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.

Amanda Moore

Deputy Director, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program

National Wildlife Federation

Amanda Moore is the Deputy Director for the National Wildlife Federation’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program.  Based in New Orleans, Amanda works with government officials, community leaders, and coastal science experts to raise awareness about coastal land loss and build support to move large-scale, comprehensive restoration projects forward.  Her special focus areas include stakeholder engagement and restoration of the vast ecosystem impacted by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.  Since 2002, Amanda has worked on environmental issues for non-profit, public, and private organizations.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Mary Washington and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of South Florida. She can be reached at moorea@nwf.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.

natalie peyronnin

Natalie Peyronnin

Director of Science Policy, Mississippi River Delta

Environmental Defense Fund

Natalie Peyronnin serves as the lead scientist for EDF on efforts to restore the Mississippi River Delta and utilize natural infrastructure to protect coastal communities. She currently works out of the D.C. office, although she is a native of Louisiana. Her technical background in wildlife and fisheries biology and wetland science, combined with experience from private, non-profit and governmental entities, brings a well-rounded knowledge of science, communications and decision-making. Natalie (formerly Natalie Snider) was previously the technical and science communication lead for the development of Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Prior to that, Natalie served as Science Director for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana where she was recipient of the Champion of Inspiration Award and the Make a Difference Day Award. She can be reached at npeyronnin@edf.org.