From one government acronym to another, my time as a policy fellow with the Governor’s Natural Resources Office is over, and I am moving on to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board as the Water Vision Coordinator-sounds cool, huh?
I was initially hired to work with marine policy, but I learned about so much more. Along with helping with the Ocean Policy Advisory Council, the Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Council, and the Rocky Habitats Working Group, I was helped with legislative projects, as well as pesticides, wildfire, and water policy. I was lucky enough to learn an incredible deal about how the policy I learned about in the classroom, is actually applied on the ground. A plan for ocean acidification is great, but we have to be able to pay for it. How do you balance OAH and a carbon cap-and-trade market? Both address climate change, but both require substantial resources to implement. Luckily that wasn’t my job to figure that out, but it is fascinating to be privy to those conversations.
The most fascinating thing I found about my time in the Governor’s Office was the timescale on which things happen. During the 2019 legislative session, conversations about the 2021 budgets were already happening. In the meantime, strategic legislative decisions are made on the quickly, based on the best available information. The long-term planning and quick, savvy decision-making showed me how incredible of a beast government really is (so overwhelming).
My last project with the Governor’s Office, and new job, is the 100-Year Water Vision, and is a text-book example of long-term planning and quick decision making. The goal is to create strategy to invest in Oregon’s water infrastructure, to ensure that there is clean and abundant water for now, and 100-years into the future. To do that that state must first assess what information we have, and what information we need to make big management decisions, while also engaging local communities now, to develop trusting relationships for the future.
Serving Governor Kate Brown, and being a part of the 100-Year Water Vision has been such an honor, and something that I would have never been able to achieve without Sea Grant. The Natural Resources Policy Fellowship has given me the opportunity to learn from experts in virtually every field, from every agency, and witness policy making at the highest state-level.
This fellowship has allowed me to break into the field, and create invaluable connections. Along with jumpstarting my career in natural resources, Sea Grant has provided me with the skills and a support system to grow and thrive into the future. Thank you!