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Gail Lazaras

Associate Director of Conservation

Gail’s work at American Rivers focuses on river restoration and riverside land protection in the Southern Appalachians, particularly in the Little Tennessee River basin and the Tuckasegee River Blue Trail. Gail facilitates partnerships to restore the form and function of rivers through the removal of dams and other stream barriers. She works towards rivers in the region that are healthy, support local and regional economies and world-class recreation.  She also coordinates communication for the Rivers of Southern Appalachia and Carolinas basin, helping to share the compelling stories of this region.

Gail joined American Rivers in 2019.  Prior to that Gail worked in New Orleans at the Federal Emergency Management Agency where she ensured environmental and historic preservation compliance for large-scale FEMA-funded disaster response and recovery projects. She has expertise in GIS, the national historic preservation act, federal government contracting and grants, project management, and is a certified floodplain manager.   Additionally, Gail serves on the Historic Resources Commission for the City of Asheville and Buncombe County.

You can find Gail outside creating garden habitat, adventuring and generally exploring the amazing spaces in and around her new hometown of Asheville.

Education: Western Washington University (MA anthropology), Tulane University (BA anthropology/classics)

Favorite River: Right now, the McKenzie River in Oregon. However, I am now holding auditions among the gorgeous rivers in southern Appalachia and I’m sure one of these will rise to the top spot.