Nancy SteeleExecutive Director

Nancy is an executive manager with over twenty-five years of environmental management and research experience, using the tools of science and policy to catalyze change towards a more sustainable future. Prior to joining Friends of the Verde River, Nancy was the Executive Director of the Council for Watershed Health in Los Angeles. While at CWH, Nancy managed a long-term research and demonstration program to augment water supplies through increasing the ability of cities to infiltrate stormwater to augment groundwater supplies; built the Elmer Avenue Neighborhood Demonstration Project, a retrofit of a residential neighborhood to increase stormwater infiltration and improve quality of life; monitored the health of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers; mapped and removed invasive species from the rivers; created and hosted a program of regular public events; organized an international conference on adaptation to climate change; and developed a variety of outreach materials on everything from fire safety to invasive weed management to sustainable landscaping.

In addition to leading a watershed organization, Nancy has worked in various California environmental and health agencies, focusing on the environmental and health impacts of pollution, including controlling diesel emissions from heavy-duty trucks and buses and reducing lead poisoning. She has served on several environmental, research, and community boards, including most recently the Marine Conservation Research Institute and the Infrastructure Funding Alliance, where she was also the Interim Executive Director. Nancy co-founded the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy in 2000, serving as President/CEO through 2011 and as Director of Conservation in 2017. Nancy is a fellow of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation and a Stanton Fellow of the Durfee Foundation.

Nancy earned her doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering from University of California, Los Angeles, where her dissertation involved research on the environmental impacts of recycling electric vehicle batteries. She received her M.S. in zoology from Arizona State University; and her A.B. in biology from Occidental College. Nancy was born and raised in Phoenix and loves being outdoors, especially in the southwest. She and her husband have two adult children; their daughter lives in Los Angeles and their son lives in Mesa, along with his wife and two children. Nancy and her husband have operated an urban beekeeping business for 40 years.

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