Jeff Opperman

Global Freshwater Lead Scientist, Global Science


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As global lead scientist for freshwater, Jeff works across the WWF network and with external partners to direct research that can strengthen conservation strategies and to integrate science into freshwater programs and projects. 

Jeff came to WWF from The Nature Conservancy where he served as the director and lead scientist of the Great Rivers Partnership.  His scientific and policy research has been published in journals such as Science, BioScience and Ecological Applications and he is the lead author of the book Floodplains: processes and management for ecosystem services, published in 2017

Jeff strives to communicate the challenges and opportunities of protecting fresh water through op-eds, articles and blog posts in such places as Outside, National Geographic, Grist, and The Guardian, including a 10-part series featured on the New York Times website about traveling with his family down the Mekong River in southeast Asia, exploring the people and conservation issues of that region.  He holds a Ph.D. in ecosystem science from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.S. in biology from Duke University.

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RiverRun Festival @ The Kennedy Center

Artists and WWF scientists came together for Earth Day to celebrate the world's rivers at the Kennedy Center's RiverRun Festival. Jeff Opperman discusses the powerful connection between art and river conservation.

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Connect: Twitter

Media inquiries: News And Press Page


Global Freshwater Lead Scientist


  • Ph.D. - University of California, Berkeley
  • B.S. - Duke University