Our People

Karen Johnson

Director of Wetland and Stream Mitigation, Virginia

Richmond, VA

Karen Johnson headshot.

Karen Johnson Karen is the Director of Wetland and Stream Mitigation for The Nature Conservancy in Virginia. © Karen Johnson

Areas of Expertise

Wetland and stream restoration, conservation science, mitigation policy, land conservation

Media Contact

Chelsea Bowers


Karen leads the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (VARTF), a mitigation program that offsets impacts to stream and wetland resources throughout Virginia, using TNC science and priority setting to pursue projects in ecologically significant areas. The program is self-funded, allowing TNC conservation dollars to go further, because the work is sustained through other sources.

The VARTF identifies, develops, implements and monitors restoration and protection projects with outcomes measured in number of projects—including the number of acres added to public lands and wetland acres protected, restored and enhanced—feet and miles of stream resources protected, restored and enhanced, and mitigation dollars directed towards priority landscapes.

Since joining TNC in 2005, Karen has been able to see projects take degraded lands—bare and raw—and transform them into stable, diverse and healthy habitats that thrive and succeed beyond the requirements to become fully functioning wetland or stream ecosystems. It's a unique opportunity to take impacted sites and rehabilitate them into stunning examples of nature’s beauty.

Karen has a master of science degree in environmental studies from the University of Charleston and a bachelor of science degree in biology and marine biology from the College of Charleston.

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