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Carol A. Couch 

Carol A. Couch is Senior Public Service Associate in the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design, Program in Environmental Planning. Her sixteen-year public service career has combined ecological research with scientific and executive leadership at state, regional and national levels. From 2003 through 2009 she was the Director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and Chairperson of the Georgia Water Council which developed Georgia’s first Statewide Comprehensive Water Resources Conservation and Development Plan. As EPD Director she was responsible for administering 26 state and 4 federal laws to protect, conserve or restore Georgia’s air, land and water resources. These responsibilities included implementing Georgia’s Drought Response Plan and directing the Interagency Drought Emergency Response Team. From 1992-2002, she was a member of the United States Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Interior, serving as Southeastern Regional Biologist and as Chief of Ecological Synthesis for the National Water Quality Assessment Program.

Awards and recognitions include the Superior Service Award of the U.S. Department of Interior, the Ivan Allen Legacy Award for Civic Leadership from Georgia Tech, and recognition in 2008 and 2009 by Georgia Trend as one the 100 most influential Georgians.

Carol Couch currently serves as the Chairperson of the Governor’s Georgia-South Carolina Savannah River Advisory Team, and on the Executive Council of the NOAA National Integrated Drought Information System. She teaches landscape ecology and interacts with planners and designers as the “ecologist at the design table” in the creation or regeneration of resilient landscapes and watersheds. Her current focus is the development of ecologically-based climate change vulnerability and risk assessment tools for local government application. She earned a PhD in Ecology from the University of Georgia, a MS from the University of South Carolina and a BS from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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