SFBJV People: Amy Hutzel
Name: Amy Hutzel
Occupation: Deputy Executive Officer
Agency: California State Coastal Conservancy
Amy Hutzel has been devoted to Bay Area wetlands and wetland restoration for most of her professional life. She is currently a Deputy Executive Officer at the State Coastal Conservancy after having worked in their San Francisco Bay Area Program for 15 years where she was dedicated to increasing access to natural areas for urban populations, protecting open space, and restoring wetland and riparian habitats.
Amy was our Management Board Chair from 2013 to 2015 and is the current chair of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium. She has a bachelor's degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia and worked previously at the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Save The Bay.
Amy told us that “having the opportunity to work on large-scale wetland restoration projects in San Francisco Bay, such as the South Bay Salt Ponds, Napa Sonoma Marshes, and Hamilton has been the highlight of [her] career so far!” She has worked with "fabulous people on projects that are making a difference in the world” and is "personally proudest of the restoration of Napa Marsh.”
Amy remembers the "many, many meetings of a small group of dedicated folks from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Sonoma County Water Agency, Ducks Unlimited, the Corps of Engineers, and consultants overcoming many hurdles over several years to insure that this restoration would happen in the North Bay. There were times when it seemed like the restoration was never going to happen and several key moments (the completion of the study and the EIR/S, receiving a couple large state grants, getting the permits, and actually breaching levees) that kept [everyone] going. And now there are over 3,000 acres of new tidal wetlands that will provide habitats for wildlife, improve water quality and the health of the Bay, sequester carbon, and do all the great stuff tidal marshes do!"
She was recently at the library with her older son Max, flipping through a Ranger Rick magazine and came across a two-page spread about tidal marshes. Super excited about this, she wanted to read the article with him but his response, in a deadpan voice, was "I know way too much about tidal marshes for someone my age." She was so proud! He was one of the lucky people to attend the levee breach event at Hamilton and both of her boys have spent lots of time with the family in wetlands, creeks, deserts, forests, beaches, enjoying the natural world.
Sometimes Amy worries about the world her two boys will inherit, especially given climate change predictions, but at least they will know their Mom did what she could to create a better world right here in the San Francisco Bay.