Brooks recognized by the Environmental Law Institute

Monday, April 29, 2013 - 3:02pm

Rob BrooksThe Environmental Law Institute has announced that Robert P. Brooks, a preeminent wetlands scientist at Penn State, has received the 2013 National Wetlands Award for Science Research. Brooks and six other award recipients were honored at a ceremony at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC on May 9, 2013.


For over 30 years, Brooks has built a research program in wetlands science that spans the full range of topics relating to wetlands ecology and conservation. This research is highly applied, making it valuable to natural resource managers and policymakers in developing and implementing effective programs to protect wetlands.


“Rob’s work in wetland research, particularly in support of EPA’s Region III wetland monitoring and assessment efforts, has helped build regional and state capacity from essentially zero in 2000 to comprehensive state wetland monitoring programs in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia in just 10 years,” said Regina Poeske, Senior Ecologist for EPA Region III. “Rob has been a remarkable catalyst for the development and implementation of state wetland monitoring and assessment programs, and his continued leadership and research efforts are helping lead the way toward more scientifically defensible wetland protection and restoration programs.”


In 1993, Brooks founded Riparia, a center focused on wetlands and aquatic ecosystems science. The center works collaboratively with other academic institutions and government agencies to advance the state of wetland science. As Poeske notes, “Under Rob’s direction, Riparia has led or participated in some of the most significant research on wetlands and wetland assessment techniques in the country.”


In addition to his research, Brooks takes an avid interest in training graduate students to contribute to the long-term protection of wetlands habitat, mentoring 42 graduate students to the completion of their degrees. “I’m always looking for students with a sparkle in their eye and an interest in conservation that is comparable to mine,” he says.


Most impressive, however, is Brooks’s dedication to conserving wetlands. “What sets Rob apart is his dedication and efforts to making a positive contribution to wetland conservation – whether in training students to become conservation professionals or working with agency biologists to develop management plans that ensure the protection of wetlands,” said Thomas Serfass, Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Frostburg State University. “Rob is able to make a difference because of his positive, encouraging, and collegial approach in dealing with people – students and professionals alike.”


Brooks’s research has resulted in more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, numerous book chapters, and more than 140 presentations.


The National Wetlands Awards program is administered by the Environmental Law Institute and supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Forest Service, and Federal Highway Administration. A committee of wetland experts representing federal, state and local governments, academia, and nonprofit organizations selected the award recipients. 


For more information on the National Wetlands Awards, visit or e-mail


The Environmental Law Institute

Since 1969, ELI has played a pivotal role in shaping the fields of environmental law, policy, and management, domestically and abroad. Today, ELI is in its fifth decade as an internationally recognized, non-partisan research and education center working to strengthen environmental protection by improving law and governance worldwide. ELI delivers insightful and impartial analysis to opinion makers, including government officials, environmental and business leaders, academics, members of the environmental bar, and journalists. The Institute is a clearinghouse and a town hall, providing common ground for debate on important environmental issues.