Mexico is vital to America’s success and Texas can be an incubator for best practices in marine science.
Huffman also leads the Conservancy’s North American Urban Conservation program, designed to support cities as they integrate natural infrastructure into planning and development in ways that safeguard people and reduce vulnerability to climate change. In this role, she represented the Conservancy at the June 2013 United States Conference of Mayors convention, as well as the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative America summer meeting. On behalf of CGI, she became an active member of an ongoing work group focused on innovative financing for city infrastructure.
Huffman has worked closely with Texas legislators to draft legislation with far-reaching ramifications for water conservation and spearheaded the expansion of water protection funds for Austin, San Antonio and surrounding counties. These citizen-approved funds have generated more than half a billion dollars to protect water in two of the fastest growing cities in the country, and emerged as a proven best practice for cities needing a practical, customizable way to protect water quality and quantity.
A native of Austin, Huffman has been in public service for more than 20 years; prior to The Nature Conservancy, she served as deputy city manager for the city of San Marcos and assistant city manager for the city of Austin.
Articles and Op-Eds
Top 5 Natural Places to Visit in Texas (Care2, March 29, 2014)
Oysters: Delicious and Invaluable (Care2, January 16, 2014)
Huffman: Stability in our Supply of Water is Key for New Growth (Houston Chronicle, September 28, 2013)
More People, More Problems: Future-proofing our Cities (big think, August 9, 2013)
Huffman: Nature's Canopy is Vital to Houston Region (Houston Chronicle, July 14, 2013)
Huffman: Cooperation will Secure Texas' Water Future (Austin American-Statesman, June 14, 2013)
What Cities Need (Care2, March 21, 2013)
Urban Strategies for a Changing Country (Care2, January 17, 2013)
A Smarter Way to Rebuild After Hurricanes (Care2, December 20, 2012)
Tackle the Water Crisis (Texas Weekly, December 11, 2012)
Water Conservation: The Tyranny of "Or" (Care2, October 18, 2012)
Urban Conservation: The Key to Our Future (Care2, September 20, 2012)
Groundwater Use Should Balance Rights and Needs (The Austin American-Statesman, March 11, 2012)
Protecting Gulf of Mexico Critical for our Future (San Antonio Express-News, February 29, 2012)
Protection Efforts Will Help us out in Future Droughts (The Austin American-Statesman, August 17, 2011)
Legislature Makes Progress in Protecting Natural Resources (San Antonio Express-News, June 15, 2011)
You Break It You Fix It: Gulf Fines Should Go Back to the Gulf (Houston Chronicle, April 16, 2011)
The Gulf's Hope is in Texas After the Oil Spill (Houston Chronicle, June 5, 2010)
Water Protection is a Wise Investment (San Antonio Express-News)
TribLive: Huffman on Water and the Legislature (The Texas Tribune, April 22, 2013)
Natural Leader Laura Huffman Nurtures The Nature Conservancy (Austin American-Statesman, June 2014)
The Water's Keeper (Austin Woman Magazine, April 2012)
Catching Up With Laura Huffman (Continental Magazine, September 2010)