Coalition Co-Chairs

Nsedu (Nse) Obot Witherspoon (Lead Co-Chair) – Executive Director, Children’s Environmental Health Network

Nse is the Executive Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN), an organization she has been working with for 20 years now. Her background is public health, maternal and child health, environmental justice, and strategic collaborations.  CEHN is a national non-profit organization that has been working for close to 30 years to protect all children from environmental hazards. CEHN works actively to support peer-reviewed science in the field, to effectively translate that science into education, training, and action platforms, works toward child protective state and national policy development, and provides leadership on a variety of state and national coalitions. CEHN is dedicated to protecting especially the most vulnerable of children, ensuring that they get the start that they need and deserve.


Gary Belan – Senior Director, Water Supply Program, American Rivers

Gary Belan leads American Rivers’ clean water supply team. Gary has worked at American Rivers for the past 18 years promoting and implementing water management solutions across the U.S. as a means of reducing stormwater pollution, flooding, and water use stress on rivers. Gary is a specialist in stormwater management and planning, with expertise in green infrastructure. He has written a number of publications and articles on water management and green infrastructure and continues to engage on practical applications to advance natural infrastructure practices. Gary received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia, his M.A. in Environmental Policy from American University and a Master’s Certificate in Non-profit Management from Georgetown University. He is based in Washington D.C.


Jessica (Jessie) Ritter – Director, Water Resources and Coastal Policy, National Wildlife Federation

Jessie Ritter leads the development and execution of the National Wildlife Federation’s national water resources and coastal policy priorities. She oversees campaigns to protect clean water and wetlands, restore America’s iconic coastal ecosystems, and increase the resilience of communities and wildlife in the face of climate change and natural disaster events. She also works to coordinate and steer the Federation’s federal advocacy work to restore the Gulf of Mexico region—from the Everglades in South Florida, to the Mississippi River Delta, to Texas estuaries.

Ritter came to the National Wildlife Federation from the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, where she covered the oceans and atmosphere portfolio under the leadership of Senators Rockefeller and Nelson. She has also worked for a number of national non-profits on federal and state policy issues ranging from fisheries management to water resources to coastal community resilience. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School, and a B.S. in Zoology from North Carolina State University. Ritter enjoys the amazing food, art, and culture in her home of Washington, D.C, but also loves to escape the city to hike and camp in the many treasured natural places around our country.

Mariana Del Valle Prieto Cervantes – Water Equity and Ocean Program Manager, GreenLatinos

Mariana Del Valle Prieto Cervantes is GreenLatinos Water Equity and Ocean Program Manager. GreenLatinos is an active comunidad of Latino/a/ax leaders driven to secure our political, economic, culture and environmental liberation. Mariana has committed her life to help advocate for the Latinx community in the environmental movement. At GreenLatinos Mariana focuses on water equity priorities at the national level. With these policy priorities in mind, Mariana works to educate policymakers, stakeholders and the public-at-large to positively impact change for clean and affordable water, with our comunidades in mind.


Steve Moyer – Vice President for Government Affairs, Trout Unlimited

Steve serves as TU’s senior advocate on Capitol Hill and with the federal agencies.  He works with TU’s local chapters and state councils to help them with their state and local advocacy efforts and develops and implements TU grassroots advocacy campaigns. He has worked for TU for 19 years. Prior to joining TU, Steve led advocacy efforts at the National Wildlife Federation on behalf of fisheries, and wetlands, and related appropriations legislation. He holds a B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of Maine and an M.S in Fisheries from Virginia Tech.

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