Lynda Saul
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Helena, Montana

Lynda A. Saul’s passion for wetlands and wild places began as a child exploring ponds and local creeks in southern Ohio. She earned her B.S. in Geology from Tulane University in 1983, and her M.S. in Forestry from the University of Montana in 1987. Since then, she has dedicated herself to protecting Montana’s vast biodiversity by developing and overseeing environmental initiatives in state government. She became the state’s first Wetland Coordinator in 1997, and its Wetlands Program Manager in 2005.

To build stakeholder involvement in wetland protection, Ms. Saul established a Wetland Council to share research, exchange information, create partnerships, and promote cooperative management. The Council has over 400 members, and includes state, local, tribal and federal agency personnel, landowners, consultants, scientists and non-profit staff. In January 2007, she launched a process to create a 10-year Comprehensive Wetland Protection Strategy for Montana, directly involving over 75 Wetland Council members and continuing with ongoing statewide outreach.

Montana’s Governor, Brian Schweitzer, has called Ms. Saul “an amazing and constant force for conserving natural values and qualities.” She was instrumental in starting the voluntary, incentive-based Wetlands Legacy Program, which has conserved over 250,000 acres of wetlands, riparian areas, and associated uplands. She also created a wetland stewardship awards program, distributed 5,000 copies of a wetlands guide for landowners, helped implement an in-lieu fee program for wetland impacts, and initiated wetland and riparian courses for Realtors. Thanks to her efforts, Montana agencies and non-profit groups have received over four million dollars in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wetland protection grants and leveraged millions more. In 2006, she successfully lobbied the Montana Attorney General to join theamicus brief supporting Clean Water Act jurisdiction in the Rapanos/Carabell case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Saul assisted in the formation of the Governor’s Riparian Protection Task Force, of which she is a member. She also serves on the Climate Change Advisory Committee, and is Vice-Chair of the Association of State Wetland Managers.