Washington Water Trust

Working to restore our state's rivers and streams.

Our Staff

James Kraft, Executive Director, joined the Washington Water Trust in 2020. James is a native of Seattle, WA, and attended Harvard College where he majored in East Asian Studies. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1982, James worked for Milbank Tweed in New York City, and then returned to Seattle in 1984 to work for Burlington Northern Inc. For 27 years, James was general counsel for Plum Creek Timber Company, a Burlington spinoff that went public in 1989. In that role, he helped lead the company’s efforts to be a leader in environmental forestry and helped negotiate numerous habitat conservation agreements and major conservation easements across the country. James led the efforts to conclude pioneering habitat conservation plans for the spotted owl and 285 other species in the central Cascades and bull trout in Montana, and a unique collaborative agreement with the USFWS, the USFS, the state DNR, and Plum Creek under Section 7 of the ESA that protected threatened grizzly bears in the Swan Valley of Montana. He also negotiated the second largest conservation easement in the United States covering 363,000 acres in Maine.  

James has been a long-time advocate for the environment and the arts and currently serves on the board of Long Live the Kings, Seattle Theatre Group, and previously on the board of Pacific Northwest Ballet. James also previously served as Executive Director of Cultural Access Washington, a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to cultural opportunities in King County for underserved schools and citizens generally.  

Susan Adams, Senior Advisor, joined the Washington Water Trust in 2004 and served as Executive Director of the organization from 2004-2020. Susan has over 20 years of executive management, policy development, and negotiation experience with private, public and nonprofit organizations working on natural resource issues. Prior to Washington Water Trust, Susan managed natural resources education, communications and public relations for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. While in Oregon, she also participated in regional water supply planning in collaboration with diverse stakeholders throughout the Portland metropolitan area to ensure sustainable water resources for future generations. Susan's experience includes business development and marketing for Honeywell Marine Systems, United Way and private consulting in both Washington and Oregon. She holds a B.A. in Communications and Business from Michigan State University and has pursued graduate studies at the University of Washington and Antioch University with an emphasis on systems design, leadership and change management.

Chris Czarnecki, Investment and Partnerships Officer, joined the Washington Water Trust in 2019 with a desire to protect Washington's freshwater resources and the fish that he loves to pursue with a fly rod during his free time. He graduated in 2007 with a B.A. in English Literature from Wake Forest University in his hometown of Winston-Salem, NC. Since then he has worked for conservation non-profits in Alaska, Nepal, Washington DC and Seattle including eight years of experience with organizations focused on biodiversity conservation and sustainable community development in the mountains of central and south Asia. Most recently, he worked for the Snow Leopard Trust where he served as Government Grants Manager and Project Manager on a Global Environment Facility and United Nations funded project focused on transboundary snow leopard conservation. In addition to fly-fishing in his free time, he enjoys trail running, skiing, paddle-boarding and various hobbies he passionately dives into with middling results. 

Emily Dick, Project Manager, joined the Washington Water Trust in 2017. Driven by a love of local perspectives and the outdoors, Emily works at WWT to find innovative solutions for Washington's most crucial resource and conservation problems. She manages the Dungeness Water Exchange, a successful mitigation program on the Olympic Peninsula that offsets new water-uses with no net impact to aquifers or area streams. Emily is currently developing projects that promote economic and environmental resiliency through innovative agriculture practices. She works to provide water users with tools that respond to current and expected conditions and conserve natural resources for sustained culture, livelihood, and environment. 

Emily holds a B.S. of Biology from Wittenberg University and pursued graduate studies focused on indigenous conservation at Duke University Marine Lab. She brings experience in the Upper Columbia Basin surveying endangered species for the US Fish and Wildlife Native Fish Program and two years as a natural resource advisor in rural Zambia working to advance tilapia production with United States Peace Corps. She brings her extensive experience in Zambia coordinating partnerships between local leadership, traditional chiefs, government and private mining industries to generate income, combat malnutrition and educate on conservation practices to her work in planning processes for sustainable watershed management in basins across Western Washington.

Sarah Dymecki, Project Manager, joined Washington Water Trust in 2020. Inspired by water, communities, and impact, Sarah aims to create a positive change for people, wildlife, and the environment through water conservation and community engagement. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland, as well as a minor in Geographic Information Systems, concentrating her degree on land use and sustainable development. After three years’ experience in the civil engineering and land surveying fields, she pursued a master’s degree in International Relations and Environmental Policy from Boston University. More recently, Sarah was the Dolphin & Marine Conservation Project Manager for a voluntourism organization in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Here she forged partnerships between local dolphin tour boat drivers, the ecotourism industry, other local organizations, and government to provide sustainable economic opportunities and environmental education for the community. 

Raquel Espinosa, Administrative Manager, joined the Washington Water Trust in 2016 to blend her passion for sustainable water management and organizational development. She finished her studies at the Evans School analyzing the impact of the Growth Management Act on  King County DOT Transportation Concurrency options while also leading an inclusive Vision/Mission process at a small non-profit. Raquel has over 10 years practice in facilitating consensus-decision making, personnel empowerment, and integrated education. Professional highlights include managing the WWT Dungeness Water Exchange, administrative support to the SR530 Landslide Commission, creek walker for the Longfellow Creek Salmon study, and EarthCorps steward at Edmond’s Brackett’s Landing. Raquel holds an M.P.A. from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance focused on environmental policy and management and a B.S. in Biology from Bates College, Maine. 

Nicole Gutierrez, Project Associate, joined the Washington Water Trust in 2020 to help Washington achieve resilient waterways and communities. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation Biology where she spent her undergrad working as a hydrology lab technician investigating nitrogen cycling in intermittent streams. After graduation, she continued to pursue her interest in aquatic systems as a research assistant at the Environmental Protection Agency in Narragansett, RI. There she studied seagrass ecosystems and led projects assessing the impacts of nutrient stress on seagrass species and the carbon sequestration capacities within New England eelgrass meadows. Since moving to Washington in 2018 Nicole has worked for several organizations focusing on environmental management, education, and outreach. As an AmeriCorps member for a Seattle nonprofit, she worked extensively in engaging volunteers in restoration projects within urban forests and wetlands. Currently, Nicole is enrolled in the Wetland Science and Management certificate course at the University of Washington. In her free time, Nicole continues to lead volunteers in restoration events as a Forest Steward with the Green Seattle Partnership and enjoys exploring Washington’s mountains and coastlines.

Jason M Hatch, Senior Program Manager, Jason began working for the Washington Water Trust in 2013. He oversees the western Washington WWT program to restore flow and develop sustainable water management strategies in basins including the Dungeness, Nooksack, Chehalis, Sammamish and others. He is leading efforts to develop new instream flow tools including recycled water source substitution, natural system storage restoration, watershed services and low water use crops.

He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an M.S. in Water Resource Policy and Management from Oregon State University. He brings to WWT more than 25 years of public interest experience, including work with the Trout Unlimited-Washington Water Project, California League of California Voters, Friends of the River, and a graduate project studying the social impacts of small dam removal on the Sprague River in Klamath County, Oregon. He was raised in the Six Rivers region of Northern California and enjoys snow-shoeing, trail running, fly-fishing, sea-kayaking and adventuring with his family. 

Kevin Haydon, Project Manager, joined the Washington Water Trust in 2019 to focus on collaborative solutions for natural resource issues while supporting rural working lands. Kevin works primarily in the Yakima, Wenatchee, and Methow basins. Kevin’s background includes conservation land management, agricultural leasing, grant writing, wildland fire and hazard response, and planning. He received a B.A. with dual majors in Law and Justice, and Sociology, and a M.S. in Resource Management from Central Washington University. With over 8 years of experience in the natural resource sector, Kevin has worked on a diverse portfolio of topics including work with the Center for Spatial Information and Research, Institute for Integrated Energy Studies, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and US Forest Service. Kevin is a lifelong Washingtonian and enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, fishing, and hunting.

Ethan Lockwood, Project Associate, joined the Washington Water Trust in 2019 with a passion for supporting thriving communities, thriving nature, and thriving recreational experiences throughout Washington. Ethan grew up in Laramie, WY where a strong land ethic and concern for social justice was instilled in him during long alpine hikes and drives through the Wyoming steppe by his father, an entomologist, and mother, a social worker. He has a Masters in Community and Regional Planning and has spent the past years working with forest and recreation collaboratives and land management agencies to accelerate the pace and scale of restoration. He has helped pilot the use of innovative tools including Human Ecology Mapping, Good Neighbor Authority, Stewardship Timber Sales, and Conservation Financing for cross-boundary collaborative recreation and restoration planning and projects. When not at work, he can be found drinking black coffee and skiing, running, backpacking, and climbing across WA as long as the caffeine lasts.

Greg McLaughlin, Senior Program Manager, came to the Washington Water Trust in 2006, continuing a career that has emphasized the development of collaborative, locally-driven conservation projects. At the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Fort Collins, CO, Greg worked alongside agricultural producers to help improve irrigation systems and farm operations via cooperative conservation projects protecting soil, water, and wildlife. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Thailand, he pioneered projects in community forestry, ecotourism, and village handicrafts that promoted resources conservation while also rebuilding local economies. Greg also initiated sustainable land use management pilot projects in Colorado, worked as an environmental planner in rural Missouri, and published research on public participation processes and local solutions to large carnivore conflicts in the Greater Yellowstone region. He has a degree in biology from The Colorado College and an M.S. in Environmental Management with an emphasis on Social Ecology and Community Development from the Yale School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Aiman Shahpurwala, Data Analyst, joined the Washington Water Trust in 2020 and is passionate about serving communities, people, and the environment. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2013 with a B.S. in Geological Sciences. In 2014 she became the Water Resource Technician for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Mount Pleasant, Michigan where she engaged with the Tribal community to protect and maintain their invaluable water resources. During this time she managed and implemented the Clean Water Act Section 106 Tribal Water Quality Monitoring Program. From 2017 to 2019 she pursued an international graduate program and spent her first year in the Netherlands at ITC at the University of Twente and her second year at Lund University in Sweden. In 2019 she received a dual-degree with a M.Sc. in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modeling and Management. After graduation she continued work related to her master’s thesis project as a research consultant, investigating forest fire and conflict occurrences in the Middle East. Aiman looks forward to engaging with communities within the State of Washington and using data-driven research to support conservation goals and water resource management.