Q&A with Alexis Graves, Restoration Program Coordinator

March 12, 2024

In two sentences, tell us what you do at The Freshwater Trust.

I work primarily on the water quality trading (WQT) program in the Upper Willamette basin, where I collaborate with multiple local watershed councils to recruit and implement riparian restoration projects. Occasionally, I get to work outside and monitor these projects and more.

What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now?

I’m currently working with my team and our watershed council partners on outreach and recruitment of landowners for the Upper Willamette program. The landowners are a vital piece of this program, so connecting with them is important.

Alexis working on solar pathfinder readings at a project monitoring site in Western Oregon.

What’s something that’s happening at the organization right now that you are very excited about?

I’m probably biased, but the program I work on! I’d never heard of water quality trading before joining the team, and I’m excited by the ability to maintain and steward restoration projects for 20 years. I’m looking forward to watching the projects we invest so much time in change over the years and learning all I can from them.

What do you love about working for The Freshwater Trust?

The people!

I’m still a bit of a newcomer, but working with a group of dedicated, passionate, and insightful folks has been both a delight and an inspiration, as we all work towards a common mission of restoring and preserving freshwater ecosystems.

Last book you read or movie you watched? 

The last book I read was The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez. This novel was narratively unlike anything I’ve read in a long time and would highly recommend it for someone looking for powerful storytelling amongst a journey through fantasy and time.

I’m not much of a movie person, so the last movie I watched was The Boy and The Heron, the latest film from Studio Ghibli—and it just won an Oscar.

Last place you traveled?

New Orleans for a friend’s wedding! I’d never been before and, funnily enough, I’m going back next month for another friend’s wedding bash.

A quote you live by?

I think I live more by themes than anything, but if I had to pick, these ones come to the top:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“We underestimate the power of contribution—of acting within our own sphere of influence to tackle the piece of the problem that is right in front of us.” – Abigail Dillen, “Litigating in a Time of Crisis,” All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Alexis collecting giant sequoia needles for a genetics study in the Sierra Nevada.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

On a trail somewhere, and potentially convincing my partner to get a third cat.

What’s the number one piece of advice you have for someone trying to get into this field? 

I highly recommend doing field work. I will always believe that getting applied experience (literally getting your hands dirty) is the ultimate way to connect to the work you’re doing, and then it lets you carry those passions and skills through the rest of your career. A lot of important insights into the field come by seeing it from the ground. Plus, often you get to work in some incredible places!