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Meet Jill - USW's New Executive Director!

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Upstream Watch is thrilled to announce Jillian Howell as the organization’s new Executive Director. Jill joins Upstream Watch with a decade of experience in the environmental field and a passion for protecting and advocating for clean water and the communities that rely on it. Most recently, Howell served as the Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper and Advocacy Program Manager for Sound Rivers, an environmental non-profit in eastern North Carolina that works to protect, monitor and preserve the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse River watersheds.

Prior to her tenure as Riverkeeper, Jill was as a project scientist at ATC Group Services, an environmental and engineering consulting company, working on various environmental site assessments and remediation projects across New England. She later attended the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she received her Master of Environmental Management degree and was a graduate teaching fellow, student clinician and researcher. She also interned during her graduate studies with the Spokane Riverkeeper.

For Howell, joining Upstream Watch is an opportunity to return closer to her roots, having grown up just outside of Boston and attending Colby College, where she received her undergraduate degree in environmental studies and global studies. She credits her passion for the environment and love of paddling, hiking and camping to her time spent in Maine.

"I'm excited to join Upstream Watch, and not only dive into the ongoing legal battles taking place against Nordic Aquafarms, but plan for the organization's future and our place in protecting and advocating for the health of Penobscot Bay and the surrounding coastal communities,” said Howell.

As Executive Director, Jill’s immediate priority will be to support Upstream Watch’s legal team in all of the lawsuits, appeals, and permit challenges currently underway concerning Nordic Aquafarms. She will also lead the execution of the organization’s vision of a healthy, thriving Penobscot Bay and sustainable local economy through advocacy, science, education, and enforcement of environmental protections in collaboration with fishing people, tribal members, local governments, organizations, scientists, and other community members living in Midcoast Maine.

“Hiring an executive director for Upstream Watch was the next logical step for the organization but finding the right person was challenging. Jill is truly a perfect fit for us, and we are beyond thrilled to be working with her,” said Amy Grant, Upstream Watch president.

Jill Howell can be reached via email at

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