Judy Haner is the Marine and Freshwater Programs Director for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama, where she oversees marine, estuarine and freshwater restoration, coastal ecology, regional conservation efforts and linking communities with resources.
She joined the Conservancy in 2010, just months before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now a key member of The Nature Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico team, Judy has spent countless hours focused on post-spill recovery and long-term restoration efforts in Mobile Bay and the larger Gulf region. She helped conceptualize and initiate the “100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama” project to build 100 miles of oyster reefs (essential to shoreline protection and wildlife habitat) and enhance 1,000 acres of coastal marsh and seagrass. With public and private funding, The Nature Conservancy and its partners installed the first ¼ mile of reef in early 2011 with the help of public agencies, private partners and more than 500 volunteers from across the country.
Judy has worked for 20 years with state agencies from Puerto Rico to Florida to Alaska in partnership with NOAA, linking watershed activities with estuarine health to implement long-term coastal, estuarine and marine restoration. From managing the 375,000 acre Kachemak Bay Research Reserve – the largest NERR in the national system – to developing restoration plans and leading outreach efforts for Everglades Restoration, Judy has secured more than $11M in competitive grants to implement coastal planning and restoration projects that link science and management with on-the-ground actions and communities.
Judy received a master’s degree from the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where she worked on crustacean population dynamics and studied the impacts of water quality on molting blue crabs. She has a dual major B.S. in biology and chemistry from Lynchburg College in Virginia and has previous experience in watershed management, habitat and hydrologic restoration, and management planning.
When not at work, Judy is usually on her boat with her husband and 2 dogs, fishing, diving and swimming along the Gulf coast.