Joe Whitworth
President + CEO

Conservation has hit a wall.

Traditional tactics used over the last quarter century are proving inadequate against the demands placed on our freshwater ecosystems.

Right now, more than half our nation’s waters are impaired. While we have all the ingredients for success: willing landowners, well-intended agencies, capable locals and millions of dollars of annual investment, we are not gaining ground at the pace and scale that’s desperately needed.

Ensuring a future with clean, healthy rivers requires understanding the impact we’re having and being adamant about tracking and achieving results. The Freshwater Trust is focused on outcome-based conservation. We use 21st century tools and technologies that ensure every restoration action is indeed linked to a net positive for the environment. Our goal is to move conservation from process to precision. From well-meaning measures to hard and fast measurement. From intention to innovation.

Now is the time for us all to become the innovators and change makers of our environment, of our economy, of our era. We can be the ones to find the solutions that work. We must be the ones to make them real.

History tells us that every generation makes era-appropriate decisions – and now is the time to make ours. We’ve kicked the can down the road long enough. James Jannard, the founder of Oakley, once said something that applies here:

“Everything in the world can and will be made better. The only questions are when… and by whom.”

To this challenge, I answer:

Now, and by us.

Joe Whitworth


Joe has been responsible for strategic direction of The Freshwater Trust for more than a decade, growing the organization’s budget tenfold during that time. He is focused on the next generation of conservation tools at the intersection of technology and finance to get results on the ground. In addition to formal advisory roles in B Corp, foundation and government settings, he is a patented inventor, author of the book “Quantified: Redefining Conservation for the Next Economy” published by Island Press and has served as founding board chair of the Council for Responsible Sport. Joe has also served as a guest lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Lewis & Clark College with an emphasis in natural resources and water law.

Check out Joe Whitworth’s keynote address at WEFTEC in New Orleans on September 26, 2016.

The Water Environment Federation is a nonprofit technical and educational organization of 33,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. WEFTEC® is the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference.