A veteran government scientist and meteorologist is set to become director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which oversees federal and state efforts to monitor and clean up the environment of the Bay.
The EPA announced Thursday that Kandis Boyd will take over as program director on Monday. She will be the first person of color to hold a leadership position on Chesapeake Bay government policy — and the first permanent head of that EPA office in more than a year.
“I’m thrilled to have Kandis join our leadership team as we step up efforts to restore the bay in the face of emerging challenges,” said Adam Ortiz, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, former Chief Environmental Officer of state and local Maryland. “His experience as a strategic leader in science and his success with diverse communities and youth will help take the bay’s effort to a new level as we focus on climate change and vulnerable communities. “
According to the EPA, Boyd has nearly 30 years of experience leading, teaching, advising, and mentoring students and early-career enthusiasts in environmental and atmospheric science. The first African-American woman to receive an undergraduate degree in meteorology from Iowa State University, Boyd most recently served as a strategic advisor for the National Science Foundation’s Office of Equity and Civil Rights. This position included the position of Senior Deputy Division Director of NSF’s Grants and Agreements Division, where she provided oversight and direction to 35 staff, a $5 billion budget and more than 12,000 new grants per year. She has a doctorate. in Public Administration and Masters in Meteorology, Water Resources Engineering and Project Management
Boyd has spent most of his career with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. During Hurricane Katrina, she provided 24-hour on-site weather forecasting during that hurricane’s landfall in 2005. She was a Designated Federal Officer for the Third National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee, co-chaired NOAA’s first Environmental Modeling Strategic Plan, served as an advisor to NOAA’s $2 billion satellite portfolio, and served as both Acting Director and Deputy Director of NOAA. Weather Program Office.
The EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program coordinates activities and implements strategies to achieve restoration goals for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which covers 64,000 square miles across New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania , Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
“I am extremely humbled and excited to work with a forward-looking team of specialists and experts to advance the ongoing work of EPA and Chesapeake Bay partners,” Boyd said. “I’m ready to dive in and work on the most pressing issues ahead of us.”
The Chesapeake Bay Program’s last permanent officer was Dana Aunkst, who served from December 2018 to March 2021. Aunkst was a longtime Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection official before taking the position of the EPA. It served at a time when the Trump administration routinely tried to scale back bay cleanup programs and was sued by states like Maryland for not doing enough to hold other states accountable for their cleanup commitments. pollution reduction.
Hillary Falk, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which has been a plaintiff in some of those lawsuits, praised Boyd’s selection.
“Many challenges remain, time is running out and climate change threatens to reverse the progress we have made,” she said. “The good news is that we also have unprecedented new funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program and federal farm conservation programs that can help us catch up quickly. Dr. Boyd has the leadership skills to help coordinate the efforts of the multiple federal agencies that play an important role in restoring the bay, the knowledge to ensure we are guided by the best science, and the personal commitment to ensure that vulnerable communities are not left behind. behind.”