DRBC Executive Director Carol Collier To Retire In 2014
Delaware River Basin Commission Executive Director Carol R. Collier Thursday announced she will be retiring on March 12, 2014. The public was informed during the executive director's report presented at the commission's business meeting, which was held at the Mount Laurel Campus of Burlington County College.
"I have served as executive director for 15 years and believe that is long enough for the good of the person and the position," Collier said. "It has truly been an honor to serve the basin community."
"Throughout my travels, I have witnessed firsthand that DRBC is seen as the model for effective trans-boundary water management around the world," Collier added.
Ms. Collier was sworn in as the commission's third executive director on August 31, 1998, becoming the first woman to head an interstate-federal compact agency. The first challenge facing her was a multi-year drought which started very soon after she began her DRBC duties.
Reporting to and carrying out the policy directions of the four basin states and the federal government which comprise the DRBC, Collier managed the commission's professional staff consisting of 39 full-time employees. During her 15-year tenure, the list of notable accomplishments achieved by the DRBC included the following:
-- Expanded coverage of the commission's Special Protection Waters (SPW) regulations by permanently adding the 76-mile-long stretch of the Lower Delaware. SPW designation, intended to "Keeping the Clean Water Clean," now includes the entire non-tidal Delaware River from Hancock, N.Y. south to Trenton, N.J.
-- Led efforts to develop the technical basis for PCB total maximum daily loads (TMDLs or "pollution budgets") in the tidal Delaware River/Bay along with the implementation strategy to address point (end-of-pipe) and non-point (runoff) sources of PCBs in this 133-mile-long stretch of water. These efforts included the rule establishing innovative pollutant minimization plan (PMP) requirements, which led to the top ten dischargers that once contributed 90% of the point source PCB loadings into the estuary reducing their loadings by 46 percent since 2005.
-- Completed the Water Resources Plan for the Delaware River Basin in 2004. The "basin plan" is a 30-year goal-based framework that serves as a guide for all governmental and non-governmental stakeholders whose actions affect water resources in the basin.
-- Issued "State of the Basin" reports in 2008 and 2013, which describe current conditions and provide a platform for measuring and reporting future progress.
-- Ten months after the Delaware River Basin Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force was convened by DRBC staff at the direction of the basin state governors, an action agenda with 45 recommendations for a more proactive, sustainable, and systematic approach to flood damage reduction was presented to the governors in July 2007. The task force was formed following three Delaware River floods that occurred between September 2004 and June 2006.
-- Building upon its previous water conservation program accomplishments, the DRBC in 2009 implemented a new water audit approach to identify and control water loss.
A common thread that ran throughout Collier's years as executive director is a belief that DRBC be viewed as having an open mind and an open-door policy. She has been dedicated to finding ways to engage stakeholders and other interested persons in basin issues and problem-solving efforts.
"Before I retire in six months, my hope is that the DRBC will be able to complete a number of actions," Collier said. "These include adoption of the PCB standard and implementation strategy for the Delaware Estuary, progress toward a one discharge permit program, reinstatement of fair share funding from the federal government and New York State, and defining a strategy for natural gas in the basin."
"It will be most difficult leaving the incredible DRBC staff members," Collier added. "They are the most competent and dedicated people I have ever worked with."
Prior to taking the top staff position with DRBC, Collier served as executive director for Pennsylvania's 21st Century Environment Commission at the request of Gov. Tom Ridge and was regional director of the Department of Environmental Protection Southeast Region. Collier also worked 19 years with BCM Environmental Engineers, Inc., where she advanced to the position of Vice President of Environmental Planning, Science, and Risk.
Ms. Collier is currently the national president of the American Water Resources Association, a professional organization dedicated to the advancement of water resources management, research, and education.
Information about the search for a new executive director will be posted on the DRBC’s website as soon as it becomes available.
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