Kent Nelson

Salton Sea Restoration Plan/Species Conservation Habitat Project
Kent Nelson is the Program Manager for the CA Department of Water Resources’ Salton Sea Restoration Program. Kent has a 20-year history with DWR working on complex environmental issues related to the management and restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, endangered species protection in California’s Central Valley, and flood control and agricultural protection along the State’s vast floodway system. None of this however could have possibly prepared him for the unique ecological challenges facing California’s Salton Sea.

Kent is responsible for overseeing the development of the Species Conservation Habitat Project, a pilot project that will create hundreds of acres of shallow ponds at the sound end of the Salton Sea. Kent has a strong interest in finding common ground with the various stakeholder groups in the Salton Sea region so that a solution to conserving the Salton Sea may be achieved.

Kent received his education at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of California at Davis where his fields of study were wildlife and fisheries biology and ecology. Previous to his work with DWR, Kent gained diverse experience working for the US Forest Service at Lake Tahoe on habitat conservation and restoration programs; for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Sacramento evaluating Army Corps of Engineers Section 404/10 permits; and for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission supporting the environmental review process for the Hetch Hetchy water system improvement program.

In 2008 Kent took a break from government service and joined forces with four friends to establish an ecologically-minded residential community in the coastal jungle of Costa Rica. This project enabled Kent to apply his professional planning Previous to his work with DWR, Kent gained and environmental conservation skills to a challenging project in a foreign country. After two and a half years in Costa Rica, Kent gained a whole new appreciation of project management….and learned a little Spanish along the way.

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