Our People

Sara J. Gottlieb

Director of Freshwater Science & Strategy, The Nature Conservancy, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Headshot, Sara Gottlieb

Sara Gottlieb Sara Gottlieb, Director of Freshwater Science & Strategy, The Nature Conservancy, Georgia. © Cara Byington / The Nature Conservancy

Areas of Expertise

freshwater conservation, aquatic connectivity, conservation planning, fisheries, GIS

Media Contact

Marlena Reed




Sara is the Director of Freshwater Science & Strategy for the Georgia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She has been with the Chapter since 2007, initially as Conservation Information Manager focused on providing GIS capability for the Chapter’s conservation activities throughout the state. She has provided conservation planning support to projects in Georgia and throughout the Southeast using the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation.

Sara is the North America Eastern Division Franchise Co-Lead for the Conservation Coaches Network and Co-Lead of the Georgia Aquatic Connectivity Team. Sara is currently focused on freshwater projects in priority watersheds to improve habitat for the outstanding aquatic biodiversity found in Georgia’s rivers and streams while balancing the needs of human communities for resilient water supplies and floodplains. From 1999-2005, she was a Principal Investigator and data manager on multiple projects to monitor federally endangered species of fish in the Rio Grande in New Mexico and San Juan River in Colorado and Utah.

During graduate school, Sara was a National Sea Grant College Marine Policy Fellow in the Office of Congressman Steven LaTourette of Ohio where she helped to coordinate the bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force. Sara holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from The College of William and Mary in Virginia and a M.S. in Marine-Estuarine Environmental Sciences from The University of Maryland at College Park.  

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Schwartz, M.W., Belhabib, D., Biggs, D., Cook, C., Fitzsimons J., Giordano, A.J., Glew, L., Gottlieb, S., Kattan, G., Knight, A.T., Lundquist, C.J., Lynam, A.J., Masuda, Y., Mwampamba, T.H., Nuno A., Plumptre, A.J., Ray, J.C., Reddy, S.M., and Runge, M.C. 2018. A vision for documenting and sharing knowledge in conservation. Conservation Science and Practice: Opening Editorial, published online 19 Nov 2018. https://doi.org/10.1002/csp2.1


Montambault, J.R., M. Dormer, J. Campbell, N. Rana, S. Gottlieb, J. Legge, D. Davis, and M. Chakaki. 2017. Social equity and urban nature conservation. Conservation Letters, 11(3): e12423 https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12423    


Owens, K., and S. Gottlieb. 2013. Encouraging a watershed-based approach to mitigation planning in the Etowah River watershed. National Wetlands Newsletter 35(1): 22-24.


Bostrom, A., S.P. French and S.J. Gottlieb, Editors. 2008. Risk Assessment, Modeling and Decision Support: Strategic Directions. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.


S. Gottlieb. 2001. Appendix 2. Resources for Performing Great Lakes Environmental Evaluations, pp. 199-204 In: The Northeast-Midwest Institute and The National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration. Revealing the Economic Value of Protecting the Great Lakes. Washington DC.

S. Gottlieb. 2001. Appendix 3. Resources for Economic Valuation of Environmental Benefit Studies, pp. 205-234 In: The Northeast-Midwest Institute and The National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration. Revealing the Economic Value of Protecting the Great Lakes. Washington DC.


S.J. Gottlieb. 1998. The ecological role of Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrranus) in Chesapeake Bay and Implications for management of the fishery. Master's thesis, University of Maryland. 120 p.

Costanza, R. and S. Gottlieb. 1998. Modelling ecological and economic systems with STELLA: Part II. Introduction to Special Issue, Ecological Modelling 112: 8184.
Gottlieb, S.J. 1998. Nutrient removal by age-0 Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrranus) in Chesapeake Bay and implications for seasonal management of the fishery. Ecological Modeling, 112: 111130 (special issue edited by R. Costanza and S. Gottlieb).

Wasserman, D., M. Womerseley, and S.J. Gottlieb. 1998. Can a Sense of Place Be Preserved? Philosophy and Geography Vol. III: Philosophies of Place: 191213.


Gottlieb, S. J. and M. E. Schweighofer. 1996. Oysters and the Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem: A Case for Exotic Species Introduction to Improve Environmental Quality? Estuaries. 19(3): 639-650.