Karyn Stockdale

Western Water Initiative Senior Director

Karyn Stockdale is Senior Director of Audubon’s Western Water Initiative working to address precipitous declines in water across the arid West—with a focus on the Colorado River and saline lakes. Karyn leads innovative conservation efforts - from public policy to restoration - to help decision-makers adapt to diminishing water supplies with improved policies and increased investments in climate resilient strategies.

Karyn believes we must adopt new and better ways to interact with and restore the natural world around us, recognizing all that it provides communities, birds, and wildlife in the face of the intensifying reality and stresses of our warming climate. She believes that nature also has the power to heal us. Through social services work early in her career, Karyn learned the importance of inclusive and equitable access to wild places, and this continues to influence her view that we need strategies and solutions premised on equity for people—which is critical to positive outcomes for nature. As we are currently experiencing severe, climate change-related drought conditions and impacts to our water supplies, Karyn sees it is time to address the history of water development in the West, and how its systemic inequities denied some communities access to water as well as water for nature.

Karyn oversees a multi-departmental Audubon team to address Colorado River basin water shortages and apply these lessons to other river basins, to scale up restoration projects in the Colorado River Delta and at the Salton Sea, and to conserve saline lakes—including Great Salt Lake—essential to birds across the West. Her work spans across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming and northwestern Mexico.

Karyn joined Audubon in 2007 as Vice President, Executive Director of Audubon New Mexico. Prior to Audubon, Karyn worked for the Trust for Public Land on the protection of open space, cultural and historic sites, and environmentally sensitive lands, with a focus on the Rio Grande.

Karyn works to live in line with her core values. Besides sticking her neck out for what she believes is right, Karyn is raising two teenagers, settling back in Colorado, and striving for more time outdoors— and sometimes she wishes she would have been a field biologist.

Articles by Karyn Stockdale

Celebrating the Gila River and Supporting the NM Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund

February 27, 2024 — 100 year anniversary of Gila Wilderness reminds us of need for climate resilient funding for ongoing wildlife and river protection.

Momentum Gaining on Important Water Work to Benefit Birds and People in the West

December 18, 2023 — Great Salt Lake, Colorado River, Salton Sea, and other lakes, rivers, and wetlands need lasting solutions.
A wilson's phalarope on water.

Utah’s Wet Winter Gives Some Reprieve to Great Salt Lake

April 27, 2023 — But long-term water conservation solutions and secure water are still needed.

As Water Levels Plummeted to Historic Lows across the West in 2022, Urgency for Audubon to Protect People and Birds

December 19, 2022 — Facing challenges head on this year: dedicated water, dollars, and improved policies.

How We Might Address the Water Crisis for the Colorado River and Birds in the West

July 28, 2022 — Solutions exist but need to be scaled up for the next year and beyond.

Ring the Alarm: Today’s Water Crisis Isn’t a Fire Drill

June 28, 2022 — Why Audubon’s work in the West is more important than ever.

Amid a Drought Crisis, Inspiration from Our Work in Western Water for Birds and People

December 13, 2021 — In 2021, Audubon led the way in protecting rivers, lakes, and bird habitat in the West.
American White Pelican. Joanne Wuori/Audubon Photography Awards

The West Urgently Needs Federal Funds to Address Drought, Wildfire, and Climate Change

September 25, 2021 — With big spending bills on the horizon, Congress needs to prioritize water security for people and birds.

The Entire Colorado River Basin is in Crisis

September 20, 2021 — We need climate action, now.
Great Blue Heron.

Drought? This Is What Climate Change Looks like in the West

August 24, 2021 — A personal take on Audubon’s work to make the arid West more livable for people and birds.