American Rivers announces Dr. Ann Willis as California Regional Director

November 21, 2022

November 21, 2022 

Contact: Marcus Kahn, 626-298-9672 

Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145 

American Rivers announced today that Dr. Ann Willis is joining the organization as its new California Regional Director. Throughout her career she has developed and implemented science-informed strategies to conserve rivers across the state, and incorporate climate change into river management. 

“As a researcher, communicator, and engineer, Ann brings an intimate understanding of California’s rivers and the threats they face. And as a whitewater guide, she brings a special brand of courage and leadership,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Regional Conservation. “We’re at a critical moment right now with rivers in California, and all of these qualities will be essential as we forge solutions for the state’s rivers and people. We are thrilled to welcome Ann to the American Rivers team.” 

Most recently, Dr. Willis was a senior researcher with the U.C. Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. She has also worked as a water resources engineer with Watercourse Engineering, Inc. and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and as a whitewater raft guide. 

On the Klamath River, Willis worked with partners including ranchers, conservation organizations, state and federal agencies, and tribes to develop strategies for salmon recovery and dam removal. Her work on the Sacramento-San Joaquin focused on incorporating climate change and environmental flows into the management of major flood control dams. 

Willis received her Masters and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at U.C. Davis. She has a B.A. in Print Journalism and English Literature and Language from the University of Southern California. 

“Every person who lives, eats, or drinks in California is touched by its rivers,” Dr. Willis said. “More and more, we’re embracing how healthy rivers lead to thriving communities. I’m honored to have the opportunity to develop results-oriented, on-the-ground, sustainable solutions that aligns Californians with the power of its rivers.” 

Willis will start at American Rivers on November 28. She will be based in Woodland, CA. 

About American Rivers  

American Rivers believes a future of clean water and healthy rivers for everyone, everywhere, is essential. Since 1973, we have protected wild rivers, restored damaged rivers, and conserved clean water for people and nature. With headquarters in Washington, DC, and 300,000 supporters, members, and volunteers across the country, we are the most trusted and influential river conservation organization in the United States, delivering solutions for a better future. Because life needs rivers.