Who We Are

 

Steering Committee

The Coalition is made up of member organizations of all shapes and sizes that hail from all corners of the nation, and governed by a Steering Committee composed of the following member organizations:

General Counsel:
Water and Power Law Group, PC
Berkeley , California

Chairs

Thomas O’Keefe, Ph.D.
National Co-Chair
Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director, American Whitewater

Tom is an aquatic ecologist representing the whitewater paddling community in connecting the interests of human-powered recreational river users with ecological and science-based data to protect and restore rivers. Over the past 25 years he has served in a leadership capacity in dozens of successful campaigns to restore instream flows to rivers impacted by hydropower and remove dams where environmental and social justice impacts outweigh benefits of hydropower. Tom serves as the National Co-Chair of the Hydropower Reform Coalition, where he leads policy efforts and provides strategic guidance on Coalition operations in collaboration with Kelly Catlett. Tom received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University before completing his graduate work in aquatic ecology at the University of Wisconsin where he received his PhD. He served as research coordinator and instructor for the river ecology group at the University of Washington before joining American Whitewater.

Kelly Catlett
National Co-Chair
Hydropower Reform Program Director, American Rivers

Kelly leads American Rivers’ work on reforming laws and policies around hydropower to improve the health of rivers nationwide. She has 20 years of experience working in both hydropower licensing and hydropower policy and has served as both staff and a Steering Committee member of the Hydropower Reform Coalition (HRC). Kelly enjoys providing advice and strategic guidance to HRC members and other activists working to protect rivers in their regions. Along with co-chair Thomas O’Keefe, she is responsible for leading the HRC’s policy work and providing strategic guidance on the coalition’s operation. Kelly served as the Associate Western States Director for the HRC from 2016 to 2021. Prior to working for the HRC, Kelly was the Government Relations Consultant to the California Hydropower Reform Coalition, and she spent nearly a decade as the Hydropower Reform Policy Advocate for Friends of the River where she is proud to have campaigned for Klamath dam removal alongside the Yurok and Karuk Tribes.

Kevin Lewis
Northwest Chair
Executive Director and Conservation Director Emeritus, Idaho Rivers United

Kevin has been involved in hydropower issues for the last 25 years as a volunteer advocate, nonprofit staffer, and contractor. Kevin was involved in relicensing on California’s Pit and North Fork Feather rivers before moving to Idaho in 2004 to manage the conservation program for Idaho Rivers United. During his time in Idaho, Kevin has been involved in a number of relicensings as well as defeating a proposed hydropower dam that would have devastated critical habitat and flooded a popular local recreational area.

Ashley Overhouse
California Chair
Resilient Rivers Director, Friends of the River

Ashley serves as Friends of the River’s Resilient Rivers Director, where she advocates for water policies that protect rivers and advance sustainable water alternatives with a particular focus on dam reoperation and removal, climate resilient water solutions, increasing stream flows, and engaging on specific water projects and legislative priorities. As the California Chair of the Hydropower Reform Coalition, Ashley works with the Western States Director to advise on state policy issues as they intersect the Coalition’s goals and priorities and engages in hydropower project licensing proceedings. Prior to joining Friends of the River, she was the Policy Manager for the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) and lead representative in the relicensing processes on projects in the Yuba and Bear River watersheds.  Ashley holds a B.A. in history and literature from the University of California Santa Cruz, a J.D. from the UC Hastings College of the Law, and an LL.M. in Environmental Law from the University of London, SOAS.

Mark Zakutansky
Eastern Chair
Director of Conservation Policy Engagement, Appalachian Mountain Club

As AMC’s Director of Conservation Policy Engagement, Mark works to advance priority federal and state conservation issues, including land conservation funding, river and watershed protection, as well as access to public lands. Mark is an avid outdoor enthusiast, primarily as a whitewater paddler and telemark skier, based in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania. As the Eastern Chair of the Hydropower Reform Coalition, Mark leads on regional hydropower policy issues in the eastern United States, in partnership with Coalition members, while also engaging in state policy issues and hydropower project licensing proceedings.

Staff

Colleen McNally-Murphy
Associate National Director
Washington, DC
colleen@hydroreform.org 

Colleen manages the Hydropower Reform Coalition, including coordinating coalition members and leading outreach, communications, and equity initiatives. She liaises with other NGO partners and federal resource agencies, and works closely with the Chairs and Steering Committee on policy advocacy. Colleen joined the HRC in 2019 after an early career in international development. She has a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Lewis and Clark College and a M.A. in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management.