The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF) has awarded University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Emeritus Don Boesch with its 2020 Sustained Achievement Award for a long-term contribution and commitment to the conservation and protection of natural resources by an individual.
The RNRF is a consortium of scientific, professional, educational, design, and engineering organizations whose primary purpose is to advance science, the application of science, and public education in managing and conserving renewable natural resources.
“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the national community of environmental professionals,” said honoree Donald Boesch. “In truth, so many great colleagues, as well as my family, have sustained my contributions over these many years. And, there is so much more I yet need to achieve.”Over more than 40 years of academic and scientific leadership, Boesch has been an articulate and effective champion for the importance of independent and unbiased science to inform landscape-scale policy and management actions, evidenced by his work in coastal Louisiana, the Chesapeake Bay, and internationally.
His legacy of academic and scientific leadership also includes the influence he has had on his peers and mentoring of early career scientists and his charismatic leadership on scientific advisory committees, particularly his insistence on ensuring diversity and inclusion of early career professionals. Committee members and the convening entities have become more effective by observing and following his guidance.
“This is a very well-deserved award for Dr. Boesch's lifetime achievements to the environment and building the role of UMCES to inform environmental policy and management,” said University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Peter Goodwin. “Don has contributed much to the betterment of the natural environment and the profound positive influence on colleagues collaborating on these issues.”
As UMCES president for 27 years, Boesch guided the growth and establishing of the research university as a trusted source of independent science to guide Maryland policy and management. He established an indelible legacy for the Chesapeake Bay and has been central in addressing wicked problems such as climate change, conservation, nutrient pollution, eutrophication and fisheries management.
His role on advisory boards and commissions includes the Chesapeake Bay Program, Maryland Governor’s Chesapeake Bay Cabinet (over the terms of five governors), Maryland Climate Change Commission (chairing its scientific and technical working group), and leading the Maryland-Delaware Climate Change Education, Assessment and Research (MADE Clear) program has made him an icon in Maryland. Governor O’Malley honored him as Admiral of Chesapeake Bay.
Previously, he spent 10 years energizing and setting the foundation for the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium as executive director and professor at Louisiana State University. His lifetime interest in the problems of coastal Louisiana include chairing the LCA Science Board, appointment by President Obama to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Future of Offshore Drilling, and as a fellow of the Walton Family Foundation for the future of the Mississippi River Delta.
Internationally, Boesch is a proven leader and has been invited to provide vision on restoration efforts from the Everglades to San Francisco Bay to the Baltic Sea. Notably, he served as chair of the National Academies’ Ocean Studies Board.
He has authored two books and nearly 100 papers cited nearly 15,000 times (Google Scholar) on marine ecology and oceanography of estuaries, wetlands, continental shelves, oil pollution, nutrient-loading, assessment, monitoring and science policy.
He holds a B.S. in biology from Tulane University and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the College of William and Mary.