Our Experts

Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran

Director, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program

Environmental Defense Fund

As the Director for Environmental Defense Fund’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration project, Steve Cochran works to restore the natural function of the river while addressing the needs and health of southern Louisiana’s diverse communities and economic infrastructure. With local, state and federal attention turning towards this delta, executing a strategy for its timely and responsible restoration is crucial. In addition, Steve works both within Louisiana and nationally to encourage communities, economic interests and political leaders to see delta restoration as a fundamental priority to the nation.

Steve spent two years as Executive Director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana, and seven years with Louisiana Congressman and then Governor Buddy Roemer. He served as Legislative Director in D.C., then Field Director, and ultimately Chief of Staff to the Governor. He can be reached at scochran@edf.org.

John A. Lopez, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation

A physical scientist, John has been the director of LPBF's Coastal Sustainability Program which conducts coastal restoration and research since 2005. Born in New Orleans, he holds a Masters in Geology from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. in Applied Science and Engineering from the University of New Orleans. He worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Project Management for teh Coastal Restoration Branch including assignments with the Coastal Wetlands, Planning Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) and the Louisiana Coastal Area Ecosystem Restoration Study (LCA).

In 2005, he developed and advocated the Multiple Lines of Defense strategy for coastal Louisiana which has gained broad acceptance throughout the state. As part of the investigation into the 2011 Mississippi River flood, John and his staff documented the overbank flooding in the Bohemia Spillway. John and his coastal team developed a new coastal monitoring program called "hydrocoast." As director, he coordinates LPBF activites with numerous local and national NGO's and universities. From 2009 to the present, he has served on the state's Framework Development Team to advise on the state's new Master Plan for 2012. He is currently a member of the Coastal Advisory Committee for South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East and the Caernarvon Interagency Advisory Committee. He can be reached at jlopez@saveourlake.org.

Douglas J. Meffert, D. Env., MBA

Vice President and Executive Director

Audubon Louisiana

As head of Audubon Louisiana, Doug leads the organization's Mississippi River Delta restoration work and is involved in protection of many globally significant Important Bird Areas through Audubon’s work in the Rainey Conservation Alliance and coastal waterbird conservation efforts. Doug has a long history in the state, most recently as director of project development and associate professor at Tulane University’s Payson Center for International Development and as the executive director of RiverSphere, an initiative to develop a new campus for the university oriented to water resources and renewable energy. Prior to those posts, Doug was deputy director of the Center for Bioenvironmental Research, a joint project of Tulane and Xavier Universities. In addition, Doug has served as Tulane’s representative on a range of coastal research and policy committees, including the Framework Development Team for Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan and the Deepwater Horizon Science and Engineering Review Team.

Doug received a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and is a research fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Mass. He holds Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Tulane University and a doctorate in environmental science and engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. He can be reached at dmeffert@audubon.org.

Kimberly Davis Reyher

Executive Director

Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana

Kim joined CRCL as Executive Director in June 2014 after 13 years with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where she served as Fisheries Program Director. In that capacity, she advanced strategies to promote fisheries sustainability through engagement on seafood supply and demand working with fisheries around the world and influential players in the seafood industry​. Kim co-led the development of a $29 million tuna management project with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, led the International Smart Gear Competition which awards cash prizes for fishing gear innovations and supervised 20+ projects in more than 20 countries. Kim also spent 6 years at the Ocean Conservancy (formerly the Center for Marine Conservation), first in Florida, and then in Washington, D.C.  A native of Tampa, Kim received a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Dartmouth College, and a master’s degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University.She can be reached at kimberly.reyher@crcl.org.


David Muth

Director, Gulf Restoration

National Wildlife Federation

David Muth is a New Orleans native who has spent a lifetime in the Mississippi River Delta and on the Louisiana coast studying its geology, ecology, plants, wildlife, history and culture. He is an authority on the birds of coastal Louisiana, having served as president of the Louisiana Ornithological Society, Chairman of the Louisiana Bird Records Committee, Regional Editor for North American Birds and Louisiana Editor for the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count. He worked for 30 years with the National Park Service at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in south Louisiana, eventually managing its natural and cultural resource programs. He can be reached at muthd@nwf.org.