State Director, Ohio
Bill Stanley is the state director for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, where he sets strategy and leads a team that protects lands and waters, helps to provide food and water sustainably, connects people and nature, builds healthy cities and works to address climate change.
He believes that it is not only possible to have thriving economies, rich cultural opportunities and preserved natural communities, but that these are mutually supportive. The path to success includes taking more time to listen, and collaborating with businesses, governments and communities.
Previously at the Conservancy, Bill was the assistant state director and Agnes S. Andreae director of conservation for 10 years. Prior to that he directed the Global Climate Change Initiative, where he led forest carbon science research in support of projects that help to eliminate carbon pollution, and also designed approaches to reduce the threats posed by sea level rise, weather variability and climate change. He has been with TNC for 20 years. Before joining the Conservancy he was as an environmental consultant dealing with toxic chemicals and emergency response, working primarily along the U.S. and Mexico border and with Native Americans.
He is a manager, strategist, forest scientist, climate change specialist and collaborator with strong success managing multi-disciplinary teams in order to solve local and global problems. He is most excited by the tangible results he and his teams have achieved over the last 20 years through conservation in forests, freshwater, and agricultural settings. Much of this work was made possible by the innovative, and sometimes pioneering, approaches that he and his team develop to simultaneously meet the needs of governments, businesses, communities and the environment.
Bill holds a BA in environmental science, with a minor in foreign affairs from The University of Virginia and a forest science (MFS) degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Nature and Climate Change Featured in Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
August 2, 2021
A bipartisan infrastructure bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last week includes provisions to support clean energy, improve resilience, invest in natural infrastructure, improve the health of forests, and more.
Ohio Senators Portman and Brown were among 22 lawmakers who negotiated the package, which is expected to receive a vote soon.
“Our lands and waters are as much a part of America’s infrastructure as roads and bridges, and climate action is imperative for our communities,” said Bill Stanley, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio. “This infrastructure bill shows that bipartisan support for investments in nature, clean energy, resilience, and more are seen as shared priorities in achieving a more stable foundation for the future. We need healthy forests, clean water, resilient communities, clean air, and a stable climate – and investing in these things improves our quality of life and creates jobs and economic opportunities. We especially want to thank Sen. Portman for his leadership in the Senate to craft this legislation and believe that the votes of both he and Sen. Brown demonstrate that our elected officials can unite around nature in support of critical natural infrastructure investments to benefit all Ohioans.
According to a recent survey conducted by The Tarrance Group, a Republican strategic research and polling firm, Ohio voters overwhelmingly (85%) support investments to promote efforts to conserve and protect public lands and waterways along with majority support (67%) for investments in technology to reduce and remove carbon emissions. Several provisions included in the infrastructure package align with these views, including:
- $1 billion for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
- $491 million for NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program to protect the safety and well-being of coastal communities while enhancing fish and wildlife habitat
- $60 million for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi and Ohio Rivers Hypoxia zone regions
- Support for the manufacturing of clean energy technologies and deployment of cleaner, lower-emissions manufacturing processes
“We must use this momentum to do even more to meet the scale of our biodiversity and climate crises,” added Kameran Onley, director of North American Policy and Government Relations for TNC.
The bill incorporates many elements of earlier bipartisan efforts from multiple Senate committees, including the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, and the Commerce Committee.
Conservation is a Team Sport: With H2Ohio, Everyone Stands to Win
May 17, 2021
I have been involved in conservation, personally and professionally, for more than 30 years. In that time, I’ve learned that long-term conservation success takes three things: innovative thinking, funding, and, above all, collaboration. It’s a lot like the African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ Whether you are managing a nature preserve, building a recreational trail for people to enjoy, or embarking on a multi-year restoration project, conservation takes teamwork.
The H2Ohio Program is ground-breaking in the way that it recognizes and supports the variety of things that need to be done, and the many different team members needed, to protect Ohio’s waters. In less than two years since its creation, this program has received strong bipartisan support and is showing impressive results, including:
- 40 wetland projects underway or in development that will filter polluted runoff from an estimated 90,000 acres of land. That equates to an area the size of more than 68,000 football fields benefiting from the natural filtration power of wetlands, one of the most effective and cost-efficient long-term solutions to reducing excess phosphorus and nitrogen in our waterways. Wetlands also provide critical habitat and recreational opportunities.
- 1.1 million acres of agricultural lands are enrolled in the H2Ohio program. Management plans are being developed for these lands that utilize science-based best practices for applying fertilizer to fields. These acres account for nearly 44% of the croplands in the Maumee River watershed, which is the largest contributor of runoff that drives harmful algae blooms in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
- 180 home sewage treatment systems have been repaired or replaced and $1.25 million will support lead service line replacements in Ohio childcare centers, creating more equitable access to clean, safe drinking water.
In February, Governor DeWine proposed $240 million for the H2Ohio Program in the 2022-2023 biennial budget bill. We applauded this commitment to Ohio’s water quality. However, in the budget recently passed by the House, Ohio EPA’s allocation was slashed by $72 million and Ohio Department of Agriculture funding was reduced by $20 million. The Senate should reverse these cuts and maintain allocations proposed by the Governor in the budget for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Together, these three agencies are responsible for identifying and funding projects that will lead to better water quality for all Ohioans. Delivering on that promise is not possible if we are unwilling to sustain the investments in their shared success throughout the state.
While we can see the restoration of wetlands and some of H2Ohio’s other results right away, others will be slower. Improving water quality in Lake Erie and across Ohio is a billion-dollar, multi-year problem that requires forward-looking and enduring solutions at a variety of scales. It also requires monitoring and accountability. We appreciate the Governor’s commitment to assessing the program and sharing results regularly. If goals are not met, TNC agrees with others that some additional, practical, regulatory measures may be needed.
But right now H2Ohio is serving up pathways for businesses, environmental groups, and a variety of state agencies to work together and adopt long-lasting solutions that can lead to widespread, systemic change. We believe that this kind of radical and sustained collaboration will make a difference. H2Ohio is just getting started. Tell your state Senator to restore funding levels first proposed by Governor DeWine—it’s a winning formula that puts the people of Ohio first.
Recent News Coverage Including Bill:
- The Columbus Dispatch, 5/17/21: Opinion: Groundbreaking environmental program deserves funding
- The Columbus Dispatch, 5/3/18: Editorial: Save Lake Erie: Set limits on chemical fertilizer
- Toledo Blade, 7/24/18: Key steps being taken to address harmful algal blooms
- Gazette Newspapers, 11/2/17: Nature Conservancy Celebrates Grand Opening of the Dr. James K. Bissell Nature Center
- WCPN Ideastream, 7/25/17: Governor Signs Senate Bill 2 Expanding Ohio EPA Role
- Dayton Daily News, 9/2/16: Ohio Adds Acres to Shawnee State Forest
- Toledo Blade, 3/23/14: Opinion: To Clean Up Lake Erie, Restore Wetlands, Change Farm Practices
- WOSU All Sides with Ann Fisher, 7/15/13: Olentangy River Resuscitation
- Dr. Jeffrey Reutter, Ph.D. and William G. Stanley: Understanding Climate Change and How it Contributes to Nutrient/HAB/Dead Zone Problems in Lake Erie and other Waters
- Carrie Vollmer-Sanders, Andrew Allman, Doug Busdeker, Laura Beal Moody and William G. Stanley. Building partnerships to scale up conservation: 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program in the Lake Erie watershed. Journal of Great Lakes Research. October 2016.
- USDA. Central Appalachians Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Central Appalachians Climate Change Response Framework Project. Co-Author. USFS Northern Research Station General Technical Report NRS-146. February 2015.
- Marc Conte, Erik Nelson, Karen Carney, Cinzia Fissore, Nasser Olwero, Andrew J. Plantinga, Bill Stanley and Taylor Ricketts. Terrestrial carbon sequestration and storage. Chapter 7 in Natural Capital: Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services. Kareiva, Tallis, Ricketts, Daily and Polasky, Editors. Oxford University Press. 2011.
- Bronson Griscom, David Shoch, Bill Stanley, Rane Cortez, Nicole Virgilio. Sensitivity of amounts and distribution of tropical forest carbon credits depending on baseline rules. Environmental Science and Policy. 2009;7:897–911. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2009.07.008. 2009.
- Griscom, Bronson; Ganz, David ; Virgilio, Nicole ; Price, Fran ; Hayward, Jeff ; Cortez, Rane ; Dodge, Gary ; Hurd, Jack ; Lowenstein, Frank L. and Stanley, Bill. The Hidden Frontier of Forest Degradation: Review of the Science, Policy and Practice of Reducing Degradation Emissions. The Nature Conservancy. 2009.
- CCBA. Climate, Community and Biodiversity Project Design Standards (First Edition co-author). CCBA. Washington, DC. May 2005 at www.climate-standards.org
- Stanley, W.G. and F.M. Montagnini. Biomass and nutrient accumulation in pure and mixed plantations of indigenous species grown on poor soils in the humid tropics of Costa Rica. Forest Ecology and Management. 1999.