Michele Thieme

Deputy Director, Freshwater

Michelle Thieme
Media inquiries: News And Press Page

Michele Thieme is Deputy Director of Freshwater for WWF-US and supports WWF’s efforts to conserve freshwater ecosystems and manage river basins to support biodiversity and human livelihoods. She works with WWF offices around the world to build the resiliency of freshwater systems with a particular focus on river-related infrastructure, dams, and planning, as well as evaluation of basin health. WWF-US’ freshwater team focuses on interventions that support transboundary water governance, finance for bankable nature solutions, corporate water stewardship, and river conservation with the aim of maintaining and restoring healthy, connected freshwater ecosystems for people and nature. Michele has 25 years of experience in freshwater and spatial planning with over 30 scientific publications. Through relationships with academia, she brings the latest in science to applied river basin policy, management and conservation projects. She holds a B.S. in biology from University of Virginia and a Master’s in Fisheries Science from University of Arizona.

In The News

Yale E360

Report Details ‘Catastrophic Decline’ of Migratory Fish

Populations of salmon, trout, eel, sturgeon and other migrating freshwater fish have declined a shocking 81% since 1970. Michele Thieme says prioritizing river protection, restoration and connectivity is key to safeguarding these species in a YaleE360 article.

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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. Michele Thieme discusses the powerful connection between art and river conservation.

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Media inquiries: News And Press Page


Deputy Director


  • M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Ecology, University of Arizona
  • B.S. in Biology and Spanish, University of Virginia

Areas of Expertise

  • Freshwater spatial planning
  • Freshwater biodiversity
  • Protected areas for freshwater systems
  • Monitoring and evaluation


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