Stephen Gatewood
The Nature Conservancy
Kissimmee, Florida

Since October 1991, Steve Gatewood has spearheaded development of The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve, a landmark mitigation project that will result in the protection of more than 11,500 acres of prime central Florida wetlands and surrounding uplands. He currently serves as Director of the project, developing and guiding state-of-the-art restoration and land management activities. Steve heads restoration of the Preserve’s natural wetland systems. Addressing wetlands restoration in the context of adjacent uplands makes the project a national model for large-scale, off-site mitigation for development impacts to wetlands and listed species. Steve also supervises a watershed conservation study to identify areas in need of restoration or protection and to integrate human activities in compatible ways.

In addition to establishing and managing the Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Steve has served as chairman of the council that developed Florida’s non-game wildlife program, as a staff member of the Lake Okeechobee and Kissimmee River restoration programs, and as the governor-appointed chairman of the committee that developed and recommended changes to Florida’s wetlands jurisdiction rules. He most recently served as The Conservancy’s Protection Ecologist for Florida and has been assuming a greater role in developing large-scale mitigation projects throughout the state. Steve’s work has made him familiar with practically every part of Florida. Evaluating natural areas and designing protection programs has given him a wealth of understanding of the subtleties of Florida’s ecology and its protection, while serving on numerous conservation committees and councils has helped him contribute to the necessary infrastructure for its protection.

— Marlene Cole, Monica Folk, and Lisa Thomson, The Nature Conservancy