News > News > Riverkeeper > Riverkeeper bolsters core programs with new directors, launches program to address challenges to region’s watersheds

Riverkeeper bolsters core programs with new directors, launches program to address challenges to region’s watersheds


Contact: Cliff Weathers, [email protected]

NY’s clean water advocate announces hirings of John Parker and Chris Len; names Kate Hudson to direct new initiative

Ossining, NY – Riverkeeper has added staff to key leadership positions to bolster its mission to defend the Hudson River and protect the drinking water supply of 9 million New York City and Hudson Valley residents.

Two director positions for Riverkeeper’s core programs, Watershed and Hudson River, were filled, and a much needed program, Cross Watershed Initiatives, was created and its director named.

John Parker, former Regional Attorney for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, and Christopher Len, attorney for two neighboring waterkeeper groups, have joined the organization as program directors. Parker is now Watershed Program Director and Len will become the Hudson River Program Director in June. Riverkeeper also announces that Kate Hudson has become Director of its new Cross Watershed Initiatives program. Her selection as the inaugural director signals the organization’s increased commitment to address new challenges facing the river, including sustainable water supply management throughout the Hudson Valley; a safer, saner approach to energy supply and transport in our region; and a renewed commitment to addressing climate issues, which grow more challenging with each day.

“The growing challenges facing Riverkeeper due to aging pollution control infrastructure and diminished government commitment to environmental law enforcement require us to step up our game, as New York’s clean water advocate,” said Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. “Kate Hudson, John Parker and Chris Len are just the sort of passionate, imaginative advocates we’ll need to meet the challenges ahead, and I couldn’t be more excited to have them as part of our leadership team.”

Parker most recently served as project manager and coordinator for the Rockland County Task Force on Water Resources Management. In collaboration with business, government and community groups, he helped to develop water-conservation initiatives for a long-term sustainable water supply. Prior to that, Parker served as Regional Attorney and a member of the Executive Staff of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Lower Hudson Valley and Catskill Region. There he worked on several significant and groundbreaking Clean Water Act cases. Parker graduated from Pace Law School with Environmental and International Law certificates.

In his new role, Parker will lead Riverkeeper’s efforts to protect the shared drinking water supply of millions in New York City and in the lower Hudson Valley. He will lead the organization’s efforts to curb sprawl and prevent non-point source pollution, ensure effective storm water management, and minimize environmental impacts of large-scale development projects.

Len brings extensive experience in the waterkeeper movement and comes to us from Hackensack Riverkeeper and NY/NJ Baykeeper, two sister organizations, where he served as the sole attorney for the past six years. There he created a legal and public advocacy campaign to overhaul New Jersey’s non-compliant Combined Sewer Overflow regulatory program. Prior to that, Len was Legal Director of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center in Southern Oregon – now the home of the Rogue Riverkeeper. Len is a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School and received certificates in Environmental Law and Natural Resources law.

At Riverkeeper, Len will lead the organization’s efforts to protect and restore the Hudson River and implement litigation and policy campaigns focused on a range of river issues, including addressing the risk of crude-by-rail transport through the Hudson Valley, closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant, and holding General Electric accountable for the remaining PCBs left in the river and the Champlain Canal navigation channel.

To meet emerging challenges in water supply management, coastal resiliency and energy – efforts that cross program boundaries – Riverkeeper has created a new program, Cross Watershed Initiatives, and is thrilled to announce that Kate Hudson – our Watershed Program Director since 2011 – will be its inaugural director.

Hudson was selected for this position because she is a visionary leader with extensive experience in water supply management issues. Among many other major cases, she lead Riverkeeper’s successful fight against hydrofracking and the proposed Niagara Water bottling plant in Ulster County. She continues to be deeply involved in confronting the most significant threat to the Hudson River in a generation: vastly increased crude oil shipments by rail and vessel in the Hudson River Valley.

Hudson began her environmental career with the DEC in 1985, handling a wide range of enforcement and permitting matters in all program areas, including air quality, water quality, solid and hazardous waste and mining. In 1999, Hudson was appointed New York Assistant Attorney General in that office’s Environmental Protection Bureau. She was part of the Bureau’s Hudson River Team, which was responsible for preparing the State and Federal Trustees natural resource damage claim against General Electric for their contamination of the Hudson River with PCBs.

Hudson rejoined the DEC in 2007, where she was dedicated to pursuing claims for natural resource damages against a wide variety of polluters for their discharges of hazardous substances and petroleum.


Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
Become a Member