Executive Director | Principal Scientist
Doug Gibson, a wetlands ecologist, is a champion of conservation in Southern California. He oversees Nature Collective’s nationally recognized science and community conservation programs. Doug is guiding to completion a $120 million environmental enhancement for the 1,000-acre San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, the Reviving Your Wetlands San Elijo Lagoon Restoration.
Planning for this multi-year project was an early focus in Doug’s career vision to enhance estuarine tidal flows and habitats, while adding new trail connections linking coastal communities. Reviving Your Wetlands addresses climate change and sea level rise in the construction for enhanced mudflat habitat, and surrounding salt marsh and uplands, providing 1,000 plant and animal species refuge and places to spread out.
Nature Collective is one of the reserve’s managing partners, at the table with County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation and California Department of Fish & Wildlife.
In Doug’s vision to expand access to nature for everyone, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded grant funding for science-based and integrated learning to inspire conservation behaviors in school and family program participants.
Forty miles of streams have been restored in Doug’s leadership through the control of invasive plants. Nature Collective currently owns 143 acres and holds 70 acres of conservation easements on private and public property—while not huge in scale—are notable in densely developed coastal San Diego.
Doug’s leadership extends into his scientific advisory roles. He is an active member in the national Restore America’s Estuaries conferences. Doug is on the board of California Invasive Plants Council and is chair of five coastal counties for Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, among other regional conservation alliances.
The City of Encinitas awarded Nature Collective an Environmental Excellence Award in 2018, recognizing Doug’s leadership for connecting communities and conserving nature. Honoring Doug’s 20th Anniversary in 2016, two city mayors and the County Supervisor proclaimed a Doug Gibson Conservation Leadership Day for his influence county-wide. California Department of Fish & Wildlife awarded Doug and team significant funding for native plant restoration in wetlands beyond the reserve’s borders in a Proposition 1 grant in 2017.
Doug blends his extensive knowledge of coastal wetlands policy with scientific literacy and fundraising. He came to Nature Collective from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, where he directed field efforts for the Navy Homeporting Sand Replenishment Project. Prior to Nature Collective, his consulting firm, Gibson Monitoring, participated in the planning of large restoration projects in key San Diego County watersheds.
Doug Gibson’s leadership in conservation and restoration sets a national standard for a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental design efficiencies, strategic collaborations, and with a style for excellence and trust in the long-range vision.