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Welcome Our New Executive Director James Kraft

Staff Photo
by Washington Water Trust

Washington Water Trust is pleased to announce James Kraft as its new Executive Director to lead the organization in its efforts to secure abundant, clean freshwater for Washington’s people, communities and environment for generations to come.

With more than 35 years of professional experience in forestry and natural resources and a law degree from Harvard Law School, Kraft brings strong managerial, strategic and partnership-building capabilities, deep local roots and demonstrated fundraising talents to Washington Water Trust. An expert in environmental law, Kraft served for 27 years as General Counsel for Plum Creek Timber Company until its merger with Weyerhaeuser in 2016. While there, he led the implementation of innovative conservation plans to protect critical habitat for numerous species including spotted owls and anadromous fish. Kraft also has strong ties to the nonprofit sector in Washington, serving as Executive Director for Cultural Access Washington and on a number of non-profit Boards, including Long Live the Kings.
“We are thrilled to have James as the new Executive Director of the Washington Water Trust. He knows the local lay of the land very well and he will hit the ground running,” says Washington Water Trust’s Board President Will Stelle. “The challenges for our freshwater resources across the state are intensifying due to a potent combination of growing human demand, outdated water policies forged in the 19th century, and a rapidly changing climate. We couldn’t imagine a better person than James to lead the organization in its work to tackle these challenges and to help shape a sustainable freshwater future for the state.”

Kraft will lead Washington Water Trust in the continuation of its core work of restoring depleted stream flows by acquiring water to leave instream in key locations across the state. He will also team with the organization’s experienced Board and staff and its many partners to develop new water management and restoration strategies to secure reliable water supplies for both Washington’s environment and communities in the face of a changing climate.

“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to build upon the already impressive body of work that the Washington Water Trust has accomplished in protecting our freshwater resources,” says Kraft. “This work combines my passions for recovering sustainable salmonid fisheries and my professional experience finding pragmatic solutions for environmental issues.”

Kraft succeeds Susan Adams who has served as Executive Director for Washington Water Trust for 16 years, growing the organization from two staff members to its current team of eleven and overseeing the restoration of significant flows to dozens of rivers and streams across the state vital to endangered salmon and steelhead populations. Adams will continue to be involved with the Washington Water Trust as a Senior Advisor for the organization.

“It has been a pleasure leading Washington Water Trust over this period of dynamic change,” says Adams. “I know that the organization will be in good hands under James’ leadership, and I look forward to his joining our talented team.”