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even-brantley1.jpgDr. Eve Brantley, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System water resources specialist and Auburn University assistant professor in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, has been recognized by the Alabama Wildlife Federation as the 2014 Water Conservationist of the Year.

Brantley was recognized for her efforts in building an interdisciplinary approach to watershed restoration, a comparatively new field of environmental management. 

Emphasis on Collaboration to Solve Problems

Bennett Bearden, director of the Water Policy and Law Institute at the University of Alabama, and one of the water industry professionals who nominated Brantley, says her emphasis on collaboration to overcome major public policy and academic obstacles is one of several accomplishments that have distinguished her career. 

 “The emerging field of watershed restoration was criticized for approaching ecosystem enhancement and restoration with an insufficient understanding of systems components and their connections,” Bearden said in nominating Brantley. “She assembled a multidisciplinary team to address some of these challenges.

“What they’ve learned in the course of answering these questions and implementing watershed management projects across Alabama has had profound implications for other southeastern states.”

Natural Channel Design Principles

Brantley has also played a major role generating interest in using natural channel design principles to enhance and restore streams — practices that were not common in Alabama as recently as a decade ago.

She has also worked tirelessly to secure extramural funding to support demonstrations, practices and technical workshops that have led to the widespread adoption of these practices, according to Dr. Gary Lemme, an Alabama Extension director, who also nominated Brantley for the Award.

In the course of her career, Brantley has secured 37 funded grants totaling almost $4 million, which, along with her outreach efforts, have facilitated the restoration of almost 8,000 linear feet of stream as well as the implementation of 20 storm-water practices.

Brantley has also been instrumental in building consensus for the adoption of a new set of storm-water control practices known as Low-Impact Development (LID).  As part of this effort, Brantley secured funding to develop the first Low Impact Development Handbook for Alabama.

Several Alabama communities are updating or revising their local ordinances to reflect recommendations outlined in the Handbook.

Close Working Relationships with All Levels of Government

Brantley is also noted for forging close working relationships with all levels of local and state government, particularly the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the Geological Survey of Alabama and Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  She has also developed close working relationships with a number of NGOs, including the Alabama Rivers Alliance, the Alabama Water Watch Association and numerous watershed groups.

“She believes in partnerships and works closely with numerous public and private entities to develop a positive image for improving Alabama’s abundant water resources,” Lemme said in nominating Brantley.

“A consummate team player, she works with people from many different backgrounds to implement projects and to involve citizens in meaningful dialogue about managing one of this state’s most precious resources.”

Brantley will be formally honored along with other Alabama Wildlife Federation award recipients at the AWF Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards banquet, Aug. 8, in Prattville.

A native of Stone Mountain, Ga., Brantley received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Berry College.  She earned her master’s in Forest Resources from Clemson University and her PH.D in Forestry and Wildlife Sciences from Auburn University.



Michael S. Freeman

7/1/2014 1:25 PM
There's no better person for this award than Dr. Eve Brantley. Dr. Brantley is a remarkable professional determined to leave a legacy of improved waterways and environmental awareness that will last beyond her years at Auburn University and Cooperative Extension.

James E. Hairston

7/15/2014 9:18 AM
Congratulations to Dr. Eve Brantley for this recognition. Nothing that she accomplishes will be a surprise to me. I know her well, and she will bring much recognition to her department and Auburn University in the future before she is done. Life passes on, but good deeds never die.