California Department of Natural Resources Secretary Crowfoot Selected as the 2021 ESA Regional Policy Award Winner

July 21, 2021
For Immediate Release

Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205, gro.asenull@nosila


Secretary Wade Crowfoot. Photo courtesy of the California Department of Natural Resources.

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its 14th annual Regional Policy Award to California’s Secretary for the Natural Resources Agency Wade Crowfoot on Monday, Aug. 2, at 10:00 EDT during the 2021 ESA Annual Meeting’s Opening Plenary. The ESA annual award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker whose record reflects the use of ecological science to inform policy decisions. Originally scheduled to take place in Long Beach, the conference moved to an all-virtual format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“ESA is delighted to recognize Secretary Crowfoot this year,” said ESA President Kathleen Weathers. “The Society applauds his commitment to using science in creating nature-based solutions for building water and climate resilience across California.”

The California Natural Resources Agency, led by Secretary Crowfoot oversees and supports more than 26 distinct departments, conservancies, and commissions with over 19,000 Californians to steward California’s natural environment. This includes the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, coast and ocean, fish and wildlife, and energy development. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on natural resources and environmental issues.

Secretary Crowfoot believes good natural resources management helps ecosystems thrive and allows communities and our economy to prosper. His key priorities include building California’s resilience to climate change-driven threats, including wildfire, drought, flooding and sea-level rise; expanding access to parks, natural places and outdoor recreation for all Californians; and preserving California’s world-renowned biodiversity of plants and animals.

“It is an honor to be recognized by ESA for our approach to managing natural resources in California,” said Secretary Crowfoot. “Governor Newsom and our agency are using the best available science to combat climate change, protect our state’s remarkable biodiversity and expand all Californians’ access to the outdoors. We do this by lifting up how nature can help us combat climate change, protect public health and the environment, establish a resilient economy and add value to our own lives.”

Prior to leading the Natural Resources Agency, Secretary Crowfoot served as chief executive officer of the Water Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropy organization that builds shared water solutions across the American West. Before that, Crowfoot served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Governor. He also previously served as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior environmental advisor to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.



The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at

ESA is offering complimentary registration at the 106th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America for press and institutional public information officers (see credential policy). The meeting will feature live plenaries, panels and Q&A sessions from August 2–6, 2021. To apply for press registration, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Heidi Winstead at gro.asenull@idieh.