Carrie Leonard

Carrie 2Carrie is currently leading the Science and Analysis team at The Freshwater Trust, which is pioneering the next generation of conservation by shifting from process-based restoration to outcome-based restoration. Like all conservation groups, they traditionally evaluated and reported on projects in terms of dollars spent, trees planted, gallons of water restored in stream or acres of floodplain reconnected – what they did.  Using new and emerging tools for calculating the ecological uplift of restoration projects, they are now advancing a new way to measure the outcomes of restoration work instead – what the project achieved. The science team evaluates the available models for quantifying actions, collaborates with the regulators and regulatees on practical implementation protocols for these tools, and enables municipalities to spend their compliance budgets on restoration solutions rather than engineered solutions.

Here is an example, from Carrie, of the work she does: If our objective is to lower water temperature, we don’t just count the number of trees planted—we calculate the benefit of tree planting by quantifying the solar heat that will be blocked by those trees at maturity in terms of kilocalories per day of solar load avoided on a given stream. This quantified conservation approach gives stakeholders a more robust picture of a project’s value.

carrie_leonard_bikeCarrie has been a member of ESWN since 2011.  Carrie has a BS in Physical Oceanography from Humboldt State University and a PhD in Oceanography from the University of Maryland.  In the past three years, Carrie has leveraged the experience of other members of ESWN to branch out from oceanography to freshwater science and to refine the language she uses when communicating with various audiences.  ESWN was critical in pointing her to job opportunities and in preparing her application packages.  In return, Carrie continues to be a voice from the non-academic side of science.  Carrie advocates for scientists to open their eyes to the contributions they can make to science and to community with their educational backgrounds and personal interests and not accept academic positions as the default norm.  Carrie has the unique perspective of having worked in academia, the private sector and at a non-profit.  Read more about Carrie’s career path in an interview on Nature Jobs.

Carrie is an active cyclist and runner as well as the parent of two teens, the wife of an urban farmer, and pack leader to a rescue dog.  She continues to be grateful for a city (Portland, OR) and a job that lets her combine her joy of riding her bike with her daily commute.