Summer Waters, a Phoenix-based specialist in water and watersheds, is the new leader the Western Lands and Communities program, a partnership initiative focused on shaping growth, sustaining cities, protecting resources, and empowering communities in the Intermountain West.
“Summer’s diverse background in land-use and natural resource planning make her ideally suited to lead our Western Lands and Communities program,” said John Shepard, interim chief executive officer for the Sonoran Institute. “I am especially excited about her experience on water resource issues, which is a growing concern in the arid West and expanding part of our overall program work.”
"Summer Waters will bring significant expertise and energy to this leadership position in our longstanding partnership with the Sonoran Institute, which has been a key focal point for our work on land issues in the West," said George W. McCarthy, president and CEO of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
Since 2008, Waters has worked for the University of Arizona as the Water Resources Extension Agent for Maricopa County, which includes the City of Phoenix. Her programs addressed a broad range of issues related to water, climate, and the environment and received numerous awards including Arizona Forward’s Environmental Stewardship Crescordia and the Arizona State University President’s Award for Sustainability. Summer has also worked in California, for the County of San Diego’s Watershed Protection Program coordinating regional storm water education. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of South Florida, and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
“I am deeply pleased to be selected to lead this unique partnership initiative, and looking forward to working to shape a new West – one that retains the elemental characteristics of an iconic past, yet embraces technologies of the future,” Waters said. “The community-based collaborative approach pioneered by the Sonoran Institute has proven to the most effective way to guide western communities through the challenges of an uncertain future.”
The Western Lands and Communities program focuses on shaping growth, sustaining cities, protecting resources, and empowering communities in the Intermountain West. It addresses these challenges through applied research, tool development, exploring policy linkages between land and related natural resources, and engagement of policy makers.
The Sonoran Institute, a nonprofit organization founded in 1990, inspires and enables community decisions and public policies that respect the land and people of western North America. Western Lands and Communities was led by Jim Holway until February 2014, when he left the position to run for elective office in Arizona. Summer will assume the leadership position starting August, 18, 2014.