Esther Lev
The Wetlands Conservancy
Portland, Oregon

For nearly 30 years, Esther Lev has worked tirelessly to protect wetlands across the state of Oregon. Esther first became involved in wetland issues in the late 1980s, when she drew the attention of regulators and the public to the importance of critical wetlands that were proposed for development. Her work led to the protection of the West Eugene Wetlands, a nearly 3,000-acre complex of wetlands and associated uplands. As executive director of The Wetlands Conservancy, Esther has established the organization as the leading voice for Oregon's greatest wetlands, promoting conservation, collaboration, and stewardship. Under Esther’s leadership, a network of more than 1,700 acres of wetland systems has been successfully protected in Oregon. Esther also led the creation of the Oregon Wetland Explorer, a central location for wetlands-related data and other information to support conservation and restoration of wetland resources throughout Oregon. She has used the information to improve state wetland regulations and mitigation banking rules and outcomes. In addition, Esther has worked to build the public’s understanding of the role wetlands play in their everyday lives. This includes writing two books, as well as partnering with local restaurants and grocery stores to promote the connection between local seafood and the health of Oregon estuaries.