New Haven, Conn. – Save the Sound has welcomed internationally-recognized restoration expert Laura Wildman to the team as the Regional Director of Ecological Restoration. Laura is leading our Ecological Restoration Program, representing the team at the organization’s executive level. She will work with the team’s project managers to provide leadership, support, and oversight of Save the Sound’s entire habitat restoration, green infrastructure, and resiliency project portfolio across Connecticut, Westchester County, the Bronx, Queens, and Long Island. Laura will be creating critical partnerships and helping to advance the Long Island Sound River Restoration Network to develop additional regional capacity for ecological restoration within the Long Island Sound watershed.
Laura comes to Save the Sound with decades of experience in fisheries and water resources as well as river and habitat restoration. Her expertise and passion center on the restoration of rivers through the re-establishment of natural functions and aquatic connectivity to benefit both native wildlife and connection to local communities. Her work is well known across the U.S. and globally as she regularly lectures, instructs, and publishes on river barrier removals and fish passage techniques with features in textbooks, magazines, and documentaries around the world. Laura holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Vermont and a M.S. in Environmental Management from Yale.
“I am very excited to be back in the nonprofit world and to be using the experience I have to focus on the big goal of keeping our Sound clean and its rivers thriving,” says Wildman. “It has always been a pleasure working with Save the Sound as a partner in dam removals and ecological restoration design projects, so I knew I would be joining an impressive and welcoming team here.”
Exemplifying the global reach of Laura’s expertise, she recently presented on dam removal in Austria as part of a two-day workshop called Kamp Days. The Kamp River is a tributary to the Danube, and local advocates are promoting the removal of a dam on an otherwise ecologically pristine reach of the river where they also hope to establish a National Park.
Now, Laura has settled into the first few weeks at Save the Sound and has already jumped into many dynamic projects in our region.
“I am particularly excited about our living shoreline projects in Douglas Manor in Queens, NY and in Chittenden Park in Guilford, CT. It’s satisfying seeing those projects at this stage, envisioning their completion in the next couple of years, and looking towards the decades of ecological and resiliency benefits they’ll bring to surrounding communities,” she says.
The ecological restoration team works with a broad range of practices, including dam removals and other aquatic connectivity projects, living shoreline implementation, marsh restoration, fish migration tracking, coastal and river cleanup, and green infrastructure installation.
“Save the Sound provides a critical watchdog role within the Long Island Sound watershed and joins that deeper understanding of the system with the ability to get on-the-ground restoration projects completed. That combination of strengths is what attracted me to this organization,” says Wildman. “They are an environmental powerhouse in the region, and I am very proud to have joined this team.” Follow the progress of our projects and see Laura in action on our social media channels and on our website at www.savethesound.org.